Strange Insertion

“Should I have my tattoo removed?”

“No, you shouldn’t.” I said automatically. I was walking home from Stage 773 and passing by a small group of people smoking outside of Schubas.

The woman gave me a confused look. “Is… is your name Mike?”

“No,” I replied. “I didn’t hear you say any names, so I thought you were asking for general opinion.”

We shared a laugh over this awkward situation. “Anyways,” I continued, “my opinion stands.”

“Really? Because… here, let me show you.” She began to take off her hoodie, revealing a beautiful half-sleeve horseshoe-and-roses tattoo on her right arm. She flexed. “I look so manly with this tattoo. I was at a wedding earlier and I thought I looked like a man.” She lamented.

“First of all, that tattoo looks great. Second, you can color the roses in. Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with looking manly every once in a while. Oh, by the way, I’m Tyler, would any of you like some cake?” I was carrying cake, because I am me, and I offer strangers cake to break the awkward tension. I looked at her two companions and offered my cake hand and my free hand. “One of you must be Mike.”

“That’s me.” The real Mike said.

“And I’m Tony.” The real Tony, whose identity was not hijacked by me, chimed in.


Everyone knew everyone’s names now. Fantastic.

“So, guys, since I’ve already infiltrated your group, I’m going to ask you a favor.”


“Are you guys Chicago natives?” I asked. The three nodded.

“Well, I just moved here from Kansas City last month, and… where do you go to get Chinese food in this city?”

“Chinatown.” Tony answered.

“Yeah, but which restaurant? There are, like, a million Chinese restaurants there.” I wasn’t about to let him off the hook that easily.

“Joy Yee.”

“What do they have there?”

“Noodles and bubble tea.”

I was satisfied with his answer. Standard, but a good new-to-the-city recommendation. “What about you guys? Where do you guys go for Chinese food?”

“I…” Kristin hesitated. “Hey, do you like Thai food? Because Opart Thai is really good.”

“You want to go to Sunda New Asian.” Mike said.

I actually haven’t heard of Sunda. “Where is it?”

“Here, let me write it down for you.”


I offered them cake once more before parting ways.

When I first came up with the idea of asking strangers where to go for Chinese food, I thought the situation would be a lot more awkward (this video comes to mind). After all, I’m usually the one expected to have encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese (and, in some cases, Asian) restaurants around the city. The way these three strangers, Kristin, Mike, and Tony, gave me restaurant recommendations so readily made me feel really good about living in Chicago. Of course, I wasn’t expecting a Thai restaurant recommendation, but that’s besides the point. There’s really no moral to this story, no lessons to be learned, but who wants to go check out Sunda with me?”

We encourage you to come share your stories of Moving On at the live show! If you post a story about moving on in the comments here, you get into the show for free.

A Month Of
Stage 773 1225 W. Belmont
Wed Oct 8th 7:30-10:00
$10 free with a posted story or shared dish

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