Well, apparently my little experiment went over quite well yesterday. I think that’s a comment record. It’s why I wish Dooce would have never opened comments up. Talk about an inferiority complex. Does she even read past comment 450? Who gets 950 comments? That’s ridonkulous.
But it has made me get to thinking, and it will be a weekly feature. And stay tuned for brackets. And the Gag-Inducing round.
So as I’m catching up on my feed reader (I was at just about 350 last night and now I’m back up over 400. You people write a lot), I noticed that there is a contest going on.
So The Hotfessional, Laurel and Sonia are having a contest where we are to share our worst travel stories. And since Hotfessional travels a lot and (I think) originally found me from a rant about Northwest Airlines, she is the expert. I’m pretty sure mine will win no prizes, but it is a story that is legendary in Kristabella circles. And at the very least, you’ll laugh out loud. (Quite a few of you have heard the in-person version, so please let me know how this stacks up.)
And if you don’t laugh? You apparently have no soul.
I always told myself I would save this story for the book I write one day. But seeing as I have, oh, about ZERO words written of this phantom book, I can no longer keep this story from the interweb.
(I’m pumping it up so that maybe I’ll get a sympathy vote or two. Or maybe I can promise to buy Hotfessional some wine next month when she’s here.)
Back when I was living in California, I came back to Chicago in the summer for all my vacations. Since no one ever came out to visit me. In six years. But that’s neither here nor there.
On a trip back home in 2000, I planned on going to a Cubs game. Since I only came home once in the summer (since summer in the NFL ends right after 4th of July), I ALWAYS went to at least one Cubs game. It was my one and only chance to hit up Wrigley. And drink Old Style.
This particular game was a weekday afternoon game. Since most of my friends have jobs, I coerced my friend Darcie into joining me at the game. Since she is a teacher and had nothing better to do. And one day away from the bon bons wasn’t going to kill her. The only stipulation was that she had some sort of thing she had to be at that evening around 6:30. Which was plenty of time to drink, drink, eat a hot dog and drink some more.
It was a really hot, humid summer afternoon in Chicago. We took the train down early to insure adequate drinking time. We took the train downtown, since we were both in the ‘burbs at the time. And bonus because my mom’s apartment was across the street from the train station. So I didn’t have to set foot into an automobile.
We drank and drank and drank pre-game at some local watering hole around Wrigley. There wheres and whens are of no interest in this story. Plus the Old Style has killed off those details from my brain. After plenty of libations at Murphy’s or Sluggers or some place with BEER, we headed over to the Mecca that is known as Wrigley Field. Our seats were not good. They were in one of the last few rows in the upper deck. And by this point, I was not caring. Except for the fact that it was a longer walk to the bathroom.
I’d like to point out that earlier in the
morning day while at a bar, it had rained a little. For those of you used to humidity, this is normal. It get so God damned humid that it rains for a second, you love life again, and then POOF! The rain disappears as magically as it came. And now it is even muggier. If that is EVEN POSSIBLE!
So we get up to our seats and are actually thankful for the upper deck and the overhang. Because our seats are dry. So we become one with the green plastic chairs and immediately summon the beer guy. As any normal Cubs fan does. It’s hot, it is summer, I’m on vacation and do I really need an excuse to have a beer?
The game goes on. The beer vendor and I become quite close. He’s selling Old Style Export Light. I joke, LOUDLY, to everyone around us that “this stuff is so bad that they can’t get people to drink it here so they have to export it out of the country.” Or serve it to Cubs fans.
I’m much funnier in writing.
As you can see, the beers, they are a-flowing. At some point, as I’m sitting in my seat, I lean forward a bit, elbows on my knees, beer in hand. For SOME reason (humidity), the glass slips out of my hand and drops. All over the back of the girl in front of me.
I apologize profusely. Because well, beer at Wrigley isn’t cheap. And because, well, she might be 11 and she might be with her grandparents.
I move on and flag down another beer. The past is the past. It is time to move on. There are more beers to be had.
But Girl in front of me cannot. GET. OVER. IT. She keeps looking for napkins and not leaning back in her seat. Staying as far away from me and my beer as possible. Like I’d do that again.
So I get mad. Because I’m an irrational drunk person and have I mentioned it is HOT outside? And heat makes me cranky. So I begin TRASH-TALKING with a pre-teen girl at a baseball game with her GRANDPARENTS. Because this girl? She still had her rain coat on (which must have been like wearing a plastic suit in a sauna). So she wasn’t even WET. Roll your eyes at someone who CARES, Girly.
Which is what I decided needed to be said OUT LOUD to everyone around me. Nothing is awesomer than a drunk, fat girl harassing a kid. Let me tell you.
A few innings go by. I’m done with Attitude McEyeRollyPants and her relatives. I’ve moved on. To more beers. At this time, I realize, it is time to use the facilities. Because I need to drain the tank. So I head down the stairs to the bathroom. Note to people who have never been to Wrigley before: there aren’t handrails in the upper deck. I think they do it on purpose to watch drunk people fall.
I think you know where I’m going with this.
On my way down the stairs, I slip on grime that has been there since the last time the Cubs won the pennant that has gotten “moist” with the humidity and spilled beer, and slide, on my ass, down some stairs. I bounce back up like a champion and look to my section. “I’m OK,” I wave to them. They
wave laugh back.
I marvel to myself, on my way to the bathroom, about my new-found celebrity and I think I quite like it. I am the star of that section. They wouldn’t have nearly as much fun if I wasn’t there. Who else would have made witty comments about beer?
Still smiling, I relieve myself and head back to our seats. But not before stopping off for another beer. Because it’s almost last call and I haven’t changed one bit. I still try to cram as much beer into one baseball game as humanly possible. Plus, I know there will be no partying at local drinking establishments after the game because Darcie has to get back. And we need to get on the train right after the game.
So the Cubs win. They come from behind, or something. It is all very exciting. I high-five it with everyone that comes in my path. Yes, I was that fan who was asking for high fives like it was my job.
We make it back to the EL and head on downtown to get back on the train. At this point, it’s about 4:30 or so in the afternoon. On a weekday. During rush hour. We make it onto the red line and I manage to stay awake long enough to get us to Union Station. We have to run once we’re in the vicinity because we can’t miss our train. And I’m moving a tad slowly like I’m underwater, what with all the alcohol I’ve consumed. Add to that all the heat and humidity and the Export Light that is mixing around in my belly in a bad way.
Finally, with much running and tugging from Darcie, we both get on the train back out to suburbia. Since it is rush hour and the train is PACKED, we aren’t sitting together. I’m fine with that because at this time, all I want to do is sleep on the shoulder of the stranger next to me.
And then the train starts moving. And I realize there is a reason why Old Style exports that shit out of the country. And why 13 beers in the sun and heat and humidity is never a good idea.
At this point, I decide my best course of action is to make it the bathroom. It’s best for all parties involved on a PACKED train. I find said bathroom and I close the door and lock myself in.
I will spare you the disgusting details of this commuter train bathroom, but let’s just say it probably hadn’t been cleaned since the Carter administration. But I feel I’m going to be sick and as the considerate drunk I am (when not spilling beer ALL OVER YOU) I plan to do it in a place that already smells like it’s been vomited on twenty times over.
I do my business and decide it is time to get back out into the main cabin. I am only going about 25 miles out of Chicago, so this train ride isn’t more than an hour. And Darcie gets off at an earlier stop than I do, and, even in my drunk state, I know I need to make sure she gets off at the right place and arrives safely at her destination.
So I pull myself up off the floor of the bathroom, quite a feat in itself, and move towards the door. I unlock the door and give it a tug.
“Heh heh heh,” I giggle to myself out loud. “It must still be locked. Heh.”
So I move the latch back the other way and PULL!
FLIP LATCH! FLIP LATCH! FLIP LATCH!
At this point, I’m out of options (clearly they’ve ALL been exhausted). So what do I do? I come up with the best solution to this predicament. I decide to take a nap. On the toilet seat. In the DIRTY BATHROOM!
What seems like hours later, I wake up and I hear them call out a stop right before Darcie’s. And I decide that I must get out of this bathroom. NOW! I have no choice! I can’t be stuck in here forever! Think of the diseases!
So I go about my routine again.
FLIP LATCH! FLIP LATCH! FLIP LATCH!
Nothing. FAIL. Times 2.
But this time, I mean business. I put my foot up on the wall to brace myself and pull with ALL. MY. MIGHT.
Finally the sea parts and in a rare moment of drunken clarity, a light bulb goes off in my head. And I realize “hey, I think I’ve got it!”
So I unlock the door and then this time? I PUSH.
VIOLA! The door opens. And two women just stare at me, right outside the bathroom, no doubt wondering what the hell I had just been doing in there for the last 40 minutes. And how on Earth I was making all that racket.
When I make it back to my seat next to Darcie, she says “I was wondering what happened to you.” But clearly not enough to check on me.
The train stops, Darcie gets off at her stop and I go on my merry way all alone. I make it to my stop, get off, walk across four lanes of rush-hour traffic on a busy street, making sure to follow the SOBER people who would hopefully not lead me to my death, and head back to my mom’s place. And proceed to pass out on the couch, even before she’s made it home from work for the day. And I stay in that position, mostly, until the next morning.
So as you can see, traveling horror stories don’t always involve delayed flights, lost luggage or crying babies. Sometimes they are horrible drunken journeys between the rails with the fear of dying in a Ebola-infested bathroom that you’ve seemingly locked yourself in. And all logical thought left behind at the ballpark hours before.
So, ladies, where’s my prize?