I have just finished my first week among the peoples who populate a small corner of Chicago who are simply known as the DMC. While I am still trying to orient myself, I have made a few observations I would like to share with you:
This particular group seems to be particularly driven to document and codify their behaviors in a form they call a Standard Operating Procedure or “SOP”. I have been integrated into the administrative class and have currently been entrusted with managing these SOPs and furthering their documentation. Given the focus on these, I understand this to be an important task and take it to mean that I am gaining their trust. These SOP’s are kept on a “SharePoint” system — the intricacies of which I am still learning but it seems to be the key to understanding this tribe. In integrating myself to this class and into their SharePoint system, I have gained unprecedented access to their inner workings and hope it will be a valuable resource during my time with this people.
The engineering class among the DMC are highly valued for their skills on the computer machines and so interacting with them is accomplished in an almost ritualistic manner — often, when making a request of an engineer one must preface the request with this magic phrase: “I have just made a fresh pot of coffee, could you…?” this phrase solicits an unmistakable physiological response: the pupils dilate, they smile and their thoughts seem to go far away (imagining that fresh cup? Anticipation of the caffeine rush? They all seem to possess a severe addition to this substance which may be unacceptable outside their social group). Coffee seems to hold a revered spot in the collective mind of the engineers and therefore this mystical drink is often the key to eliciting a positive response. Many of these engineers have transitioned from the land called College and brought with them the gift of coffee which was then woven into the culture of the DMC.
A large portion of the engineers’ diet seems to be made up of coffee with the rest of their dietary needs being met through easily transported food that is hidden throughout their territory. Other times when the administrative or leadership classes wish to take advantage of the engineers' talents they may place more highly valued food (such as meats and cheeses held together between slices of bread or sweets) in a centralized location in order to corral the engineers into one place and pool their talents. This type of offering generally produces effective results which allow the DMC to continue to function.
Perhaps the most odd mannerism of the engineering class that I have noticed is their seeming abhorrence of footwear beyond those made of cloth (called “socks” or “slippers”). Once settled into their individual work spaces (cup of coffee in hand), the shoes are removed and stay so for most of the day except when a visitor from another tribe arrives seeking an alliance or trade — is this a sign of respect? An act of humility? An act of dominance? Further observation is needed in order to find the exact reason for this behavior.
Meetings seem to be of especial importance among the DMC and are held at least daily if not several times a day. These meetings take several forms and can happen in many different settings. They can be intra-tribal as well as extra-tribal. Intra-tribal meetings often cover attack plans, community building or displays of accomplishment. Intra-tribal meetings also seem to be the time during which the leader of the DMC dispenses advice on all manner of topics including the value of something called a “Costco” or the deeper meaning of Kenny Rodgers (I understand him to be an entertainer of high regard). These meetings are often held on top of their capital building (2222 Elston) — is this a display of dominance? A chance to survey their territory? More study and rooftop meetings are needed to truly know. I have also found documentation of a “boat outing” which seems to be a way for the DMC to form alliances through the exchange of food and fermented beverages. This is a ritual I hope to soon participate in.
Currently, the DMC are planning a Welcoming Ritual to initiate me into their tribe as a full member. I don’t believe the DMC to be a cannibalistic tribe, so I expect to report again soon.
— Kelly O’Shea, Administrative Professional, Secret Anthropologist