Walking On the Outside

America, homelessness, travel

Three years ago on a visit to Chicago, while my husband and I were walking along the edge of Millennium Park, we were approached by a man asking for some money. He appeared jovial and hopeful. Feeling good ourselves, we gave him some money. He responded with “Thank you, man!” leaned in for a hug, and said to my husband “And you’ve gotta walk on the outside of her!”

A man walking on the outside of a woman is an old custom with various origins ranging from needing to keep the sword side free if it needed to be drawn, blocking a woman from the muck that splashes up from the street, and being on-the-ready to shield a woman from harm. Oh my! I’m curious to know how many men still practice this custom. It shows up in gentlemen’s etiquette guides. I don’t mind the act of chivalry, but by no means expect it. With that said, sometimes when my husband tries to shift to take the outside, I look at him with a confused look on my face and stand my ground. Sometimes I forget that he’s trying to make this gentlemanly gesture. It’s comical and sweet.

We laughed loudly and bashfully, and wished him and his partner a good night. As we continued down the way, we held each other tight, happy to have met a nice person who was down on his luck but still had a sense of humor. And with one smooth move, my husband switched places with me, and took the outside.

Chicago - Smashed Mirror Building

View from the sidewalk along Millennium Park. Chicago, Illinois. May 2013.



Chicago: 5 1/2 days wasn’t enough


Chicago - Building a New Chicago Sign

Here is one photo from the trip.  I’m still processing more.  I don’t think any of my shots are good.  Just snapshots of whatever I passed.  I didn’t get time to take my time.  I took what felt like a million steps a day getting from one venue to another.  Doing this with a partner keeps you from settling into yourself photographically.  Anyhow… I’m going to be quick.  This is what we did, saw, and enjoyed.  This was our introduction visit to Chicago.  We will have to go back for more.  Bottom line, we had a great time.


  • CAF Architecture River Tour – Totally worth it, and the weather was perfect.  I took too many photos, but it was fun.
  • Shedd Aquarium – SO many awesome species.  Incredible.
  • Art Institute of Chicago – I have to go back to Chicago just to go through this museum again.
  • Field Museum – saw three special exhibits that kicked ass.  The permanent collection was great, too.

Views and just looking around

  • Sky Deck at Willis Tower
  • John Hancock Building
  • Start of Route 66
  • Millennium Park – Sculptures in the park, Buckingham Fountain, Cloud Gate!
  • Wrigley Field
  • Belmont
  • Wicker Park
  • Harold Washington Library – 9 floors?  Functioned like the library that existed back in the mid 80s.  Amazing.  I was incredibly tickled to go through library.  So fun.



  • The Purple Pig – bone marrow (not great.  Just fat. too bad), salad with sardine was good, milk-braised pork shoulder was also good.
  • UB Dogs – Chicago dog: tomato slices, slice of pickle, pepper, onions, relish. Just the thing when you need a small snack before a later dinner.  Got a bag of chips with our dogs and the guy said in his Chicago accent “Don’t be shy.”
  • Gino’s East Pizza – Venisen deep dish with mushrooms and apple?  crust was cornbread-like. Fried egg on top.  OMG.  We were there to catch a Blackhawks game and they’re in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  We expected more people, but alas, it was just a few of us.  But the food was great.
  • Avec – EVERYTHING was good.  WINE was top notch.  SO freakin’ good.  Chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, pork shoulder (yes, again) with raisins and almond slivers, coffee gelato, rhubarb sorbet.  I had to be rolled back to the apartment.  We cabbed over, but walked back because it would have been a terrible idea to sit and sleep with all that in our tummies.
  • Potbelly – quick and easy and had a live performer at lunch who was excellent.
  • Mia Francesca – Solid Italian food, decent wine, good solid service.


  • I liked the people.  Straight forward and relaxed at the same time.
  • Chicago is walkable… and you walk and walk and walk… but you burn calories… the calories you got eating deep dish pizza, hot dogs, cupcakes, and donuts
  • Intelligentsia for crafted coffee.  Starbucks for convenience.  Some places ask you if you want cream and sugar in your drip coffee.  They’re standard questions.
  • CTA is easy to use and a good price to get a little further than you can walk.
  • It’d be cool to live here!
  • Tip – Get the City Pass if you’re interested in doing all those things in the book.  You get access to the special exhibits and fast track through the sky scraper views.