Sunday, August 11, 2013

We DID go see the Yankees

I've finally made up for that time when Derrick's dad and I cruelly used the Yankees' to cover up my surprise weekend visit in May.  Derrick finally got to see his beloved Yankees play... it just took a few months and 1300 miles to get there.

But I should back up, because no one likes starting in the middle of a story... and this will definitely be a story worth telling.  Small town twenty-something moves across the country to a strange new world of public transportation and gas stoves; it has best seller written all over it.  And it's so much more enjoyable when that twenty-something isn't me.

This time, it's this guy...

... standing at Southwest baggage check, hoping that he remembered his toothbrush.  Because there's no going back, and who knows if they brush their teeth in Chicago?

Our long trip started the day before with an 8 hour drive from the Outer Banks to Baltimore, which included an unplanned, "scenic" detour through downtown DC (and fighting DC traffic is a lot like Black Friday shopping at Best Buy: stressful, a bit alarming, and potentially life-threatening).  I had a headache before we even got to the airport.

Luckily, Derrick is my perfect travel partner.  Flight running late?  I'm in crisis mode, up there banging my head against the flight status board, while Derrick's settled in with Netflix, a bottle of Gatorade, and his characteristic willingness to rub my shoulders.

Derrick's one of the few who could get me away from the status board long enough to crack a smile.

But we made it.  So fast-forward a few trains rides...

... a couple standard "Welcome to Chicago" gorge-fests...

... to Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, where the Yankees were playing the White Sox.  At first, Derrick was (understandably) a bit hesitant to show his true colors.

Luckily for him, he had somehow managed to get tickets smack-dab in the middle of what was apparently headquarters of the Great Yankee Fan Assemblage of 2013.  In his Jeter tee, Derrick was three rows deep into a group of his brethren "Noo Yawkas."

Me not so much.  I was raised in typical Maryland fashion, learning early how to pick steamed crabs, that it's okay to put Old Bay on anything, and most importantly, that you must hate the Yankees.  I'm not much of a baseball fan but some lessons can't be untaught.  So I decided to put on my Sox shirt and jump on the slow moving and pretty pathetic Chicago baseball bandwagon.

But like I said, I'm not a baseball fan (even less so after a 5:30 AM 8-miler followed by an 8 hour work day).  By 8:30, I was ready for bed.  By 9, I gave up even faking interest.

By 9:30, Derrick took pity on me; we left after 7 and 1/2 innings to catch the train for our long and slightly sketchy trip home.  By the time we made it to the apartment, Derrick was supporting more of my weight than I was.

Derrick has always impressed me in this way though; he's like a camel of energy, able go long distances without sleep, dragging the dead-weight, lifeless body of his exhausted girlfriend when anyone else would have already withered away.

And I know for a fact that he has been living in a week-long desert of sleep.  In addition to all of the mandatory "I'm New Here" tasks, a job hunt, and working out, he's also been a very pleasant companion to events such as my firm's "Summer Outing," an after-work happy hour on the roof of a bar downtown:

I didn't take these pictures; credit goes to Patty, Paul, and their iPhones.

I can only imagine how tiring it is trying to keep up with this group...

...while getting up every 15 minutes to get a water for your girlfriend who, after enjoying her firm's "signature" vodka cocktail and half of a Summer Shandy, became unreasonably obsessed with re-hydrating for her long run the next day.  But Derrick took it all in stride and was able to adapt to this unfamiliar environment with its attorney small talk and hand-delivered cotton candy...

... and still had energy for the rest of the weekend, which included some quality time by the Lake...

... Saturday night dates, complete with sushi and a bit of city corner entertainment...

... and belated-birthday Sunday brunches at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (an amazing little tapas bar I first experienced in July).  I was a grown up kid in my 23 year old version of a candy shop, which featured an over-the-top Bloody Mary from the brunch Bloody Mary bar...

... and a plate of bacon wrapped dates.

Derrick, always a good sport, didn't spoil my euphoria but did admit that the joint wasn't quite his thing.  He liked his French toast, but it was definitely not "Derrick-sized" (his first response when the waitress set down his place was "where's the rest?").

But I guess as far as problems go, insufficient portions of French toast don't rank too high on the catastrophe scale.

For a first week in a new city, I personally think Derrick had it pretty good (French toast and MLB games beat canned soup dinners off of fold-up TV trays in the middle of an otherwise empty room).  But I also take for granted how difficult the initial adjustment to this environment can be; I've memorized most of the important bus routes so it's easy to forget how confusing they can be when you're still learning your home address.

So really, the only person who can tell you how hard (or easy) his first week was is Derrick himself.  On that note, I've already begun a steady stream of not-so-subtle hints for him write a guest post about his adventures.  It might be a long shot, but I'm convinced that if I can get him up for an 8 AM run on vacation, nothing is impossible!

Wishing you all a lovely week with some extra nap time!  Cross your fingers that you'll be hearing from Chicago's newest resident sometime soon.


  1. Learning those new "but" routes is important. Hopefully mine won't be as confusing.

    1. I'm beginning to think that you only read my blog to find the mistakes! One of these days, I'm going to write a post with nothing for you to comment on...