August 14, 2006

Culture Club

Chicago presented itself this past weekend in its most glorious form with two days of uninterrupted sunny, warm weather. And unlike in previous weeks, there was little to no humidity to be found. In short, it was perfect. I chose to revel in the summer sun by heading down to the beach (which is a short walk from my new place) two days in a row. Before you get too jealous, realize this was the first time I had made this trip all summer. If anything, I was making up for lost time.

I made my way down to the beach on Sunday on the lakeshore path. On any given weekend, especially as nice as this past one, the path is jammed packed worse that Lakeshore Drive. There are walkers, runners, rollerbladers, bicyclists and the occasional Segway jockeying for position on the path. I, being in the walking category, get a little nervous with so many people that I might be hit by a caravan of kids learning to ride their bikes or some marathon runner in full sprint. But on Sunday, I found a way to guarantee people, if anything, would move out of my way.

I was on the path walking by the Theater on the Lake, reading the show signs when I heard some sound in the distance. It sounded like someone humming or trying to carry some sort of tune. I couldn’t quite make it out but I knew the tune.

“… come and…humm…hummm…gold….”

As I kept walking, the sound grew louder, and then it became unmistakable. Karma Chameleon. That’s right the 80s song made popular by Boy George, his crazy fashion and the band Culture Club. When walking down the lakeshore path I expect to hear gentle slapping of waves and the rustling of trees, not 80s pop ballads. Now I am a fan of 80s music, but there is a time and a place for everything thing.

Then it grew louder and I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit.

“Karma karma karma karma karma chameeeeele-on….You come and goooooo…. You come and goo-o-o-oooooooo…“

Having successfully identified the song, I needed to see who was choosing to self-broadcast it on the lakeshore path. I was certain I’d turn my head to see Boy George himself, thinking he is the only person justified to share this song with the public. Although considering I saw on Good Morning America today he’ll be spending the next few days doing public service in New York City, I guess that was pretty impossible.

I see a younger black guy in his 20s, riding a bike, wearing a green t-shirt and khaki pants. He was pretty nondescript if anything; well except for his affinity for 80s pop music. It was odd because looking at him it didn’t appear if he were in Culture Club’s target demographic… then or now.

He rode up in my direction, made a lazy, slow turn around at the theater and continued on the path the way he came.

“Loving would be easy if your colors were like my, gold and greeeeeeenn… red, gold and greee-e-e-eeeeeen….”

I found myself chuckling quietly at this strange scene as I continued down the path. And as I walked in the direction he rode, I noticed quite a few of the bikers and walkers I passed were laughing too. I imagine this laugher must have come from the same source as my own. It then occurred to me: A lot of people were laughing at him, but then again they probably got out of his way. I bet this man if anything was one who had been struck at some point on the lakeshore path and found this to be a good way to avoid any future collisions.

So the next time I walk down to the beach and I feel like the path may be a little too crowded, don’t be surprised if I’m the crazy lady singing “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.”

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