Friday, June 26, 2009

but i will never be lonely along the way

Days 1-3
1,309 miles
Avg speed: 58
Avg fuel economy: 30.8 mpg

Ballston Spa--Washington, DC--Columbus, OH--Chicago, IL

So here I am. In my itty bitty, if fashionably appointed Chicago hotel room. Weeks of "planning", countless pairs of excitedly soiled slacks, and no shortage of questioning.

If the first three days are any indication of the 7 weeks to come, I am in for a wonderfully whirlwind adventure.

I scrawled the following in a composition notebook (100% recycled, obviously) in DC on Friday evening:

If we were all looking for summer, I've found it, and it is hiding in downtown DC. I arrived at 3:30 today to a somewhat muggy 90 degree sun and proceeded to frolic downtown with Mlle. Payne (who was only slightly late for class).

The drive was blissfully free of nuisances, save for a gentleman who nearly planted his AstroVan into a jersey about 90 miles per hour 3 car lengths ahead of me and my car (hereon referred to by her name, Veronica, Ronni for short, also Christy said with a strong Mexican accent).

I had suspected that my time in downtown DC would be spent strolling the sites and bangin' off a few pics, but in a move providing even more bliss than the drive, I have found a Pret a Manger on I street, icy cold with AC in which to enjoy a sandwich (granny smith apple, cheddar, arugula, mayo) a lemondate and some A-grade people watching. Reading, writing and watching the world pass in front of me seems as worth a project as retreading steps I have taken many times and will take many times again in due course.

Though I hesitate to romanticize the lives of the suited people that pass me as they leave work and board the metro at Farragut Wst, I cannot help but wonder what that life is like. It could be me, it indeed is many of my friends...Morena could walk by right now were she not on a mental vacation. I admire them, feel for them and in a way fantasize about that high-powered existence.

However I must say that I disapprove of both pleated pants and khaki-colored Levis skinny jeans as office wear.

Regardless, my disdain for professionalism aside, I'm into the energy of Downtown DC. It is a well tailored energy, an energy that stems from big minds doing big things...I dig it.

I think, however, that Boston may still win.

At this point, I figured it was time to begin my trek to SW to see the Red Sox-Nationals game with Payne-trayne, Sarah and Ray-Ray. It was a good time. There were more sox fans in Nationals stadium than would fit in Fenway at capacity. Just goes to show you, your town can never truly elevate beyond a rancid backwater in the glory of Red Sox Nation.

After a drink in Spring Break '97 paradise on the waterfront and a quick nights sleep, I moved on to Columbus.

So I don't gush in the ensuing lines, I will get this out of the way now. I love the Roese family. Unabashedly and shamelessly.

Anywho, I arrived after another brief 7 hour jaunt at Casa del Roese, where I was prepared a lovely homegrilled dinner and was taken on a lovely tour (in a hailstorm) of Ohio State.

Some delirious television watching and several glasses of Pink Lemonade (ingredients: Lemon, Water, Sugar, Pink) later, we crashed, we awoke, we took Bailey to the Tiki Pool in fabulous Lancaster, and I returned to Columbus under sunny skies for an iced Chai and an extended walk around Short North. I could do it. I could get my M.Ed. at OSU and not be unhappy. And save a lot of money. And get like the best degree I could get. Food for thought. Extremely serious thought. I want to buy a condo...and travel...and enjoy my life. Is Harvard really worth putting those things off for 10 years? We'll see.

So another whirlwind lap landed me 8 hours later, in Chi-town...the windy city...the second city...the not-mistake by the lake...Chicago. Besides frying in my car because I hit it at rush hour, I have enjoyed my brief evening in Chicago (thank goodness I put Can't Tell Me Nothing by Kanye on early enough to listen to it entirely through 3 times before I hit traffic...that would have been sad). This city has a baller energy. Its New York...but not as self-consciously large and annoying. I did the waterfront, I took in Taste of Chicago (delicious...not terribly cost effective...but I found beer), and took approximately 200 pictures at dusk on Navy Pier. Tomorrow I will hit Michigan Avenue, take a look at UI-Chicago and go explore some cool fringe neighborhoods.

For now I am content that my hotel has free wireless and chilled filtered water on every floor. And it was $104. Ballin...shot-callin.

I just so love the city. It is easy to remember why I hate the suburbs every minute of every day, but damn I love coming into a city...cities of any size from Columbus to Chicago, and remembering what is so magical. The mountains and rural areas live...breathe...sing their own I know I could never live in but adore visiting. The city screams, wails, beats drums, pounds pavement, spits in your face and kicks you in the shins. And then it buys you drinks and makes you feel oh so good. I need to get back.

As for now, I am exhausted. But feeling great. I was apprehensive about my first solo night, but am so content with my wanderings. And so excited for what is to come.

Pics tomorrow? Maybe. On to Milwaukee after lunch tomorrow.

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