Monday, August 22, 2011

The World's Most Expensive Stromboli, or What You See While Sitting on a Porch Stoop at 2 a.m.

People watching is one of my favorite past times.  I get such  enjoyment out of observing people experience life.  The outfits, interactions, nuances, and commentary that comes out of watching the theatre of life cannot be beat.  Typically my people watching is limited to street fairs, sitting in the park, riding the CTA or waiting for planes at airports.  Airports and street festivals provide great people watching, but variety is the spice of life. Note: My old man once taught me that airports are the best places to spot toupees.  Some little girls learned from their dads how to dance with a boy or change a car tire.  My Dad taught me how to spot rugs.

Upon reflection, not an all-together bad skill to have.

I recently learned that if you sit on  your property manager's stoop at 2 a.m. on Wednesday mornings out of sight from those passing by , you see some very exciting things which include but are not limited to:
  • Young woman singing the timeless TLC classic "No Scrubs" aloud, presumably along to her iPod, without her knowledge, a la Me with "Janie's Got a Gun."
  • Two middle-aged men who live in the assisted living building across the street from me racing their motorized wheelchairs down the street. I was cheering for the man in The Rascal, but it seemed as if the HoverRound swept the 3 out of 3 series.
  • A truly intoxicated young woman being guided home by two faithful friends carrying her along. It reminded me that I owe a lot of my girls from college belated thank yous.  Who am I kidding with college?  I owe my girls thank yous for the last time we hung out. 
  • A guy that was a dead ringer for Dude Lebowski. Tragic sweater and all.
  • Rats. Eww.
Needless to say, one sees a lot of very interesting things at 2 a.m. in the morning. However, being the street savvy young gal that I am, I try not to make a habit of sitting outside alone at night.  This is where the world's most expensive stromboli enters the scene.

I arrived home from work around 12:30 in the morning, riding high on life and poured myself a stiff G&T. I had blood work in the morning that required that I fast, so naturally I decided it would be a logical idea to order some late night food to accompany my Tanqueray.  So I get my grubhub on, order myself a banana pepper, black olive and pineapple stromboli and call my girl Bonita to tell her a great story. Note: Don't knock my flavor combo until you tried it.  It's an excellent balance of sweet, salty and spicy.  Just like me, yuk yuk yuk!

Anyway, I am chatting away with Bonita, and my other line rings to inform me of delicious stromboli making its arrival.  So I keep chatting, grab my keys from the key hook that I so expertly installed, and head out.  I make the exchange and head back in.  My keys are not fitting. I jam them harder into the key hole. No luck. 

The keys I grabbed would work well if I was trying to get into either of my parents' homes in Northwest Ohio.  Getting into my place in Chicago, not so much. I not-so-silently curse myself for deciding to simplify my life and split my key chains up. I sit and debate my options. There's a tree that runs next to my second story unit, and my windows are open.  I calculate in my head the strength of the trees branch and my abilities to jump from a tree to my window, managing to kick out a screen while flying through the air.  I quickly realized I have a much better chance of facing charges of arborcide and breaking my neck (Plus destroying the precious stromboli), so I decide to wake up my property manager.

For 20 minutes I leaned on their call box and nothing. Either he sleeps like the dead or figures I am just another drunk tenant who locked themselves out (Six out of Seven nights a week that would've been a safe bet with me, but it was night seven and I only had one drink.)  I debate just sleeping outside when I see a sticker next to the call box for a 24/7 locksmith.  At this point, its 1:30 a.m., I need to scarf this stromboli down if I have any chance of "fasting" prior to my blood work, and I have to be up early to catch the Metra.  So, I make the call of shame, that I have been locked out, and am advised that in 20 minutes they will arrive.  Naturally, I do what any fat girl who is bored does and ate. I sat down on the porch stoop and scarfed down the stromboli, avoiding the glances of the neighbors coming in who must be wondering about this size 14 in her pajamas downing greasy cheesy goodness.

The locksmith finally came.  He laughed at my predicament and actually gave me a hefty discount because I did not mutilate the locks trying to get in.  Oh, and I may have attempted to scale the tree to his entertainment after telling him of my original plan.  I made the right call, no way I could have pulled a Batman by jumping from the tree  to the window while successfully kicking the screen in and landing safely in my unit.  I made it two feet up the tree before gravity kicked in and I decided I was more interested in the other half of the stromboli

So the night wasn't a total loss. I saw some awesome things, ate a delicious stromboli, talked to my friend Bonnie and learned some great skills that will help me should I ever decide to pursue a career as a professional cat burglar.

I also learned that, despite the popular adage, the best things in life are,in fact, not free.  Because my stromboli ended up costing me $103.56, with tip and delivery. Fortunately that thing was frickin delicious.

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