If you live in Chicago’s South Loop, the last weekend in July is a good time to go visit Uncle Dan and Aunt Carol in San Diego, or finally take that True Manhood Workshop over there in Michigan (you’ve been hearing such good things.) If you can’t leave town, the last weekend in July is a good time to practice your emergency preparedness plan: can you survive four days without going outside even once? Is there enough water? Tea? Are your library books good until Monday??
It’s Lollapallooza weekend.
Since 2005, the four-day music festival extravaganza Lollapalooza has taken place in Chicago’s Grant Park. Grant Park is my backyard. Well, okay: I can’t lean out the window and spit on Grant Park, but I can lean out the window and hock a really intense loogie with a lot of torque behind it and I will totally hit Grant Park. It’s close, is what I’m saying. Guess how many people come to Grant Park for the festival each year? It’s somewhere around 160k.
It’s sorta cool that I might see one half of DJ duo Flosstradamus at my Peet’s Coffee. And I’m always happy that Chicago is a desirable destination for people who like this kind of thing. But mostly what Lolla means (if you’re local, you can call it that) is hordes of people, most under thirty and inebriated, cajoling, shouting, and running in flip-flops through the streets in t-shirts covered with paint, mud, and the insanely long list of bands and DJs playing the show. Michigan Avenue is essentially impassable from today until Monday. State Street is just as bad. Lake Shore Drive is a parking lot from the I-55 feeder ramp to Lake Superior. Sometimes when I tell someone I don’t own a car, they’ll look at me like, “That’s impossible!” and then I look at those people who are trying to get through Lolla traffic and I pray for them.
Our building (and I’m sure all the nearby ones) hires extra security this weekend and there are notices up in the building that remind residents to not let people into the building without permission, even if they offer you the rest of their six-pack of Pabst. One year, I saw some kids walking through the lobby barefoot. I’m pretty sure one of the girls lived here; I hoped that was true, not because I was concerned but because if you’re the kind of gal who likes outdoor summer music festivals and you live in this building, you’ve got it made.
Me, I can’t do crowds. I got spooked at Fourth of July this year and had to leave my friend early. We were in a city park! With families and dogs! If some firecrackers make me nervous, imagine what the throngs of Major Lazer fans would do to me. I can’t do the big show, but in an interesting turn of events I was invited to a party on Sunday that is loosely linked to the Lollapalooza festivities. I think I’ll go. It’ll be a smaller crowd.
I can handle that.