I was standing in warm shower this evening, about to make one of those no-win decisions to get out when it occurred to me: “it’s not actually -50 degrees here.” I don’t live in Chicago. I live in Portland. If the temperature does reach that incredible trough tomorrow, we will likely be 100 degrees warmer here. I know we’re missing out on the collective experience of living through such a miserable day as a Chicagoan, but I really don’t mind sitting this one out.
The dark night of every Chicagoan soul takes place at a windswept bus stop or el platform each February. It is there, in absurd bundles that provide so little protection from the slicing gales, do they curse and wonder why they live in this city. When there’s a day where you physically can’t be outside to experience that feeling and it’s not even February yet, you know you’re in a particularly harsh, quintessentially Chicago winter.
I’m back in Portland, and it feels pretty good to be home. I’m tired, and it’s later for me than it is here, but it’s my bedtime either way.
Besides a long flight, today was mostly uneventful. Here are some random thoughts:
I gave money to someone on the el platform, only to watch him answer a call on his smartphone not long after.
I had to try four separate bathrooms in Midway’s C terminal before I found an open stall. Midway’s in bad shape because of construction, and it was a personal offense to me when Potbelly’s left. The one glimmer of hope was big and little’s reasonably priced fresh breakfast tacos. Do more of that, Midway, or you’ll fall to second from your tied first place ranking of best Chicago airports.
When I touched down in Portland, I was sure to get lunch. Three tacos later and I was ready to go home proper.
Thank you, bathroom attendants. Thank you for providing spray-on deodorant that has a crisp, clean fragrance to cover up my body odor on the dance floor. I also appreciate the ample chewing gum options you offer, and the disposable cups of mouthwash. Your steadfast commitment to dental hygiene is something I share. I’m not embarrassed to use the toilet in the room with you, as I know you’ve seen and heard it all. You’re just doing your job, and your job is to support us. If I ever record an album, I will write a song devoted to you and your work.
If there’s ever a recommendation I can make, it’s to go to Pain Stop Massage on Milwaukee Ave in Chicago. It is hands down the best deep tissue massage you can get on the Planet Earth.
Pain Stop is bare bones, but not so bare bones that it feels shady or dirty. Perhaps utilitarian is a better description. The walls in the private rooms are only 8 feet high. The floor is linoleum. The therapists set an electric timer before they start, and they stop their work shortly after it goes off. The front room has a receptionist, a few massage chairs, and sometimes a table scattered with Mahjongg tiles.
The therapists will work on loosening up your glutes as much as they work on your back, arms, legs, and feet. There is no embarrassment, just deep tissue massage at a reasonable price. Please tip the therapists; they truly deserve it.
I had a 90 minute massage today, and I’m about to fall asleep as a puddle of a human being. I am truly content.
I’m beat. For what it’s worth, I did sleep on my red eye flight, and then a couple hours before work in the office. Not the good kind of sleep, but any kind is better than none.
Seeing the Chicago skyline from the street level is comforting. Also, it’s great to see my coworkers who are good people and also my friends.
I’m considering a new feature for this blog which I call “evocative adult thoughts”. The best writing is the most truthful, and sometimes the most truthful writing is about genitals.
I wrote the following blog posts in separate emails to myself. I should just subscribe to my password manager service so I can make posts on my phone.
Waiting in America’s best airport for my red eye flight back to America’s best airport for… best airport for…. ah! America’s best airport for tortas, Chicago O’Hare.
Is there nothing better than a cross-country red eye flight? Gazing out over a black sea spotted with a million amber flecks. Hidden minds asleep or barely sleeping or working the late shift, all without the faintest notion of my voyage between the stars above their heads. It truly is peaceful.
You know what else is great? Sleeping upright in a middle seat for 4 hours. Past Tony, why did you think this would be a good idea?
Evocative thought for the evening: turds in a urinal