"You Too" and Stuff...

If it's "a penny for your thoughts" but you have to "put your two cents in", someone is making a penny somewhere.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Hello Winter!

Not only did Winter return this past weekend in the form of big, white flakes, Winter, the crazy Starbucks guy, made a return trip to Illinois.

I received an e-mail from him stating that he was going to be competing in a
Scrabble tournament in Michigan and wanted to get together in Chicago for the weekend. I checked out my calendar and not only was it the last free one until April, but I also discovered that Ani Difranco was going to be playing at the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday night. Winter and I had discussed going to see her together before if the timing was right and this attempt seemed like it would fall together...or would it? I talked to "Amber the Intern" who said that a couple of friends went the an Ani concert last Thursday night in Missouri and the show ended up being cancelled. Would we face the same disappointment? We wouldn't know. It was determined that Winter wouldn't be able to get from Michigan to Chicago in time for the show. It didn't help matters that I have a major fear of driving into the city of Chicago itself. I'm not the most cautious driver, but mix that with a city full of non-attentive drivers and there is bound to be some loud screeching followed by some crashing noises...

I have a cousin who lives in Tinley Park so I decided that I would go see her place and spend the day shopping with her until Winter arrived. Her sister went with me, often clenching her teeth and grabbing the dashboard, as I drove. What is usually a 3 hour drive turned out to only take a little over 2 hours in my Neon. We arrived to Gale's safely. After the color returned to Amy's face, we decided to get to the shopping right away. If there is one thing that we learned from our mothers, it was how to shop. Orland Park was great! Shopping everywhere! We hit the mall for a while and then stopped at a fantastic restaurant/brewery,
Harrison's. The wait was certainly worth it. It was profound to go to a brewery and not sample their wares. Not being a beer drinker and after asking the waitress 8 million questions about their brews, I decided on a cherry beer. It was amazing! Besides the fact that it had actual cherries floating in the bottom of the glass, it was sweet and tasted just like...well, cherries.

I met up with Winter later that night. His original intentions of coming to the Chicago area weren't actually to visit me at all. There was a filmmaker who was making a documentary of his journeys and they both desperately wanted me to be a part of it. Bill, the filmmaker, was going to meet Winter in Chicago and then follow him around to get some footage. I was, and still am, having hesitations about the documentary. I was/am nervous about how I was going to be portrayed and, more importantly, how Winter was going to be portrayed. Not everyone has necessarily been fascinated or intrigued by his project. I think that it's hard for people to understand that this isn't just a "project" for Winter anymore, it's a lifestyle. His jobs, his relationships, his purchases, all revolve around his goal of visiting all of the Starbucks in the world. I'm certain that he'd get press from the film, but at the same time, I knew that he would also receive a lot of criticism. He is used to being razzed in the past by people challenging him, but I was not. I'm used to living my simple, semi-private life in Illinois. I'm not so sure that I would be able to brush everything off as easily as Winter and I am always thinking about long term effects. What Winter calls "stubborn", I call "safe." Stay tuned for more documentary info later...for now you can watch a
trailer for the film, which is to be released sometime next year.

On Sunday morning, I quickly learned, and I should have known from past experience, that I wasn't about to hang out in my PJs when Winter is around. When Winter needs Starbucks, he needs Starbucks. We met Gale and Amy at
Wheatfield's. They had been building it up as home of the "double yolk egg" so we couldn't pass up the opportunity. Let it now be said though that I would gladly take a Cracker Barrel over a Wheatfield's any day. When Winter and I sat down at our table, the waitress asked us if we wanted coffee and we both replied that we didn't. She then asked Winter, "You don't like coffee?" Heh...I laughed at her...and then apologized. If she only knew... The waitress obviously thought that the water I was drinking wasn't going to be enough for me so she pressured me into getting the fresh-squeezed OJ...not the best at all, even if they did serve it in a small martini glass. I decided to go with the stuffed french toast, also not the best. I left Wheatfield's disappointed...and a little hungry.

Gale and Amy are both teachers and they headed back to Gale's apartment to grade papers while I went into the city with Winter. He drove of course. However, the traffic in the city was non-existent. I could've easily handled it, but then again, it was a Sunday afternoon. Winter made a few stops for Starbucks. If you have checked out his site, you'll see that he doesn't like to travel with other people because they get tired and want to do "touristy" stuff. That's me. Starbucks is great and I love to see him get so excited and go through the rituals, but Starbucks is...well...Starbucks. After we've traveled for a while, we usually get to a certain point where Winter will let me choose what I want to do. I know that he absolutely hates every choice that I make, but appreciate the fact that he's willing to go along with it. Even though, he does tend to complain throughout. This day I decided that I wanted to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. I had been there a few months ago when I was in Chicago to see Xian's terracotta soldiers, but had run out of time when it came to
Science and Industry. I had thought that parking at the museum had been free. When we descended into the parking lot, we saw a sign stating that it wasn't free at all. In fact, it was ridiculously expensive. We opted to find some free parking on the street. The closest we came was a few blocks away from the museum. It wasn't far, but a nice walk none-the-less. I had been hopeful for spring weather that weekend and decided to wear sandals. It was cold outside and a little windy, I wasn't nearly as chilly as Winter was. He practically ran from the car to the museum.

When we got inside, there was a line like I had never seen before. The museum had already been open for an hour and there had to have been a thousand people in line. We had limited time before I had to join up with Gale and Amy again so it was obvious that we weren't going to make it into the museum. As we began the trek back to the car, Winter just took off running. I was used to his erratic and spontaneous activities so I just went with it. As I walked alone, I passed an apartment building where I was asked by a couple of guys if I wanted to join them for lunch. I kept walking and saw Winter's car coming to pick me up.

We headed back to Tinley Park and had some time to kill so we decided to take a stab at a second breakfast at
"The Egg & I", a title that was difficult to figure out from the street. The sign was like a little rebus, but Winter figured it out first. Winter is addicted to biscuits and I thought that those would certainly make up for the failed trip to the museum. I know that he hates to waste any amount of time so I'm sure that as we walked from the museum back to the car, he tallied in his head how many Starbucks he could've visited in that amount of time that we just wasted. I ordered an omelette because it seemed like the thing to do at a restaurant with the word "egg" in the title. Of course, the waitress came back to tell Winter that they were out of biscuits and he would have to settle for buttered wheat toast.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to swtich cars and say our good-byes, something that always makes me a little sad. While I go back to my boring repetitive work days, Winter is on to another exciting adventure. Winter and I usually have a good time together so I hate that we only had a few hours to spend together. There was talk of meeting up again for our birthdays in St. Louis...we'll see what happens.

I met back up with Amy and we headed for home. I had a date with my mom to watch the Academy Awards like we do every year...the Academy Awards aren't something that you can just Tivo... On our way back, Amy and I spotted a retro-candy shop that was going out of business so I stocked up on the sweet stuff and headed for Springfield, in the rain, without the Winter.


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