(Part 2… the saga continues)
Our plans were to take the train into the city and I headed over to old neighborhood for a prompt 9:00 AM arrival. Along the way, I decided to stop off at the local Walgreens to grab a Rockstar energy drink to get the engine running full stride for this early Saturday morning. I pulled up to Pete’s house and waited a few moments as I was certain there would be no way he and Tom weren’t promptly ready to roll for the big showdown.
The garage door rose slowly with its dull hum subtly breaking the early morning silence. Pete proudly walked out of the garage proudly sporting the Cub’s jeresey and hat. He’d asked if I’d been waiting long but I told him I pretty much just arrived after having stopped off for the energy boost. Shortly thereafter, another garage door awakened with it’s equally dull hum two doors down across the street. Tom emerged with his trademark smile strutting slowly sporting his crisp White Sox jeresey. Pete and I walked over to discuss logistics prior to heading toward the train station. The first order of the day was Pete and Tom’s desire to stock up on a couple of 24 ounce Monster energy drinks and to fill up an empty water bottle with… well… you know… “water”. As Tom was placing the “water” source bottle back in the freezer, Kevin pulled quickly into his driveway ready to go.
We all loaded into my car and were off to the train station, stopping along the way for big vat cans of Monster drink. As we drove along the joking and razzing began to peak early as the spirit of the morning began to take hold. We arrived at the train station with a few minutes to spare, purchased a block of round-trip tickets and headed out to await the arrival of the 9:30 AM train. We were far from the only Naperville residents with the same Wrigleyville plans for the day.
Prominently displayed posters announced that alcoholic beverages and containers were prohibited on the train. With great relief, I was glad to see that our crew was only drinking Monster energy beverages. Strangely though, there must have been too much carbonation in the drink as Pete and Tom kept adding “water” to the screw-top 24 ounce bottles. I was certain the guys would have plenty of “energy” for the long day. Energy… check.
I think the energy drink worked better at a higher altitude as we decided to settle into the the remote corner seats on the top level of the train. Even more, we wanted to make sure nobody saw our cans of Monster energy drink as they may have become insanely jealous because we had lots of energy and they didn’t.
The train filled quickly and as we awaited our more direct shot into town from the last pickup, Tom proceeded to regale us with a story of misfortune regarding a co-worker who was recently fired for a series of recent customer service interactions during a pickup in Lincoln Park. Let is suffice to say, the way in which Tom brought the story to life complete with a pristine reinactment of a series of rather unorthidox sign language gestures used by his fallen co-worker had us on the floor laughing. It really makes us realize that we are truly one world when it comes to universally understood hand gestures combining repeated motions and facial coordination for effect. We would fallback on the story at many points throughout the day to rekindle the unrestrained laughter.
As fellow fans standing below in the aisle slowly nursed their beers on the alcohol-free train, Kevin came to the realization that he had consumed far too many fluids throughout the morning and set out to locate the tiny onboard facilities. He didn’t get far as no sooner did he head down the steps than he re-emerged up to the second level for a cautious walk back down the aisle to our seats. The excruciating wait would have to continue to Union Station.
We arrived at Union Station and felt our own sense of great relief for Kevin as his time was near. We headed up the escalators, past the Cinnabons and Beach of Burrito fare to the restrooms. As we turned the corner, Kevin’s could sense the long wait coming to a comforting end; however, his anxious grin turned to disbelief as the line had already formed. The good news is everyone made it in and out without accident and, as a matter of fact, yet another humorous story was discovered with the restroom.
Pete, who had anxiously scorned the obstructive detour on our journey toward Jackson Street, walked out ahead at deliberate pace up the escalators, out the door and down Jackson Street as a light rain began to fall. Given our determined pace and rainy denial as we headed toward the red line, I joked that it was merely condensation blowing off of rooftop high-rise units rather than rain. The denial worked as this would be the last of the raindrops we would see for the day.
Finally, we turned the corner and headed down into the subway with the rain’s final curtain call safely behind us. Once on the train, it was time to continue the Monster energization process. Even more, it was time to re-visit the story of Tom’s now former co-worker and this time an unsuspecting passenger standing up was welcomed into the involuntary circle of trust to hear the story. Tom has this knack for making fast friends and by the end of this story, there were will be a number of newfound friendships welcomed into the involuntary circle of trust on this day of cross-town rivalry.
Alas, as Tom rounded out the story the train emerged from the subterranean tunnel and low and behold we found ourselves passing through the actual site where the fable of the downtrodden co-worker took place along the DePaul University campus in Lincoln Park. A few more stops, and the screeching train came to a stop at the familiar, and now sun-drenched, Addison station. We had finally arrived at Wrigley Field at full energy boost.
(To Be Continued… Stay Tuned for Part 3)