Posted by: kristabella | January 30, 2008

Because Train Is A Mode Of Travel

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!




Nothing. FAIL.

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.



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?



  1. I have heard that story so many times and never get tired of it….and you HAVE captured it in writing….I’m sitting here laughing out loud even though I know the whole thing by heart!!!!!

  2. Someday I hope to hear this story in person with the faces and gestures to go along with it, it’s awesome!

  3. Oh and double commenting to add, that nearly everyone gives me comment inferiority complexes.

    (see what I did there, give you an extra comment AND whine about my lack of-its a double threat!)

  4. Oh my lord, I have got to go to a baseball game with you! Wanna go to Camden Yards with me this summer? 🙂

  5. a) I heart Wrigley

    b) Did you get reprimanded for trash talking the youth? Because I once saw a guy get a stern talking to from the kindly and elderly attendant for screaming “CHIPPER YOU ARE GAY!” repeatedly during a Braves game. Those attendants take their reprimands very seriously.

    c) I too have had the pleasure of vomiting in a commuter train out of Union Station. Possibly more than once. Maybe even about 11 times on the short ride from downtown to Lake Forest. On a not crowded train. And you can hear EVERYTHING coming out of those bathrooms, so strange looks they did abound. And my sweet husband tried to save face on my behalf by loudly saying “I’m sorry you have such bad morning sickness honey” in a loud voice, even though I was clearly suffering from the hangover from hell after being out drinking till 4am. Good times. I’m glad we share that bond.

  6. That is just too funny. I bet the story is even better in person. 🙂

    At baseball games, I’m always paranoid someone will spill beer all over me. I’ve had it spilled on my arm or leg a few times, though.

    I’ve had mini panic attacks a few times when I thought I locked myself in the bathroom. And, I wasn’t even intoxicated, so I’m not sure what my excuse is for not knowing to “Push” the door open. Heh.

  7. Yikes, I hate it when I push the door the wrong way.

  8. Always luv hearnig this story, and now I can read it anytime I need a laugh. At least there are bathrooms on EL trains. Would have been handy to have one for all those times I needed one on BART and HAD TO HOLD IT IN! 🙂

  9. This may have nothing to do with your post, but seriously: Lost tonight. SO! EXCITED!

    Oh, and yeah, who gets 950 comments on a post? I think I would pass out if that ever happened.

  10. Oh my. I would have LOVED to witness you at the game. I bet it was totally awesome x 4billion.

  11. This is a story that was meant to be in writing. Awesome.

  12. I am in love.

    Any woman that can drink that much, act that stopid, and remember the story enough to make me dam near wet my pants with laughter as I have to go real bad but I cant stop reading it.

    I love belligerent drunks, they are so much fun, its worth buying rounds at the bar for them!

    That was a hoot.

    Yessir, they didnt make many of you, they saw what they did, busted the mold, and made some crazee beatch like Paris Hilton.

  13. OMFG, I just laughed way too loudly in my office…i know they think I’m crazy; “there goes that weird girl, laughing for no reason again”. I definitely would love to hear that story in person…I’d probably pee my pants if that occurred.

  14. Found your site from Melissa over at Hope for the Hopeless – just wanted to say hi!

    And I totally agree – I feel so bad about my poor little blog whenever Dooce opens up comments.

  15. OMG That is so funny! I was laughing so hard and so loud BOTH dogs and my SO just came to check on me. (said it sounded like I was crying??? WTF?) I’d love to hear that story in person some day, that’s a riot.

  16. This is just hilarious. And I have been this drunk. Just not on the El.

  17. Oh my gosh. I swear you are related to me. Okay, that sounds a little strange/stalker-ish, but really, I thought NO ONE had bad luck/mishaps like me. That is greatness!!

  18. I contend that anyone who has ever lived within commuter-train distance of a large city has a puking-on-the-commuter-train story!! It is a rite of passage that I somehow seem to have missed growing up in a car dependent land!!

  19. Hahahaha.. i was laughing hysterically at this one too. Oh man. I have only been drunk a few times, but never on a commuter train. I think I’ll need to add that to my list of ‘things to do’.

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