Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Shoes

Two things about this post:

1) I'm going to take the long way 'round Brown's barn to get to the shoes and
2) I'm going to curse. A lot. Power cursing, if you will. If this will offend you, go away. Go away, now.

The gist: I almost gave up on running today because I got lost trying to get to the shoe store in the city I've lived in for the past 16 years.

If you live in Chicago, you don't really need to know where you're going: the Lake is east, and then you figure everything else out based on tall buildings (Hancock is north; Sears, now Willis, Tower is south-ish, etc.). For 16 years, I've gotten where I've needed to go based on those facts, kind cabbies and my God-given street smarts [insert bawdy laugh here for anyone that knows about my street smarts].

Well, today, I got fucked. I got fucked bad.

Here's the deal: I've been to this store before. Like, at least three times. So I left the house, with my kids and a general idea of where I needed to be.

It took me 1.5 hours to get someplace that should have taken me 25 minutes to get to.  

That's how lost I was.  

At some point, I pulled over and typed the address into my Smart Phone. I seemed to be in the vicinity.  But the Smart Phone made me go in the opposite direction I was headed, without telling me about the series of one-way streets I was getting involved in: one-way streets that dumped me out onto those wretched Chicago diagonal intersections, many of which wouldn't let me turn the way I needed to go.

Two more things:

1) My Crock Pot is waaaayyy smarter than my Smart Phone.
2) What asshole came up with those six corner intersections? Was that Burnham? Was that part of his fucking plan? Burnham can fuck himself, if that was his deal.

Back to being lost...

I kept trying to work with the phone to let it know that while I'm still planning on going to the same destination, I am now in a new starting place, so I need a new plan.

It just didn't work. It simply wasn't working. The Smart Phone wouldn't have it.

My end point on the map -- that little red dot -- wasn't on the street where my destination actually was. And I checked to make sure I entered in the right street. It was a mess. Because I'm getting flustered, something else keeps happening: I keep stalling the car. Nothing makes my foot slide off that clutch like trying to read a tiny map.

I pulled over again to try and figure out where I actually was, without killing oodles of innocent pedestrians or stalling out the car one more time.

And then the phone froze up and shot back some retarded message about being unable to something-something.

"YOU COCKSUCKER!" I yelled as loudly as I could. Then I slammed my so-called-smart-phone three solid times into the steering wheel.

Did I tell you my kids were with me?

I guess my phone won't be wringing off the hook for playdates now, will it?

I get back on the road. For some reason the blue line and dot on my phone seem to be moving in a legit direction towards the red dot. I have a renewed sense of hope.

I get to an intersection that looks familiar, but can't see the sign. Rather than making a risky decision with a turn, I continue straight. Straight into some kind of third world industrial corridor called the Clybourn Triangle. 

I start to cry. I swear a little more. As I'm driving over railroad tracks, in between lines of parked tractor trailers and one moving bulldozer, I hear my little guy say, "Is that a dump"?

They were not good times.
On this road to nowhere, I see to my left (and I don't know where the fucking lake is at this point) a street sign that says "Clybourn".  I'm where I need to be. I get to the intersection and turn right. I am under the impression that I'm going the right way, until I've headed into the notorious public-housing project, Cabrini-Green (Cabrini Green was the setting for the 70's sitcom, Good Times).

More violent swearing. More left hand turns.  I am back on Clybourn. And I'm seriously considering just texting my coach and telling her I'm out. That's it. Done. No shoes. No run club. No running. Fuck this. Fuck ALL of this. Can't. Go. On.

Within two minutes, I was in front of the store.

My children were very, very quiet once I started having my breakdown. After I got into a parking space, which included more swearing and a completely illegal U-turn, I looked back at the kids and said, "Listen. This may take a few minutes, so I need you both to be calm."

Can you believe I said that to them? I was like some kind of strung out meth addict for the last 45 minutes of that trip, and I had the balls to tell them to be calm?

The guy in the store was fantastic. He looked like he just got off his surfboard -- I mean, he was blonde with blue eyes and wasn't stupid by any means, but had the trip to the shoe store not been so traumatizing, this post might have been called, "Spicoli Sold Me Shoes."

These are my new shoes:

They are much shinier than my crock pot.


  1. Those shoes look fast.

    As bad as it sounds, reading about your horrible excursion made my day a little bit better. (That's high praise, believe me.)

    P.s. - all the cursing? This blog is edgy...

    (Good to know I'm not the only one to bust out and curse like a sailor occasionally.)

  2. The shoes are awesome -- way lighter than my old pair and a better fit, for sure. I ran better last night than I thought I would (I've not been running for real for months). I think it was 40% shoes and 60% that our coach was running with us and when she sets her tempo, we all go faster!