My Kind of Town

I’m in Chicago, and it is not warm here. When we deplaned, my teeth tried retreat into my gums for warmth. Now I know why so many fur activists seem to live in California.

Our hotel room has a sign for the door that says I’m sleeping, or working on my flying machine! I never thought a Do Not Disturb sign would make me feel inadequate for napping.

Fun trip. My cousin married a Boy Scout troop leader; I fell down a flight of basement stairs in Toledo without breaking any bones; then I drove to Chicago where I met most of the 37 Signals crew–all of whom are as smart and fun in person as they are on screen.

The highlight of the trip was my drive from Cincinnati to Chicago. Indiana radio… how can I say this tactfully?… bites monkey butt. If I hear “I Hope You Dance” one more time, I’m going to find Lee Ann Womac and exchange a few of my own affirmational phrases with her. And who can forget Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam’s “Head to Toe”? Apparently not the Indiana DJs, because I haven’t heard that gem as much since 1987.

But there were a few things I’ll always cherish about the Midwest:

  • Restaurants called Beef and Brandy.
  • Lewd camera poses with Bob’s Big Boy statues.
  • The woman in a denim top with a matching bunny-print denim bag.
  • Seven Bucks for a steak, and Krispy Kreme Lemon-filled donuts.
  • The way natives say “Chicahgoh.”

I’m home now, which means that I’d have to search long and hard for a country music station on the radio, and I can talk smack about American cars in crowded restaurants without getting the crap kicked out of me.

12:03 p.m.

Someone once said that Toledo sounds like something winged monkeys would sing. And it does, “Toh-lee-DOH, weeeoh-WHUM.” Every corner that doesn’t have an Applebees or a Perkins has a funeral parlor. Two brief Ohio related conversations I had with Fred, who is a certifiable Toledo resident:

Me: Rudy’s Hot Dogs. Oh, my God. That place only serves hot dogs?

Fred: No, they also have omlettes.

Fred: So I’ve already taken some hassling because the new truck’s an import.

Me: What? Please. [I look around the restaurant and whisper:] American cars are crap.

Fred: You know you’re in the Midwest when you have to say that in hushed tones.

Now I’m in Chicago. The humidity is such that I don’t need to rewet my contacts. It’s like heaven, except with more toll booths.

10:30 a.m.