Monday, June 13, 2005

"You either need a personal assistant or a wife."

Red as a way of saying things that catch me off guard. A way of saying things that makes me happy. A way that makes me feel like the luckiest mutha in the world.

When she said the above, however, she wasn't necessarily offering her services- she was reminding me that I'm a busy man and I need to slow down. She's not the only person who tells me this. Pretty much everyone does. I am, as it were, my father's son. He keeps so busy it's hell to try to get a hold of him. Even on his birthday it takes me 6 different phone calls to usually wind up leaving a message to say "happy birthday, pop." I persistently threaten to buy him a cell phone, but I know he'd never use it. Not because he doesn't like technology, quite the opposite, actually, just because he's not a cell phone kinda guy.

I digress.

As stated, I am a busy man and Saturday was one of those days where I needed to clone myself. In the morning, I had a MS Training Ride all the way down in Matteson. What most folks don't know about Chicago, but should know, is that we employ a grid system to number our streets and addresses. A very strict grid. So, any idiot who an get through plane-coordinate geometry (a junior high school class), has no excuse to get lost in my fair city. The X and Y axis meet at State and Madison. Myself, I live at approximately 4000 North by 1900 West, or (4000, -1900). The starting point for the ride in Matteson, to give you a sense of the distance between the two, is 21400 South by 4800 West or (-21400, -4800). With eight blocks to a mile, and one block being worth 100 points on the grid system, that means that I traveled 31.75 miles south, and 3.5 miles west to get there. Chicago is a big city, friends and neighbors, most Chicagoans don't realize it, I think. I didn't fully appreciate it until I rode my bike to Indiana.

I digress again- so I woke up at 5 on Saturday to head down there. It was a tough ride, as it was really hilly and extremely hot and humid. My poor Northern European blood didn't like it much. But packets were picked up, elements of the team got to ride together, and we all got a moderate wake-up call: the ride is only 2 weeks away!

Once I got back home (which too far too long with all the traffic), I hit the couch. I ate. I took a shower. Then, I headed to my friend's Printer's Row Book Fair Party. I stayed for a while, had a beer, did some people watching out his window, chatted with friends. After that, I had to head to the Globe for one of my rider's benefit, then I had to head back downtown to catch a Metra train to Red's restaurant. That was one hell of an adventure.

I was walking to the train, when I saw a downtown brown line go by. Damn. I tried to leave myself plenty of time, and I did, but I hadn't anticipated having to wait another 13 minutes to get a brown line downtown. Finally the train came, I was about 3/4 the way to the Oglvie Transportation Center, I made the decision that I needed to get a cab there. Unfortunately, my cab driver didn't fully understand my predicament and didn't drive like I wanted him to, which, was I requested of him, was fast. I got to the station at 8:37, for a train that was leaving at 8:40. I didn't even know what line I was supposed to be on, only that it left at 8:40. In I went, up the stairs, running, despite having had so many cramps while biking in the heat that morning. Fortunately for me, there was only one train in the station, and it happened to be mine.

I ran up to the door for Track 1, only to see that they wanted you to have already purchased your tickets. I turned around, saw the line at the ticket counter- 7 people deep. "Fuck" I thought to myself, "now I'm really screwed." Into the line I went. I waited a minute. Three teenage girls suddenly ran for the train. I asked the woman in line in front of me if you could still buy tickets on the train (myself having ridden Metra only 4 or 5 times, I didn't know their policies). She said they did, so off I ran. Time check- 8:39.

I ran to the gate. "You have a ticket sir?"

"No, but that's my train, and it leaves in a minute."

"You need a ticket, sir."

"Since when can I not buy one on the train?" It should be noted that two, count 'em, two train conductors were standing right there, with tickets in their pockets, in plain sight. Finally I convinced them to let me on the train. I got on. I was finally having something go right.

It was a good half-hour ride. When I got off the train, I realized something I had forgotten on Friday- that I had no damn idea where Red worked, in relation to the train station. Fortunately, I managed to recall a map that I looked at on Friday. I new I had to walk North, then East, but I didn't know how far on either point.

Luckily for me, my brain does work from time to time, and I managed to get there in one piece, despite scaring a lot of suburbanites with my appearance. After dinner and drinks, we went to a friend of Red's house for a party, then back to my house for a nightcap and some well-deserved sleep.

After a day like that, I wanted as little to do as possible on Sunday. Red and I went out for breakfast, but I stayed in the rest of the day.

Man, was it ever great.

1 Comments:

Blogger Henry said...

I think you need a girlfriend who will make you stay home after a busy Saturday.

Wait... you have that.

Pat

8:13 AM  

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