Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

The thing was, I was exiting the park with about six to eight thousand other people just after the show on a Friday night. That is a lot of people suddenly descending on Chicago, and we basically all had the same idea. I started walking, but realized that I was almost literally getting nowhere fast.

The streets were jammed, packed full of people, all in varying stages of inebriation. I was basically sober, having had only two shitty bottle of white wine (because apparently the only alcohol being served at Riot Fest was wine or beer and the wine was only white), so I had not actually had much to drink.

Now I was standing on a sidewalk, aware that it was almost 10:45, I was tired, and I was surrounded by a thousand people I did not want to get to know better. I also noticed that up and down the street pedicabs were running full out. Much like in Asia, pedicabs are bicycle-powered cabs where you can jump on a bench in the back and get a ride to somewhere. In my 12 years in Asia I never actually ridden a pedicab anywhere. Granted, they are not nearly as common in Korea, although they were all over China on my few visits there.

However, here I was confronted with something like a mile and a bit walk in boots I hadn’t worn for eight months; after a long evening of thrashing and mostly having been on my feet since six p.m. I was ready for a break.

I hailed a pedicab, and luckily for me he stopped.

I had listened to a gang that had jumped in a pedicab earlier, and as I didn’t know exactly where I was in the city I said (as if I knew exactly where I was in the city) “Just take me to Western.”

“Just you?”

“Is that okay?”

“Yeah, sure, hop in.”

I got into the back and talked to my friendly cab pusher. He was a nice Ukrainian kid who was working to make a living in Chicago. He told me that almost every pedi-pusher in the city was here and tonight was one of three or four days a year when they really managed to make bank. It was a tough racket, but he enjoyed it, and he liked meeting nice people.

The ride was comfortable and fast, and I enjoyed the wind in my hair and being able to sit after having been so long on my feet. The night was clear, stars bright, and even though it was not passing swiftly, the lights of the city were a beautiful sparkle as I relaxed on my way to Western. When he dropped me off he smiled.

“You’ve been good company, don’t worry about it, you’re light to carry. Just a tip is fine.”

I smiled and gave him a twenty and thanked him.

Now I was further away from the riot catastrophe  but still surrounded by people, those walking much faster than I was, who were now all gathered at Western trying to get a ride. Still a good hundred people and all crouched on various corners. I realized finally that I was just going to have to take the bus until I got far enough North to get out of the fray. The bus, then, it was.

Me, and about 80 other people crowded onto the bus at around eleven, and thus began the long slog. The bus was going to Berwyn, which put me in my neighborhood, so I stood. There were no seats. It was late, and my phone was close to dying.

I texted the Electrician and the Bard to let them know I was on the way. The Electrician texted back that he was going to be at the club and I considered heading that way as well. I managed to stand on the bus for all of forty minutes but somewhere after Belmont I decided I was done, got off the bus, and grabbed a taxi. For a few more moments I toyed with the idea of going to the club, but changed my mind and directed the taxi toward home, where I managed to make it, eventually, by around 12:35.

I was insanely tired, totally sober, wanted a drink and to sleep. I figured I could try one or the other and poured a small glass of tequila, which I promptly passed out into without even really managing to drink. I vaguely remember Young Kubrick stumbling in on me later to introduce someone, but tired, exhausted, naked, and trying to sleep I barely managed to raise an arm before drifting back into dreamland, where Glenn Danzig crooned at me in my dreams.

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