"No it wasn't," Gyna corrected me. "Beverly's always been super Irish and like, family oriented. The neighborhoods that are all 'dangerous' are east, over there."
"No, but like, twenty years ago? Wasn't it worse off?"
(By the way, I have such a loose grip on reality that the phrase "like twenty years ago" comprises everything that happened from like, 1965 to 2000.
For example: "You know, like twenty years ago when we were in 'Nam..."
"You didn't go to 'Nam, you have to call it 'Vietnam'."
"Fine, whatever, but like twenty years ago--"
"And dude, Vietnam was like forty years ago."
"Whatever, fucking 1970, alright?"
Similarly, anyone older than I am whose age I don't know exactly is "like, forty," whether they're thirty-two or fifty-seven. My boss is "like, forty" and my landlord is "like, forty" and my aunt is "like, forty" and I'm sure their ages are scattered throughout a quarter of a century. And, pre-emptively: no, I don't care about your feelings.)
"No," Gyna shakes her head and laughs with this masterful, logical, unoffensive sneer that like, discredits my thought process with as much admiration as possible. I'm a jackass, yes, but in a puppy kind of way, as long as I stop talking and let Gyna continue, "This has always been a like, solid, safe community. All families of cops and fireman. This isn't the ghetto, it's not like there are like, drug busts and drive bys occurring daily here. Or at all."
I did know that. "Yeah, I know, but--"
"No, seriously, this has always been a good neighborhood. My mom grew up here. It's known for it," she repeats for emphasis.
I decide to shut up, because I was about to head into that territory where I make things up to prove a point that I didn't realize I wanted to make in the first place.
So anyway, after dumping some beers into solo cups we walked the mile to the parade route, and I spilled all over myself about seventeen times. I blame the city of Chicago and their lack of roadwork, because earlier that morning, our transport bus was aiming for potholes, so my beer and Jameson breakfast was all jostled and squeamish.
Poor Germans. I wonder if they felt uncomfortable, with Gyna and I straight up prowling for hot uniformed men. This is St. Paidi's: subtlety is for losers, dicknose.
Eventually we picked a spot on the fence about six feet from a street cop. We had to get ourselves situated. In actuality, I'm not quite sure that establishing a fixed position is really required to get drunk and yell at people, but whatever. This is the only day of the year that no one will get mad at me for drunken obnoxiery, so situated I must remai--awwwwwwww fuck I got beer all over myself.
Gyna is a parade veteran and loud as balls, so when she started her good-natured heckling at all of the local businesses and schools that participate in the parade, it was only natural that I played too, because really? Yelling is good. Moreso when it's appropriate to yell and splatter beer on yourself while you're leaning up against a paddywagon and saluting an officer of the law.
"Happy St. Patrick's Day, officer."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
But soon all attention was focused on the parade before us, and Gyna asked every single person, "What’s under your kilt?” Which begat the tardation of hecklery.
"Please tell me that's a hovercraft."
"Woooooo hot cop! Gimme some candy!"
“The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is a service that we strongly feel is taken for granted on a daily basis!”
“You create a drinkable water supply for all of our residents and that is appreciated!”
“Shitty water is bullshit!”
“OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THAT DOG! GREEN DOG! YOUR DOG IS GREEN!"
"WE LOVE YOUR GREEN DOG!"
"No way, LOOK AT THAT DOG! Who's a good boy? Who's a good little doggie in a little fireman shirt?"
"Your bow tie is good!"
"Play that bagpipey-accordiany thing, yeah!"
"How did your hair get so curly?"
Yeah, look at you, rockin' out to B96! Your radio station sucks!"
"B96 is for posers and douchebags!"
"You made your costume yourself, didn't you? Yeah, I can tell, looks good!"
"You bedazzled the fuck out of that shirt and I envy you!"
"Old guy in a trolley! OLD GUY! IN. A. TROLLEY! Best trolley conductor ever!"
"Muscular dystrophy is for assholes and I support your organization's attempt at bettering society!"
...and the like.