I don't lack for obsessive web projects: one of my other pursuits is to have lunch
at every different place possible within walking distance of my office in the Chicago Loop. So today I was having lunch
at Kramer's Vegetarian Cafe and noticed one of the staff's arms as she was handing people their food. Caitlin was kind enough to give me a few minutes of her time near the end of the lunch rush.
CFT: So what's your Chicago flag story?
Caitlin: My Chicago flag story... actually my best friend and I both have it . We came from the same small town and kind of lost each other in college for a little bit and then found out we were both living in the city doing the same work, essentially. We were both in theater at the time. I'm from about two-and-a-half hours Northwest of here. I grew up coming to Chicago all the time. This is where the heart is. No one has more pride than anybody than Chicago. And like our flag is just such an iconic thing. I waited... I got the tattoo five years after moving here. You know, put in my Chicago dues. And we have a perma-friendship-Chicago bonding tattoo.
CFT: What's that in the middle of the stars?
Caitlin: It's thirteen, it's actually for my old theater company, Thirteen Pocket
. It was also our first tattoo for a company.
CFT: She's in the company as well?
Caitlin: No, she's actually in a different company. She runs Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
, which is a pretty eminent women's theater ensemble in Chicago. They do excellent work, I highly recommend you check them out. So yeah, this was my time in Chicago and my time with Thirteen Pocket, all kind of combined, really important. Every tattoo is like an important piece of life.
CFT: Was that your first?
Caitlin: Oh no. I don't know, this was, maybe number six?
CFT: Awesome. And how long ago did you get it?
Caitlin: That was two years ago.
CFT: Here's a question I've been asking lately: do people know what it is?
Caitlin: Ah... some people. The people like you who are like "hey, what's up, Chicago flag." But a lot of people, even people who live in the city, don't know what it is. They're like, "OK, I see that everywhere, what is that?" And I'm like, "it's the Chicago flag!" They're like, "Get out of town." Yes, it's your flag. But nobody else really pays attention to their flag, so I don't think anybody really... unless you're looking for it.
I remember the first time I saw it was Home Alone. In the background was the Chicago flag. I was like eight years old and I asked, "what's that?" And that's when I learned about it.
A lot of other people think that I have cop family.
CFT: Yeah, I get that sometimes, they think it's a cop symbol or something.
Caitlin: Yeah, it's like, "No..." Some people know. A lot of travelers ask about it because they see it so much. But it's when the Chicagoans ask me about it that I think it's hilarious.