T h e A d v e n t u r e s o f C h i c a g o J o

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Have a Little CFC

2008-01-20† Ė† 11:41 p.m.
Walking down Chicago Avenue, she stumbled the width of the entire sidewalk. I was with two guy friends, asked them to stay a good distance back, and hurried my pace to approach her.

ďHey, Iím coming up behind you and want you to lean on me. Iím not going to hurt you or rob you or anything. I also have two guy friends with me, but theyíre back about fifty feet so they donít scare you.Ē

She wrapped her arm over my shoulder and started muttering, ďThank you thank you thank you,Ē as I braced her at her waist.

I asked where she was headed, and she had to cross LaSalle Street to get home.

For non-Chicagoans, LaSalle is a major street with four lanes of constant traffic. With the way she weaved across the sidewalk, thereís no way she could have made it without veering into oncoming traffic.

We waited for the light to change, and we crossed the street together and headed toward the building she pointed to as her home.

As we entered the lobby, I got her apartment number from the doorman, and we went up the elevator. I went into her purse for her keys, opened her door with them, and got her inside the house.

At this point, she was crying while she thanked me for helping her, asking what she could do to repay me.

I hugged her outstretched arms and simply said, ďWatch out for other women.Ē

When I came back downstairs a couple minutes later and rejoined my guy friends for our night out, they were shocked by what all Iíd done for this stranger. And although I donít think this is the norm for what women do for other women, I donít see this as any reason to canonize me. Itís just how I think things should work.

Way back in my early college days in Texas, there were three wings in our dorm.

E-wing was girls-only, and it was my first residence. Our lobby didnít smell, no one hung out there, and things were pretty low-key. Thereís really not much to say about E-wing.

C-wing was co-ed with the frat boys-in-training on the upper floor and more nice, normal girls living on the bottom. Again, ignore the girls since nothing went on there. The guys, however, were your stereotypical jocks, rich kids, or general asses that most 17-year-old boys are. Most of these guys were actually all right, but Iím trying to paint a picture for ya. If these were modern times in C-wing, these guys would be the ones wearing striped button-up shirts with dark jeans.

A-wing was boys-only, and somehow it held all of the nerds. These guys held my heart since they were genuine, without intention, and knew all sorts of stuff about anything and everything. These guys were also some of the funniest people Iíd ever met. Much like watching the Simpsons, there were the historical references, clever innuendo, and just a general smarter sense of humor than what Iíd ever found in Huffman, Texas.

When it came time for student body elections, they came out wearing poster boards with slogans. Vote early, vote often, vote A-wing was over my head at the time, but I now appreciate the full-circle Chicago link. Witty mob references aside, one other has stuck with me and came to mind tonight as someone shot me an odd look: Have a little CFC.

In A-wingís interactions with their nemeses in C-wing, they announced that people should act with some common fucking courtesy. From there, CFC was born. Anytime someone was being an inconsiderate jerk, this abbreviation was thrown around.

Itís been years since Iíd even thought about this, but lately thereís been a good amount of me doing things that seem like common fucking sense (CFS?) that are being questioned or met with absolute surprise by others.

This week I went out with some people I donít know very well. A good evening was had by all, and at the end of the night three of us shared a cab back to the Loop. The guy was out first, I would have been second, and the other girl would have been last.

As we approached his place, she realized that she forgot her backpack at the venue. She decided to get out of the cab to make phone calls before either cabbing it or walking the six blocks to the el. I heard this, and I got out of the cab with them both. And as Iím waiting for her to wrap-up her phone calls, I was asked why I didnít just continue home.

I muttered something about not leaving her alone on the side of the street and shrugged it off. I donít know about anyone else, but I have girl rules. The first is that you look out for each other. Weíre not helpless, but we are common and often all-too-easy targets for crime, harassment, and just plain olí shit happening.

Perhaps I am excessively careful with other women, but there was no way I was going to let her out of my sight until we both were at our intended drop-off spots.

Whether itís a hopeful pay-it-forward act, building my karmic reserves, or just being a heck of a lot nicer than everyone else, this sort of consideration is something I unquestionably give.

Hands full and struggling with a door? I stop and open it.

Drop a stack of papers? I help chase the sheets down with ya.

Look lost? I offer directions.

Walking alone and not noticing me coming up behind you? I say something so you donít freak out as I approach.

And each and every time I do something that I see as so simple and out-right the thing that should be done, the reaction I get is usually exaggerated shock and thankfulness.

Now, tell me, am I really the only person who thinks of these things? Are these inherent female or Southern or worrywart traits? Or am I really alone in these actions, to the point that people donít recognize this as how things are supposed to be?

Please donít tell me Iím the only one with a little CFC. †

Miss something?

Moving Day - 2008-02-15
Working from Home is Glorious - 2008-02-13
Speaking in Tongues - 2008-02-07
I Have My Reasons - 2008-01-25
Got an Itch, Fix it, Shine it Up, Sing it Out - 2008-01-23

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