Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Letter from Chiberia


So it’s cold here. Purportedly colder than the South Pole. Or Mars. And while I agree that it’s been hella-freaking cold, I don’t think it’s been all that horrible … but then again I’ve spent most of the cold snap under a blanket on my couch.

The cold shut down my office on Monday, but I ventured out to meet my trainer in the Loop anyway. And since I went at an off-peak time, the CTA trains were not working in my favor. My first train took 15 minutes to show up. My second train took 10. And then we sat at the Belmont station for another 10 minutes with the freaking doors open.

But that wasn’t the worst part. Sometimes, for reasons known only to the travel gods, a train will suddenly “express” to some far-off location and bypass all the stops in between. Passengers are usually notified of this change at the last possible moment so we have very little time to figure out alternate ways to get to our destinations. And on the coldest day in the history of witches’ tits yesterday, my train announced it was going to express when it was one stop away from my destination. So I got to walk what I estimate to be half a mile to the gym. But I looked at it as my pre-workout cardio, even though it was in relatively brutal cold.

I had a great workout with my trainer, who is an enthusiastic young man dedicated to kicking my 45-year-old ass into fighting shape by summer. I actually think quite highly of him; in the few months I’ve been working out with him, he’s found ways to work around – and strengthen the muscles around – two chronic gym injuries that have held me back in my workouts for years. Plus he’s good visual motivation, if you know what I mean. And by that I mean he’s pretty hot.

I ended up on the drunk train on the ride home; there were two loud, slurry guys holding an endlessly inane conversation across the aisle from each other, breathing a great effluvium of liquor into the air and cracking themselves up by shouting Happy New Year! every time the conductor made an announcement. Thankfully, one of them got off the train one stop from my stop, giving me a half mile of relative quiet before I had to go out trudging in the cold again.

But before we left the station, it happened. The announcement came that my train was expressing to some far-off location beginning now, so I had to get off the train and trudge an extra half mile back to my place. For those of you keeping score at home, that makes two trips in a row where the CTA expressed one stop before mine and forced me out into the cold for a long freezing walk. There was no end to my suffering.

Bonus story!

My sister came to visit for the weekend and somehow made it back home safely in the snow and cold on Sunday. But while she was here, she cooked tons of food for me and divided it into single servings and stocked my fridge and freezer with enough meals to last me through winter. For the record, I know how to cook. And when I do, I’m not half bad at it. But I’m fundamentally more lazy than hungry and left to my own devices I’ll eat peanut butter and jelly for every meal for the rest of my life. So my sister’s cooking and portioning and freezing of food was a welcome gift. Besides, I have only eight knives so I can make only eight peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before I have to start washing things and washing knives can sometimes be overwhelming.

But that’s not the bonus story! On Saturday we wandered out in the snow and toured Millennium Park and the Art Institute and had a lovely touristy time. Spirits were so high, in fact, that not one but two homeless guys complimented us on what a cute couple we made. One even told us he could tell we’d been together for a long time. Which, having been siblings for 43 years, is technically true. But we hardly qualify as a couple. At least not north of the Mason-Dixon line. But since two guys had commented on our cute coupledom, we figured maybe the world knew something we didn’t. So we got MARRIED!* And this picture of us in Chicago’s famous bean sculpture (called Cloud Gate by purists) is our joyous wedding photo:

I’d normally register for extra peanut butter knives, but since I now have a wifey who can cook, I’ll be registering instead for pots and pans for her. And Chipotle gift cards for date nights. I can be selfless like that.

* Not really.


C. P. said...

And not one, but four pics being snapped within the reflection. Welcome back to blogging, Jake.

Timmy said...

Not that I don't appreciate the pic of you and sister but where is the pic of the hot trainer? Enquiring minds wants to know.

Colin said...

Yum! Chipotle! I'm keen on their corn salsa.