Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chicago - Part II

My kind of town
At home making biscuits and gravy.

At the Friendly Confines with my brother Sam

I’m having a little touch of homesickness at the moment. A buddy of mine Blake posted up on Facebook that he just made an open faced omelet. I started dreaming of all the delicious breakfast foods I miss like a feta and spinach omelets with buttered English muffins, eggs benedict, my homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. Then I started dreaming of the breakfast buffet at Stanley’s on Armitage and Lincoln in Chicago, a delicious southern-style spread complete with chicken and waffles. So I decided to take a virtual walk through the city streets of Chicago using the street view function on Google maps. There’s Stanley’s! Damn that place is good!

Here’s my old neighborhood and I’m walking down Broadway on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. There’s the Melrose – open 24 hours for your late night snacking needs and its delicious Gypsies. There’s the Lakeview Athletic Club. I’d be sweating my ass off in a spinning or body pump class at this exact moment on a Saturday. Across the street, Specialty Video with its great selection of all kinds of videos. I’m told the gay porn section is the best in town but I wouldn’t know anything about that. The Chicken Hut – quarter chicken with potato salad and a Sierra Mist please. There’s Brendan’s Pub, one of my favorite watering holes owned by a Bostonian. Down further, Intelligentsia coffee house where I spent many hours studying for my CSP and CHMM exams amongst hipsters, artists, and yuppies. There’s the West Coast Video that closed down some time ago because it had a shitty selection and smelled like cheese. They were building out a Greek steakhouse when I left. It sounded delicious, wonder how it is. There’s where the Dominick’s used to be until it burned to the ground one Sunday afternoon. I watched it burn from the deck of Monsignor Murphy’s across the street.

And here’s Murphy’s – my favorite watering hole. It sounds bad but most of my social life revolved around that place from the first time I went in there and Kenny served me up a Murphy’s Irish Stout until I left. There I met Susan. There I randomly ran into my good friend Chris Albu after having lost contact with him. There I met Albu’s friends Greg and Kenny who are now my dear friends. There I met Sexy Johnny, Adam, Ali and the rest of the crew. There I revived my career as a softball pitcher. There I had my going away party before coming to Peru. All my friends from my different walks of life were there to see me off - my basketball team, my co-workers, my friends from the neighborhood, my friends I made through Albu. Great, sometimes fuzzy, memories there at Murphy’s.

Let’s go check out the lake on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. Here’s Lincoln Park and the driving range that I hooked, sliced, topped and otherwise badly hit golf balls. There’s the field where our softball team would have “spring training” with its mud holes and lesbian rugby players tackling each other nearby. Here’s Belmont Harbor where old fat rich guys hang out on their fly-ass boats with hot gold diggers in teeny bikinis. Here’s the lakefront trail where I’d run or ride my bike in the evenings and on weekends.

Gotta go to Wrigleyville. I’m walking down Clark and here’s Sluggers where we’d go have “batting practice” before Cubs games with a couple of Old Styles served up by the other Sexy Johnny or but’erface. Now I’m standing in front of 1060 West Addison, home of my beloved Cubs, the Friendly Confines. Today there’s a 1:20 game against the lowly Pirates whom they can’t seem to beat this year. It’s 11 am but the streets are teaming with Cubs fans and Cubs drunks. You can feel the energy in the air even though the game doesn’t start for a couple of hours yet. I walk up under the marquis and look for “The Brick”, Albu’s tribute to his wedding day on 7/7/07. Chicago’s song “Saturday in the Park” going through my head.

I don’t know where I’ll be when this whole Peace Corps thing is over but know this Chicago, no matter where I end up you will always have a special place in my heart. I love you and I miss you dearly.


  1. Remember that time we were at Murphy's and Krissa said "You wanna see something funny?" and then punched Albu dead in the junk? Classic! I know what you mean having been away from home for 6 years for school. But you know what, all of those people you miss, it will take about five minutes to get caught up on everything you missed while you are away. Two weeks after I was home it was like i never left, which was the worst part.