Monday, April 21, 2008

the random trip downtown...

One Saturday during the cold, cold month of March, I decided that it was time for me to get out of my hay-feverish house and do something fun. I decided to go downtown and run around a bit. So now, let's play a short game of "Good Idea, Bad Idea".

Good idea: Deciding to do something interesting and spend an afternoon walking around downtown in the big city.
Bad idea: Deciding to walk around downtown on a cloudy 38-degree afternoon with no winter coat with which to stop the frostbite.
(Hint: UK hoodie - NOT adequate insulation. Long underwear - Best. Idea. Ever. You'd think I could've put 2 & 2 together....)

Good idea: Walking along Lake Michigan on a sunny afternoon.
Bad idea: Walking along Lake Michigan on one of the windiest days in Chicago history.
(okay, so probably not the windiest, but it sure felt like it. As did the resulting wind burn.)

Good idea: Visiting the absolutely beautiful main branch of the Chicago Public Library on a wintery afternoon.
Bad Idea: Unwittingly piquing a security guard's attention while browsing through the Chicago Public Library.
(Let me clarify: piquing an ARMED security guard's attention)

I could go on, but honestly, that would just be painful for all of us. Meanwhile, I realized a few things on this little trip of mine... First of all, I am not yet, nor do I ever think I really will be, a "city person." I guess I was just raised with too many manners NOT to hold the door open for people at the 7-eleven or smile as I pass someone on the sidewalk. I actually tried to act all non-chalant and stuff, but let's face it, I'm a Kentucky girl at heart. I have to be pretty preoccupied to completely ignore the fact that you are STANDING IN MY PERSONAL SPACE as we wait for the blasted light to change. No matter that it's not really a crowded corner, and there is plenty of room for you to stand OVER THERE to wait... Also, I think I am just too fascinated by people. I'd much rather watch everybody and everything and look at all the pretty buildings and the people walking in flip-flops in 38-degree weather on the nasty city streets and just take it all in. But I guess that's just me. Oh yeah, and I am also slightly freaked out and honestly saddened that there has to BE armed security guards standing at every corner in the public library. I come from a place where the town drunk used to spend his weekends sleeping off his hangover in the public library, and nobody cared.

Anyway, I spent the day being awed by the library, going to see Buckingham fountain (which, let me tell you, did a lot of good in the winter when there wasn't any water running), walking along the Lake for awhile, walking back up Michigan Avenue, wandering around a little looking at stores, going into a 7-eleven and buying a Moon Pie (for the sheer personal irony... I'll always think of RC1 when I see one. Which later Chico found on my chair at home and completely smooshed trying to break into the package), and going to my favorite little Greek Walgreens. At which I heard all about the cashier's upcoming back surgery. Every. Little. Detail. Tell me, why is it that people don't get the fact that the polite smiling and nodding going on are not invitations to hear MORE about why you are mad that you were called in to pull an extra shift even though your back hurts and you're scared about an upcoming surgery that I now know WAY too many details about? But anyway, I purchased my over-priced postcards and a small bag of easter candy and left as soon as her painstakingly-slow cashier skills would allow. I walked (read: limped) back to the train station and picked up some dinner and read while I waited for the train home. Which was totally and completely packed, thanks to the Blackhawks game that had just let out a few blocks over (which my boss & coworker had attended, unbeknownst to me). I think the Blackhawks fan sitting next to me was a little weirded out by my laughing at the Evanovich book I was reading, but you know, sometimes you can't help the out-loud part.

So that was the gist of my day. I leave you with a slightly scary picture of me (hey! I was completely numb at this point) next to the still-green river (it being the day before St. Patty's and all).

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