Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An Interesting Trip Home- A Picture Story

The other night I had a very interesting trip home. I had the opportunity to have dinner with some good friends that I do I not see nearly often enough and found myself on the North Shore enjoying great conversation over dinner and drinks.  After dinner, I was awaiting for my chariot to fetch me (aka waiting for the Metra to arrive) and was getting impatient.  I already had a few Black & Tans coursing through my veins and was itching to keep the fun going.  And then I remembered that I was taking Metra, not the L, and booze is allowed on Metra.  I quickly considered my options.  I knew the closest liquor store was a 3-minute run away, and I would be taking a risk when my train was coming in 8-minutes. I looked around and saw a bar across the street.  I took a chance, ran across to see if they sold beer to go, and the Hops Gods smiled upon me.  Five minutes, 7 dollars and 6 PBR tall boys later, I am ready for my train ride in.

I hop on the train and promptly offer the conductor a PBR, because one should share the wealth.  He declined, stating that there was going to be a mess of people getting on at Ravinia park, an outdoor concert venue. I learned after the fact that Lynyrd Skynyrd was playing.  I missed out.  Anyway, I pop open a PBR, start reading my book and enjoy the fact that I can get home safely after having a few beers while I continue to enjoy even more beers.  My quiet is quickly broken when I hear some commotion in the back half of the car.  Being the gawker that I am, I turn around and observe, and I realize that the train car is moving and a girl is getting pulled onto the car.  WTF?? Why did the conductor leave when someone was not safely boarded.  The train comes to a halt, the conductor operating the train gets onto the intercom and demands that they exit the train, because apparently the people opened the doors as the train was moving and hopped on because they wanted to finish their cigarettes prior to boarding.  A scuffle ensued, with the drunks who boarded refusing to leave while they threatened to sue and the conductor trying to remove them without force.  I sat watching with great amusement, grateful I had purchased refreshments for the live theatre of life. I ended up chatting with a fellow Metra rider, shared my PBR with her and thought that  I had just experienced the best train ride ever.

I arrive at my stop, and check my CTA bus tracker to see that I am going to have to wait 18 minutes for my bus to come.  I weigh my options: I could take a cab but I am too cheap (read:poor), I could wait for the bus, but I have had 5 beers at this point and the seal has been broken, or I could just start walking home.  I look at the plastic bag with two PBRs left and realize my fate has been decided.  I will saunter home and see where the evening takes me. I threw one of the beers in my purse, wrapped the other discreetly in the plastic bag, crack it open and start east on Lawrence.

First I came across this fabulous vehicle decals
Then I kept stumbling and discovered this real beauty of a vehicle
An eclectic collection of crap.

I continued strolling and made it onto Broadway.  I also got there prior to the #81 bus hitting my original stop, WIN!  I walked passed a sushi shop and saw a man outside and said, "Konbonwa!"  He replied in Japanese and we exchanged a pleasant conversation in Japanese.  Then I looked closer and realized that despite his Sushi Chef status and our banter in Japanese, he was, in fact, Korean.  I called him out on this and learned I was correct.   I told him of my time in Japan, and that I am a pastry chef these days, which lead to him giving me  a tour of his kitchen and extending an offer for me to do Asian pastry work on the side.
This is Shu. The picture is a bit blurry, but when you are on your last beer in a plastic bag, "focus" becomes a relative concept.

Shu's Kitchen
From Shu's, I sauntered on, passing the Wilson Red Line stop, one of the most ghetto of the Red Line stops on the North Side.  I live in fear of driving past this stop because there are, at any given time, no less than 15 people jaywalking and loitering in the middle of Broadway.  I call it the Wilson Red Line Dodge 'Em.  Sort of like bumper cars, only avoiding vagrants. 
Wilson Red Line stop- A great place to nap.
I continued on and realized that Aldi's has a security system on their carts that rivals most military installations.  I certainly do not fault them for it, as I probably would have stolen a cart at this point in the night.
Aldi's answer to deterring shopping cart theft. Probably a wise idea.
Then I saw a Target, and recalled their amazing food courts and had an incredible craving for soft pretzels and frozen cokes
They were closed, but I saw people, I sat pounding on the doors to see if they could give me the old pretzels that they were going to pitch...no one heeded my call.
Hello??? I see you in there, give me a frozen coke and soft pretzel.
And then I saw the security camera and continued on.
Probably time I get the hell out of here.

I really would love to know the story behind a bike lock on a tree, mainly where is the bike?  Or is tree theft a problem in Uptown?
Finally, 7-11. Oh Thank Heaven!
Finally I get my frozen coke, and top it off with a little cherry for some variety
I drank half of it down while waiting to get my cream cheese & jalapeno taquito. Naturally, I went back to refill it.  Note: I realize there is a splash of cherry on there, sometimes a girl likes a little kick with her coke.
The taquito was  a weak substitute for the pretzel. The frozen coke did not disappoint.

All in all, not a bad trip home.  I drank some beer, took over an hour and a half to make it 1.7 miles, did some professional networking, and got a frozen coke. And all I really want out of life is a frozen coke, so it was a great night!
I scolded the clerk for his terrible knife cuts.  I then learned that their condiments come in vacuum sealed bags.


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