Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bourbon, Taxis, and Sombreros

I somehow managed to go from having nothing to talk about last week to having almost too much to talk about this week.  I’m not complaining though because that'd be like Bill Gates whining about all his extra money: incredibly irritating (unless he's following those unjustified complaints with cash gifts).

And there will be no cash gifts here.  

But before we get to my week, can we take a second to talk about taxis?  And when I say talk, I mean can someone explain how the whole taxi system works? 

I will say that I’m not as embarrassingly sheltered as I was when I was planning my first visit to Chicago for my job interview.  Although I do like the occasional hyperbole to make the otherwise mundane happenings of my life seem funny, this isn't the case here; when I say I was embarrassingly sheltered, I mean that I called the FlashCab taxi service a good 3 days before my interview to ask if I could order a taxi. 

It was sometime between the operator asking me if I wanted the taxi now and her obviously unamused reaction to me telling her that no, actually I was ordering for next Friday, that I realized I was indeed a suburban, middle-class boob.  Which isn't a comforting realization, to say the least.

I've lived here for a little over a month now and from what I had gathered, the whole taxi thing seemed easy: you stand on the street, wave your hand, and then you get in a taxi.  Evidently this is NOT the case, however, as I learned Friday as my two fellow law firm runner friends and I tried to hail a taxi after work.  

You’d think that, seeing as taxi drivers drive taxis to make money and that money bearing customers are sort of vital in that scheme, that they’d want to stop when they saw three people all but throwing money desperately out into the street.

...Not the case.  And it wasn't that there just weren't any taxis – our block around 6 PM is like the Dr. Seuss storybook of taxis… in the 20 minutes we tried to grab one, we watched helplessly as one taxi, two taxis, red taxi, blue taxi all zoomed by without stopping.

Even though we eventually got one (and by we, I mean my friend Natalie, not me), I still am not sure I could explain the process.  This really doesn't do much to comfort my inner, self-conscious suburbanite boob.

Anyway, now we can stop talking about taxis.  Moving on…

This week many wonderful things happened.  One, it stopped raining and stopped being miserably cold.

This .5 by 1 inch rectangle made my desktop at work...

even more heartwarming than it already is.  I took full advantage of the weather while it lasted, going on an afternoon walk or two through Millennium Park, which had transformed overnight from the arctic tundra I had dragged many a visitor through weeks ago, to something out of a travel brochure...

I also met up with another local running group, this time with much more success.  With the weather being so wonderful, I was able to ditch the Under Armor head gear and instead properly represent my brief stint as a Southerner...

... embracing my roots with my redneck, beer-chugging, Frog Leg Festival sleeveless tee.  Or at least embracing the time Derrick and I drove an hour south to eat fried frogs legs.

This was first time I've been legitimately thrilled to be running with the "slow group," which really only meant that we weren't going to be capping off our 10 mile run at a sub-6 minute mile clip.  Real, honest-to-God runners!  And this group has monthly Burger n' Beer Mondays.  I've never described myself as a beer and burger chick, but it beats AARP Wednesdays.

The other pleasing events of the week focused mainly on racing, both human and otherwise.

A few people at work who are as nuts motivated as me decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by running in the Cinco de Miler.  We had to pick up our race packets on Friday (hence the unfortunately mystifying encounter with Chicago cab service).

Picking up the packets was disappointingly uneventful given the effort it took us to get there, so we stayed in the area for a pre-race pasta party.  Except substitute pasta for Bud Light and $1.00 well drinks.  By the time we left, we were fully in the Cinco de Mayo Spirit, not in the least thanks to a questionable rendition of the National Anthem, compliments of Amy.

If a buzzed, lip-synced rendition of an American classic before the start of a hockey playoff game doesn't capture Latin American heritage, I don't know what does.

This weekend was also exciting because it involved another great American classic, the Kentucky Derby.

OK, so I didn't actually even realize the Kentucky Derby was this weekend until my friend Matt texted me to come celebrate the 2 minute horse race that I knew hardly anything about.  But celebrate I did, with a drink that I also knew hardly anything about but is evidently the trademark of the 2 minute horse race I know hardly anything about.

World, meet my first (and possibly last) Mint julep.  It tasted just about as delightful as bourbon, sugar, and mint could be expected to taste.

If this is the first time you've read my blog, you might be under the impression that I could be that person who toes the line of alcoholism claiming that they're just a "good time."  And you wouldn't be more wrong.  I do enjoy a glass of wine or two, but even that's enough to get people uncomfortable with me behind the wheel.  (Then again, most of my friends are more than uncomfortable with that when I'm sober).  Regardless, back to back days of cranberry vodkas, bourbon, and a shot of Patron slipped in there at one point?  I'll say that I've woken up more prepared to run before.

But I wouldn't be so lame.  So Cinco de Mayo morning, I was out there with the rest of the BAMFs (team name compliment of Natalie).  And true to our team name, we really were the envy of the race in our bad@$$ team uniforms (compliments of Julie).

After the race, a lot of people stayed around for celebratory Churros and beer.  I didn't stay for the fesitivies though; I don't think even cash gifts from an inappropriately peeved Bill Gates could lure me away from a hot shower and long, long nap.

And so here I sit now, at my guilty pleasure (the Bourgeois Pig Cafe), gaining back all the calories I burned this morning with another guilty pleasure (a Chai tea latte and chocolate chip biscotti as big as my head).

Overall, it was a grand weekend, but a weekend that I need a weekend to really recover from (remember, you're reading about the 20-something Grandma whose Friday nights are more likely to involve Sleepy Time tea and my latest book than a round of jello shots).

I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to find a balance that will result in a weekly post somewhere between a 48 hour montage of drinking and racing, and me taking pictures of my gym.

But I'm still not complaining, so no cash gifts for you.

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