Friday, April 22, 2005

A Week Lag, But Here's the Final Leg of the Trip

Well, the cold is finally mostly gone.

Chicago was a blast, but I hadn't noticed how long it had been since I've been to Ohio to see my family until I was there and had to fit 48 hours into each 24-hour period. Celina, Ohio has a way of not changing very much. It does progress, but very slowly. Everyone and everything looks the same, but now they have an Italian restaurant. And a new Super-Wal-Mart's being built, so the Bob Evans is moving from its current location on the lakeshore out to the Wal-Mart, which is just nuts (that's what everyone says anyway, and who am I to argue?). Then there's the two High School kid's that drowned in the lake--so tragic, so young. Everyone I talked to had these same talking points. After 2 days there I could pretty much mouth the conversation before it happened. Not to say it was boring, or that the people were... it's just that people tend to pay attention to local happenings. And when the locale is Celina, there are only a handful of local events at any given time. And I thought Denver seemed small compared to Chicago (which, admittedly it does).

The drive back to Chicago was kind of crazy. I was making wicked good time... so good, in fact, that I stopped speeding toward the end because I didn't want to have too much down time in Chicago (if there is such a thing).

Ahh, Indiana. I can't tell you how many magnetic yellow ribbons there were. Upwards of millions. I didn't see the magnetic-yellow-ribbon-mobile, but if there's such a thing, you can probably find it in Indiana. I actually saw a truck that didn't have license plates yet, but it did have a yellow ribbon. I imagined the guy on the lot with the dealer:
"Does it have a magnetic yellow ribbon that shows my patriotism and support of the troops?"
"Yes, but it doesn't have brakes."
"But it comes with a ribbon?"
"Yes. Oh, and the engine block will need replaced before you can take it home... that'll be an extra $2,000."
"Brother, you drive a hard bargain. Can I drive it home tonight?"
"No, but here's a complimentary magnetic yellow ribbon."
"Yee-haw. Sold!"
Just to be clear, I have a cousin in Iraq and I want no harm done to him. I hope the troops make it home in one piece. I just don't see how supporting the troops, and lining the pockets of some fat cat with a stupid idea and too much money, are one and the same... I don't see the connection... I'm just saying is all. Maybe I'm just jealous. I do wish I could become rich off the jingoistic fervor that's sweeping the nation, or rich off of anything at this point, but those ribbons give me knee-jerk contempt for these frightened yokels. I don't mean I necessarily think you're stupid if you have one. I just need strong evidence to believe that you aren't.

Gary, Indiana is quite disgusting. I can't believe how much I paid in tolls, but it was worth it to get out of Gary. Plumes of industrial smoke choked me, and probably had something to do with the cold I brought back with me. So much foulness in such a small area. I figure Gary contains the industry that keeps Chicago going. On one side of the highway were smokestacks, on the other were relatively nice looking homes... it made me shudder to think about living there... Must be some high rates of infant mortality, leukemia, mental retardation. I thank God the highway was moving pretty fast through Gary... then I got into Chicago... and rush hour; car exhaust isn't good, but it's something I'm used to.

Found the disco station, rolling through the burbs. The disco lasted a song and a half before I got sick of it... plus, I reached the south side, and disco no longer seemed appropriate. 89.3 had some hip hop--hell motherfuckin' yeah, I thought. And traffic... came... to... a..... stop.........

It's ok, I've got two hours to get to the north side. No problem, right? Right. Except that my calf cramped up after a while of "lift foot off the brake, brake, lift, brake, lift, brake, etc, etc, brake, brake, lift, lift (can you feel it?), brake, lift, scratch ass, 'that asshole cut me off,' 'I just cut that asshole off,' lift, lift, drink some water, check her out, 'hey look, it's chicago,' brake, brake, almost there, where ever there is, brake... li--, brake 'you sunova--,' 'oh sweet jesus, make it stop!'" Ah, the Kennedy expressway at rush hour... FUCK.

My exit... only 4 more miserable miles! And so on.

Drinking, Golden Tee (third time ever, shot a plus-something-teen--yep, I rule). More drinking, sleeping, hangovering, breakfast (at 2:30pm), walking through the city. Hangover's going away, but this headache is... and my body is... achy. And what's this? My throat hurts... shit.

I know, whiskey's the answer! ... but, for some reason I'm not feeling better.

Aaron scored us some tickets to Second City, and it's my last night in Chicago. I'm gonna get some meds, and will myself well. Waiting for Second City to start their performance, there were three chairs that weren't in use. I think I need to lay down... Oh, that's much better... fuck, I'm definitely getting sick. Second City starts and it's hilarious. At intermission I take my place on the three chairs again. This is lots of fun, but for the love of God I need to go to bed. The show ends and we find out that usually they follow it up with improv, but not on Fridays... normally I'd be bummed, but tonight, well, that's fine with me. Good night, and good bye Chicago. I'm going to go home tomorrow, and I'm not going to do anything until work on Monday (and I mean nothing, unless you count laying down and taking medicine, eating, sleeping, aching, expelling, etc.). Welcome home.