You know who you look like?

I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago, so now I must regale you with tales aplenty. I left work early on Friday so that I could get on the road for the lengthy drive to the Windy City. I left my husband with a detailed document explaining how to care for his child while I was gone.  For whatever reason (my theory is that I have been appointed certain duties solely based on the fact that I have a uterus), I do all of the lunch-packing, homework-signing, backpack-packing, outfit-picking, etc. for our child. So, I trusted that he could handle everything (since he had written instructions) and hit the road with a clear conscience.

Since it's late April, naturally I hit a bunch of snow on my drive. I stopped at a Trader Joe's along the way to pick up some snacks for me and Rachel to share. She was already in Chicago - she got there a day ahead of me. In addition to bringing fruit and snacks, she also asked me to bring her a stamped envelope so that she could pay the speeding ticket she had acquired in Pennsylvania.

After leaving Trader Joe's, I spent another hour or so in the car when I started hitting some tolls. After paying the first one, I had no more cash so I took an exit in order to get some moolah. I decided it was best not to run the tolls - I'm pretty sure The Man frowns on that. After stopping at the bank, I realized I needed to use the ladies' room. Also, the snow was picking up and, as I got closer to Chicago, the traffic was getting worse.  So, I decided to stop at an Uno's Pizza to use the bathroom and grab an adult beverage at the bar.

It was around 5:00 on Friday afternoon when I got there. The bar wasn't crowded, so I took a seat on the end and flipped through a Chicago newspaper as I sipped a glass of Merlot. I knew I could only have one since of course I was driving and whatnot.  I was also watching the news on the TV hanging behind me, as the whole Boston terrorist hunt was coming to a head at that time.

It didn't take long for me to notice two guys to my left, on the other side of the square-shaped bar. One, a quiet bearded guy, seemed okay and the other, a balding, gold chain-wearing sort of guy, appeared to be fully inebriated. (What time does someone have to start drinking to be completely plowed by only 5 p.m?) The drunk one was loud.  He yelled across the bar to a woman on the right side of the bar, sitting directly across from him. They were talking about baseball or something. Eventually, she got up and left, so he turned his attention to me. I could tell he was trying to make eye contact with me, so I resisted. See, had he been funny or clever or even nice, my tolerance would've been a lot higher. But, he was shouting nonsense at the restaurant staff and just being an ass in general. I heard him ask the male bartender no fewer than six times, "So, how you doin'?" The female bartender got her share of comments as well. 

Finally, I made the mistake of glancing up from the newspaper and made eye contact. "Hey!" he yelled at me. "You know who you look like?"

Now, I've been an unwilling player in the "You know who you look like?" game before, so this was nothing new. I've been told I look like some chick on a soap opera, Cleopatra, and famous people that I don't resemble even remotely.  My theory is that since my appearance (fair skin and dark hair) is a bit different from the norm, there is some sort of compulsion to classify me in some way. I gave him a tight-lipped smile and waited.

"You look like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction!" He turned to his friend and asked him to confirm his diagnosis. I nodded and looked away. I wasn't offended because Uma Thurman looks great in that movie if you ask me. Well, maybe not the scene where she ODs and gets a syringe plunged directly into her heart, but you know what I mean.

Just then, the female bartender walked by to serve a table that was behind me. She smiled at me. "Excuse me," I said. "Um, you know the guy at the bar is a dick, right?"

She nodded. "Yes, but he's a regular."

Oh. Being a regular = okay to be a douchecanoe. Gotcha. I finished my drink much faster than I had intended, hopped off my barstool, and headed to the door.  The bartender followed me and whispered, "Sorry!" to me.  I felt bad for her. She must have to put up with that guy every Friday (or maybe even daily).

When I was in high school and college, my stad worked at an Irish Pub in Alexandria, Virginia. Murphy's had its share of regulars. However, I don't remember any of them being like the Uno's guy. Hell, some of the regulars from Murphy's even came to my high school graduation party held at our home. There was Bea, the nice lesbian from Puerto Rico. There was Joanne, the cranky but well-meaning old broad who always sat in the same spot. I remember Ernest, an elderly gentleman who shuffled down to Murphy's to drink exactly one pint and then shuffled back up the street to his home. Mildred was a harmless wackadoo who claimed to have dated Elvis ("Priscilla would get so mad!" she would say). If you're going to be a regular at a joint, at least try to be eccentric or even just vaguely interesting, for cryin' out loud. The guy at Uno's betrayed quirky barflies everywhere.

Anyway, I got back on the road and then sat in traffic all the way to Chicago. Good times!  At around 7:00 I landed at the home of some friends who were letting me park in their 'hood during my visit. Parking in Chicago runs around $50.00 per day and since I didn't need my car during my trip, I was willing to do just about anything to avoid spending that much money.  Fortunately, Kate and Carl have parking available in their neighborhood. Carl even offered to drive me to my hotel. 

I made it to the hotel by around 8:00 and was reunited with my long-time friend. She gave me an awesome gift.  This thing:

We went out for Thai food and then went swimming in the hotel pool.  Stay tuned for more Chicago adventures of "The Women Who Abandoned Their Families and Didn't Feel Even Vaguely Guilty About It" tomorrow.


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