Blue 42, blue 42. Rover sit. Hut hut!
Chicago, I say hot damn! Here we are one more year down and we’ve crawled across the finish line together, nails scraping against the pavement, heaving chests dripping with sweat and I do say I’m happy to look over and see you right before I vomit! Since it’s the time of the year that requires self-evaluation I bet you’d love to know what my resolutions are. Well, for one, I resolve to not have any frivolous notions that a seemingly arbitrary demarcation of time is going to give me the chance to suddenly become the better person that I’ve wanted to be all along. I’m also sticking to my resolve to quit my job and become a writer so I can wear silk pajamas all day and read e-mails with my glasses perched on the end of my nose. Maybe I’ll resolve to try and be nicer overall but that’s been a resolution for about 17 years running and I think the general populous can tell you that I haven’t had much success. What are your resolutions, Chicago? There are quite a few things I feel you could improve upon and The Media ™ and society have mostly covered those but can we talk about the CTA? Sometimes it smells unusually bad and sometimes it never arrives and sometimes everyone on it is a hellbeast from the planet Stinkmouthingstareyeballton and sometimes people block whole seats for no one…for NO ONE.
What I’m really saying Chicago is HOORAY it’s 2016! And in my line of work that generally grants me a few days off at the beginning of the vast unending terror
that is the month of January. This new year was to start off with several days of personal enjoyment, beginning with tickets (thanks, T-Relle!) to see the football team I enjoy play their final game of the season (because the football team I enjoy also enjoys losing). The only football game I’ve ever been to was to see my 7th grade boyfriend play and I subsequently got yelled at by a girl for not having a pager so I imagined this time would be much better (seeing as this time I remembered to bring my pager). I even took off a day just for the event itself, getting a co-worker who never works Sundays to pick up my shift. I was set for an afternoon of live, glorious, freezing cold football watching.
Sunday morning dawned and I leapt from my bed as though a child waking up on Christmas morn. I danced a jig while I put on as many layers as I could that would allow me to still squeeze my Golden Tate jersey over it all. After a delicious breakfast at Dove’s, which I felt was a good omen for the rest of the day, we were on our way to the hallowed, weirdly malformed halls of Soldier Field. We happened upon free parking next to an abandoned warehouse a mere 4 blocks away (at first glance) and I felt as though fat baby angels were flying around us, tooting merrily on unnecessarily long horns. I vaulted from the car wrapped in a blanket and started sprinting down the block towards the stadium. As we got closer, Bears fans began emerging from their terrible taste in sports teams and I gleefully lowered my blanket to reveal my honolulu blue. I looked deeply into their eyes, willing them to see the beating that the Lions would soon rain down upon their (equally) bad team and I could feel in my bones how profoundly the fans (did not) cared! The stadium appeared to be right over a treacherous mound of rocks and snow topped by unused train tracks. No matter that no one else was attempting to scramble on hands and knees up the side of this blood producing mountain!
30 minutes and several bemused stares later we were back on the correct path. Across a few streets and we were still on the right path. Around several corners and we were STILL on the right path. Four blocks was quickly becoming about half an hour of walking when we reached a 300-mile long pedestrian bridge where after correctly guessing all the riddles from the trolls we made it to the outskirts of the stadium. The outskirts of Solider Field are akin to a subway station where everyone you make eye contact with wants to show you their junk but instead they want to try and sell you tickets. After walking through the most insecure security line we walked 18 more miles uphill in the driving snow to arrive at what I could only assume was the place where they would finally take my ticket.
I should stop for a moment here to mention that that very morning I had the intention of not bringing a purse. Purses are objects of obligation and burden for women. Can you bring this can you hold this can you put this in your purse do you have a toothpick a tissue an aspirin a bobby pin a pizza somewhere for us to sit the key to world peace? What would I need a purse for at a football game? BUT BRING IT I DID…for to carry hand warmers that I’ve had for 6 years and tissues for my snot nosed companion. And this was my most fatal error.
Ticket man tells me that my purse is too big. Football games only allow CLUTCHES like who would ever bring basically a cloth envelope to a seething mass of people? He tells me that I can either put it back in the car (which we parked at the core of the earth) or THROW IT AWAY or I can basically just DIE. And then he tells me that they rent lockers somewhere under a bridge somewhere over there. CASH ONLY. At this point my SO is attempting to convince me that I could simply hide my purse outside somewhere for the duration of the game because people like SCALPERS would never notice a purse with bright blue on it laying around in snow and beige rocks. I lovingly caressed his cheek and whispered to him that that was in fact the stupidest idea I’d ever heard. As we dejectedly approach the ramshackle card table they’ve assembled for locker rental a tiny cherub flies down and whispers in my ear that I can get an IOU and get money inside the stadium. THANK YOU SWEET JESU we are back in business. Locker and IOU acquired, purse securely hidden away from greasy snatchers, I skip excitedly back towards the stadium but not before I stop at a randomly placed port-a-potty to pee because WHY WOULDN’T I? Now 100% ready for football and nearing half time, I dig feverishly in my back pocket for my ticket and, as one might guess in Quinny Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, it is not there. I shove my hands into my front pockets and find nothing. I awkwardly continue to work around in my back pockets as it is dawning on my companion that I do not have my ticket (I should point out here that he reminded me more than once, in my blind rage over the purse scenario, to keep a hold on my ticket).
I sheepishly make my way back to lockers, explaining that I am an idiot and put my ticket in my purse. Upon retrieval I thrust my hand into my bag and feel around for paper. 1 of what I’m sure amounts to 300.5 million target receipts comes up in my grasp. I pour the contents of my purse out onto the cold cement and franticly pick through all of the nothing that I just HAD to bring with me. No ticket. The locker rental guy is standing above me, stammering about what a bummer it is as I look up at him with blood red eyes, clutching a packet of tissues and still not going to be used hand warmers in my talons. It is time to admit defeat, and ultimately, failure. I try not to cry as I tell locker man that I have no money to give him since I so obviously never made it into the game. He sucks his teeth and, seeing a broken woman before him, tells me that, I mean, it’s fine. I decide that I’m not ready to completely give up and retrace my steps all the way back to the ticket man who has now seemingly disappeared into thin air, making me think he may have been a specter placed in my path just to see how bad I wanted to see the game. I retrace them all, glaring at every person offering tickets. One man calls out if I need JUST ONE ticket and I resist the urge to kill him dead as I continue sniffing on like a bloodhound (in retrospect I should have asked to see the ONE ticket he was selling to see if it was, in fact, my ticket). I even go back inside the port-a-potty and stare into the gelatinous vortex of horror and contemplate just how bad I really feel about losing the ticket (very bad, but not that bad).
We walk the length 0f 1,000 football fields to get back to the car, me dragging my blanket dejectedly behind me all the while. We get back to my house in time for the 4th quarter and watch it on my laptop since I don’t have cable. I simultaneously want and don’t want the Lions to win because if they do I won’t be there to see it but if they don’t I’ll have to pay back no less than 4 bets that I made, all the while bragging about actually being at the game. And wouldn’t you know it, THE LIONS WON. As always, it was touch and go, but they won and to top it all off one of the defensive linemen smacked Cutler in his helmet, which I wouldn’t have been able to see had I actually been at the game. SO IT LOOKS LIKE I ACTUALLY DID WIN THE DAY. I think the real lesson to be learned here is that women should never carry purses.