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August 25, 2003

Madison to Chicago

Avery spur of the moment decision prompted me to get up on a sunday morning...

A bit earlier than I would have hoped, after what is now a very hazy night out at the pubs...With a promethean effort, I hauled my butt out of bed (oh the joy of a real bed!), splashed some water on my face, slurped down a cuppajoe, and hit the road.
An hour and 15 minutes later I found myself in Harvard Ill, my bleary eyes focusing (gently) on the local water tower, which boasted the slogan "Home of Milk Day." With romanesque fantasies of the endless fun and certain debauchery that arriving on Milk Day wouls have provided, I boarded the Metra for Chicago, chi-town, second city...I'm hoping for a serendipitous adventure roaming the halls of the Art Institute, viewing all the wonderul things I know nothing about. OK. Enough pontificating-here's what the Journal says:
---the train ride:
Slept about 1/2 way (damn hangover) until a very boisterous spanish family sat behind me, followed by a very vocal group of high school girls and a mother with all of her friends kids in tow. sheesh.
~insights so far: very few things can compete with the vocal power of an upset two year that kid had a set of pipes; I found it extremely satisfying to exact my revenge on all of these over-loud, self-absorbed intruders on my hangover, by letting go a few horrendous hangover farts into the little train car.
---Made it to chicago! now where the hell am I?
---Sitting in the Monet room: the haystack series to my right (beautiful), and "waterlilies" in front of me. So far what has struck me the most was a painting by Ferdinand Hodler (swiss) entitled "Day (truth)" in which a young woman stands naked, on a rock in a waterfall, parting the clouds with her hands. She has amazingly strong, confident and wise blue eyes. This painting really took me in, and put me in mind of the kind of human being I really admire: someone who has discovered their personal strength and uses it to bring beauty and truth and justice to the world around them.
---The rest of the museum experience blurred into a slow moving procession of Monet, Renoir, Rembrandt, Picasso, Pisarro, and countless portraits, landscapes and depictions of Jesus looking ever so put upon. I took in what sculpture and artifact, ummm, stuff that I could, but it's not interesting to me, so there ya have it. My hangover is taking over so I'm gonna get some lunch, and people watch.
---man is everyone in a hurry.
---I asked around for directions, and after a bit of foot-thinking, decided which route would actually get me back to the train. On the way I met Thomas, a homeless vet with a serious and untreated broken leg, which he displayed eagerly; Herman, another homeless gentleman, with whom I swapped stories about meeting rich assholes in Los Angeles; Mike and Chris, a nice couple that were in a wierd daze that I coudn't place as either drugs or trauma--it turns out that they had just witnessed a horrible hit and run accident minutes before--; and two lovely german girls who's names I didn't get.
---Part of the trip back to the train was by the Chicago "RiverBus," a quaint (dinky) little boat that runs between a couple major stops along the canal thingy. After waiting an increasingly nervous 45 minutes I discovered that I was at the wrong spot to be picked up, and had to flag down the captain as he was pulling away from the right spot that I was hurlting toward (I'd say running but I'm too hungover to be that coordinated). Soon after boarding I realized that we were going the wrong way. A bit of smiling and conversation got me a promise that eventually and in time for my train, I would be at the train station. As usual all worrying was in vain, for I was a solid hour I got the ride for free! Man I hope this luck in connections continues on my big trip!
---back on the train home. not much has happened to tell, tho my mood lifted considerably higher to hear a gentle voice behind me in the train staion observe "Man is everyone in a hurry!" I told him I had said the same thing just a couple hours earlier and we shared a good laugh and great conversation---he advised the following, which I feel I should impart--'don't drink canned beer. and always wipe the bottle mouth before you drink bottled beer. ' He worked in a beer distribution warehouse. 'nuff said. Think I'm going to pass out for the ride to Harvard (dreams of Miss Milk Day flit across the brain).

Well, it was a pretty good trip for a day trip. I got to see a lot, and definitely would reccomend the fun and cheap public transportation around Chicago, not to mention the amazing Art Institute, and the many other magnificent museums to be found close by. This was probably my 30th trip to Chicago, and everytime is a new and exciting experience. Jesus I sound like a travel agent.
until next trip...

Posted by Colin on August 25, 2003 03:35 PM
Category: Travel Preparations

Hey Grey,

Thanks for the great story, funny about the farts on the train.

The Metropolian in NYC and the Louve in Paris both blew my mind. Lot to see & do.

Do you have a paypal account? if not you should set one up so people like me can send you $ for you trip.

C'mon suck it up and get a bank account.

talk to you soon.

Posted by: socalgirl on September 10, 2003 11:57 AM

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