Good question. I’ve been traveling so much and then have been so busy when I had a few moments in town that it’s all kind of running together like one big long weird confusing day.
At the beginning of this month, I went to Peoria for work. I had been to Peoria maybe once the entire time I was living in Illinois. If you live near a city like Chicago, Peoria isn’t exactly high on the agenda. It was a surprisingly cute little place, and we stayed in a surprisingly nice hotel… for an extra night even. By the time we could finally leave, we were ready to go. The city isn’t that big and the weather in March isn’t that nice. Also, we were working.
At the Peoria airport, I was chosen for a full search, likely because of my one-way, just-purchased ticket. I wasn’t excited about my coworkers getting an eyeful of my thong collection, but oh well. I would soon find that this was only the beginning.
This dragon was in a glass case at the airport in Peoria:
When I got to Chicago, I said good-bye to my coworkers and rented a car to drive to a suburb called Flossmoor. There, my grandparents greeted me and we talked about stuff. Stuff like them being deathly afraid of black people, preventing me from going to the riverboat casinos in Gary to play cards with a friend.
When I told them of my plans, they were shocked that I would even suggest such a thing. My trip to Gary would require traveling through the south side of Chicago. Black people live on the south side, and according to my grandparents, all they do is sit around waiting for white girls like me to roll up in a Chevy Malibu rental car so they can smash my window, hold me at gunpoint, and steal my valuables (a cell phone and maybe 20 bucks). Their logic was ridiculous, and any other self-respecting card player would have said, “I’ll take my chances.” They’re clearly basing their beliefs on the one death they hear about in the shit-shoveling daily paper, the Chicago Tribune*, and not thinking of the thousands of people who go through there all the time. Still, I was in town for two days and it wasn’t worth upsetting them over, even if they are totally wrong (and I could get my several white friends from the south side to call them and tell them as much).
Several glasses of bourbon later, it was a non-issue. I think my grandparents were a little disturbed by the amount of bourbon I could imbibe without throwing up, passing out, or being hungover. *shrug* I offered to buy them more; that’s all I can do.
I spent my second night in the Chicagoland area with my old pal Laura who lives in Brookfield. We walked home from the pub as a fresh blanket of snow fell on our heads. We didn’t care, it was pretty.
Until I had to drive home in it. Then, not so much. The flakes had just the right consistency to stick to all the road signs I had to read to get back to my grandparents’ house. My 40-minute drive ended up taking two and half hours. When I got back, I finished off the bourbon and watched the Academy Awards. Ho-hum.
I got back from my grandparents’ house on Monday, had dinner, had sex, and then had to drive all the way to Bandera, TX. (“Well at least you had sex,” noted one of my more astute friends.) Bandera was cool to drive through, not much going on there though. Highway 337 was the most beautiful drive through Texas I’ve ever experienced (and I got to experience it several times since I got lost), and one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen, period.
During one of my lunch breaks, I flipped through a real estate guide and found my first within-reach dreamhouse. I must note that before that day, I thought houses were cheap in the middle of nowhere, but now I’ve discovered that when you buy a house in the middle of nowhere, you also buy all of the nowhere surrounding it, so they’re actually quite expensive. Oh well, if I stay in Texas for the rest of my life, I know where I’m living (Kendall County).
After chilling out post-Bandera, I was slated to go to a county an hour outside of Toledo. There I went, but not without a bit of struggle. My coworker and I had enormous trouble getting from Austin to Toledo in one day, so we made plans to stay in Chicago for a night and then fly to Toledo the next day. We almost didn’t make it to Chicago, as you can read in my angry letter to American Airlines (Word doc).
We eventually made it to The Drake in Chicago, where we put away our bags and had dinner and drinks. Another coworker and someone from the county he was working with joined us, so we had the perfect pack for clubbing, which I had informed my traveling companion we must do at all costs.
(To be continued… maybe)
I’ll at least tell you that it snowed in Ohio. This is me and a few flakes:
Also, we went here, but there were no munchkins:
*Seriously, I would read this paper as I ate breakfast and it’s amazing that I was able to keep it all down. Most of the articles were poorly written and even the hard news stories left me thinking, “Who the hell cares?” The only way this paper knows how to get anyone’s attention is through provoking people’s fears–it was like reading Fox News.