I forgot my dirt.
I didn’t go to Chicago for any real reason other than I wanted to. It has been on my “list” for a while and the opportunity finally presented itself. By opportunity, I mean I found a roundtrip flight in the middle of summer for less than $300.
It took an eternity to get there. We headed to the airport at 4am hoping to get a good nap on the plane. Then we spent what seemed like forever in line between my boarding pass not printing and Liz trying to fit her carry-on in the ghetto United box. We finally made it through security, onto the plane and touched down in the Chi, just to walk the outskirts of the airport for a solid 30 minutes trying to find the gate our Uber driver was describing. Alas, we found her! And then we found our AirBnB. And then we found misery. We climbed the last step to the front door expecting to escape the smoldering heat outside only to realize that the air had been turned off. It was 104 degrees outside and about 97 degrees inside. So, what did we do? The only logical things. Panic. Complain. Blast the air. Find a fan. Leave.
We took a short walk to 90 miles, and devoured some succulent Cuban food. It was so hot out I guzzled half a glass of water before the waiter had time to give me a straw. Mouth on glass and shameless! I got the Armitage breakfast sandwich and Liz got the Churrasco. We both got the itis. We stopped at Walgreens to get a couple of food items and walked back to the duplex, drenched in sweat. My afro was flourishing though! We planned to go to a jazz concert that night but our plans were quickly diverted by heat exhaustion and a torrential downpour. We had pizza from Giordano’s and watched Family Feud instead.
The next couple of days sort of run together but they were the most fun. We got up bright and early and headed to the Sears (now Willis) tower Skydeck Ledge. It’s 1,353 ft in the air, and the narrator on the elevator tells you exactly how high you are as you ascend. I had a moderate panic attack by the time it was my turn to step out on the ledge. I clung to the wall and told Liz to go on without me. It was kind of romantic. She wouldn’t let me leave. So, I stepped out on the ledge and took a pic. Then we did it again. We headed to Millennium Park and walked around for as long as we could stand. Took pics with the infamous “bean”, Cloud Gate, and decided it was too hot. We had lunch at Luke’s Lobster (moment of silence for the Taste of Maine because we killed it!) and headed home…to nap. That evening we went out to Rosa’s to hear a live Blues band and struggled to stay awake- again, heat exhaustion- while we listened to the music.
Saturday was brunch at Batter and Berries. I had been dreaming of this place for weeks. That Crab cake benedict made my dreams come truuuuue! The staff was so attentive and helpful and the restaurant was JUMPIN! We spent the rest of the day visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art looking googly eyed at all the black love on display. Then we took a stroll on the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Ave and got souvenirs to bring home. This took forever because they haven’t made GPS advanced enough to tell you to walk upstairs when giving walking directions, but I digress.
At that point we realized we needed to head home to have enough time to eat dinner and go on our boat cruise, so we headed back to the Duplex. And just as we finished getting dressed and were about to hop into the Uber, the skies opened up and gave us a good ol fashioned tail whooping. Boat cruise cancelled. We were fortunate that 90 miles was so close to us so we made it to the restaurant drenched, this time in rain, not sweat. I took my vest off to wring it out while we waited for our table. And we ate. And it was just as good as the first time.
We spent the rest of the evening reminiscing on all the good times we had during our trip. The fears we overcame, the food we ate, the well-designed infrastructure of the city, the food, the horrible weather, the cool Uber drivers, and, of course, the food. We made plans to be productive when we got back home, packed our bags, and went to sleep.
The next morning, we got up before the sun, threw our clothes on and made the house look like it did when we arrived. We turned the air off and took lots of poorly lit pictures. We wrote Andre a thank you note and kissed our little duplex goodbye. The key went back into the lockbox and we knew it was over for good. We took one more look back, equal parts wanting just one more day here and wanting sleep in our own beds again, then hopped in the car.
Somewhere between our layover in St. Louis and being thousands of feet in the air and landing in DFW, I was jolted by the thought that I had resolved to collect a bag of dirt from every new place I visited.
I forgot my dirt.