[ this end up ]

>Da Bear, da bears, da bears

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2005 at 1 am

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As a child I never managed to fully grasp the concept of a speed limit. That isn’t to say I was unaware of their existence, but that I didn’t understand that highways had higher speed limits, which made for faster routes than their smaller brethren. I guess I simply thought a road is a road is a road. This lack of understanding and a map led me to constantly question my fathers routes on our annual Iowa road trip I couldn’t understand why we took the roads we did when I could clearly see roads that led directly to our destination, and any elementary school kid knows the fastest path between two points is a straight line. I constantly pointed out that if we took this road thru ‘lostville’ or that road around ‘bumfuck’ we would likely get to where we were going faster and my father, to the best of my knowledge, only followed my advice once. After which, we promptly got lost.
    Getting lost now is a much more difficult task. With the power of the internet a direct path can be pre-chartered, down to the exact mile. I’ll admit this sort of convenience takes some of the fun away from pouring over a map and deciding which roads are best, but it also saves a lot of frustration and God forbid the possibility of asking for directions. As we enter the hazy, smog filled world of Chicago the lanes magically widen and split and merge and shorten in a matter of miles and we’re both thankful for a little place called Mapquest.
    We park downtown in the middle of ‘the loop’ and walk around looking for a place to fill our guts and poison our livers. Our Chicago friends, who are currently borderline enemies, have, at this point, yet to return our calls. Brian and I joke good-naturedly on the possibility of being homeless in Chicago tonight. These jokes merely serve to mask our fear and dread of being homeless tonight and every laugh is really weeping in disguise. At the recommendation of our Let’s Go America travel book we settle in at a place called Al’s Italian Beef. Words don’t do Al’s Italian Beef justice, I can simply say; Don’t ever, EVER, go to Al’s Italian Beef. Ingest trash, rocks or your own limbs before even considering going. If faced with the option, dying of starvation looks like the better and more satisfying choice. With filled stomachs and angry colons we call our friends and they finally answer
    They live in Wrigleyville, north Chicago, and Brian and I get lost on the way. Eventually we find their street and after that, their apartment. As it turns out they were waiting for us to arrive to eat, ironic because we ate while waiting for them. We hop on the L and ride down to a boring pizza joint. After they eat we walk over to a whiskey biker bar and spend the night catching up, telling jokes and feeling like Chi-town is our town.
    The next day the fellows go out to see the town while I head off to watch football. In the only time zone I’ve ever known (I’ve had short affairs with many others, but Eastern Standard is in my blood) football starts at one. It’s about 12:50 as I’m casually walking to a sports bar when I realize that here, football starts at noon. I break into a sprint trying to find a bar and end up lost on gay street, known to the locals as ‘Boys Town.’ Blocks upon blocks of the rainbow flags fly proudly above every store front and I suddenly feel meat. I have a good basis for this though as I am meat to these queers and I avoid eye contact with the many men who attempt to make eye contact and keep watch of my feet for several blocks away from Boys Town, which happens to be Wrigley field. I find a great sports bar overlooking Wrigley and spend the next few hours cheering incognito for the Redskins as they play and eventually beat the Bears. When I leave and am in the (relative) safety of outdoors (not to the mention the relative safety of a 3 hour beer drinking buzz) I do victory dances and ‘Hail to the Redskins’ chants all the way around Wrigley.
    I call Brian, who acts like a grade-A dickhead about being on the phone with me. He doesn’t really answer the question of when they’ll be back at the apartment, he acts as though I should just sit outside of it with my thumb up my ass till they arrive. In the end I’ll thank him for the callous ambivalence for without it I would have never sdecided to stop at a hole in the wall on a whim and spend the next two hours three sheets to the wind with the most colorful men in all of Chicago.
    The first voice I hear upon entering sounds like ‘Da Super fans’ meets ‘Fargo,’ with a heavy dose of Liquid Courage. “…down the door. Oh, dat guy’s a faucking mama-loq.” Like you, I have no idea what ‘mama-loq’ means, but I can tell it’s not something you want to go and get yourself called, especially not by this guy.
    “Yeah I seen’em last Friday,” another man yells back.
    “Yeah? You won’t be seeing no more cause I’s taking a baseball bat to his faucking head and you know what dat’ll mean for tha fauck!”
    The arch-nemesis of Chicago Bears fans everywhere, the Green Bay Packers, are playing the Detroit Lions on tube above the bar. The Lions receiver drops a touchdown, much to the dismay of a stout shitfaced Asian man, “Nice catch ya faucking bum. Ya faucking bum!”
    The female bartender, who had obviously been telling a story prior to my entrance continues. “And get this, the fucking piece of shit comes walking right by and in the place a week later, so I called the fucking cops on his ass but those pieces of shit don’t get their asses here for like 2 hours.”
    “BUM! Whata faucking bum. Ya bum. Ya faucking bum! BUMMM!!!”
    The first guy pipes back in “ Tha guy-ee’s a faucking piece of shit. Eee’s a faucking mama-loq. And those donut eating, Irish, fauck-a-cops come two hours later withs faucking sprinkles on their faucking faces. Tha faucking twenty-third street douchebags.”
    The Asian man downs a shot and without another word leaves the bar. The first guy gives an inquisical look before taking a pull from his beer. The bartender serves me up and asks what my story is. Bars like this, with people like this, they just assume you’ve got a story or something to say and I’d imagine most people whoose asses meet these bar stools do. I talk about the road trip a bit, drawing interest from all the patrons within earshot. The loud guy introduces himself and starts bending my ear about college football. I nod and say “right” at all the right moments and wish I knew more about college football. Some beers and ‘rights’ later I go to hit the head. In the bathroom I make the classic ‘This water sure feels cold’ joke and with it, earn myself a new best friend. He’s a drunk Irishman who invites me over for drinks on his end of the bar. We drink and drink and talk about the American dream (which, take it from from him, is bullshit and no one will ever be happy) and Brian calls and I drunkenly stumble back still singing ‘Hail to the Redskins.’
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