Slice of Life, Travels

PokemonGo Fest – Chicago 2019 – Day 1

I left work at 1am, my flight departed at 5.30am. Plenty of time for showering, grabbing my things, and piling into my lyft. The lyft guy then proceeded to get on my case about how the address was wrong. “Well, I manually entered it, so I don’t know what happened.” I looked on my phone to confirm, “Yep, this is my address.” Then I had to apologize to him for him getting lost? I’m so done with apologizing for other people.

Even so, I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. So much extra time, in fact, that I learned TSA doesn’t open until about 4.30am. Y’Learn something every day, y’all. I was the first in line with a young man behind me who had two military style duffle bags packed to bursting, an overstuffed backpack, and a messenger bag surrounding him. “Wow, it looks like you’ve got your whole life packed up,” I joked after we bantered about accents for a few minutes.

“Actually, I do,” he laughed and told me how he was relocating from Memphis to New York City. The lines finally opened up, we separated to check our bags, and I wished him a safe flight. Naturally, my flight was at the last gate in the farthest concourse. I didn’t worry, as I had at least an hour and I had some last-minute work emails to send to keep me occupied.

“You again, huh?” The young man came across the row to sit beside me, now unburdened by the whole army surplus store from earlier. We were the only two in the terminal, so I laughed big. “I thought I ditched you at check-in?”

“Yeah, I got a connection in Chicago, so looks like we can hang out a little while longer. So how about this, you keep working and I’ll go find us some coffee.”

“Oh, I’ll go with you.”

“No, I got it; it’s not a big deal. You work and watch our bags. What can I get you?”

Now this part is a little shameful, I’m poor to admit. My immediate thought was, What does he want from me? Because that’s how my brain works in our current cultural climate. My second thought was less assuming, but just as harsh, You should offer him money, as I know you’re a basic bitch and you’re about to ask this man for two drinks. Don’t take advantage of this beautiful man. “Uh, so yeah. I always order two drinks: mocha frapp and a regular coffee?” He tilted his head at me. “One’s for business and one’s for pleasure. Can I just go with you? That’s a bit too much to ask for.”

He laughed, refused, and wrote down my order with a quick, “I’ll be right back.”

Turns out this young man worked at a competing retail warehouse, and he used our hour together to rail me about it. He showed me his 15 minutes of tv fame, he was a co-star on the first season of some Bravo/Spike/MTV long distance dating show? I’ve already forgotten the details, but you get the gist. This guy was a riot, and I’ve never had a more entertaining time in an airport.

We boarded, him just a few passengers ahead of me.

We sat on the same row, preferring our familiarity to any of the other weirdos on the nearly empty flight. We could’ve sat on a row entirely our own, but I’m glad we were just one seat apart. “Because,” as he pointed out, “if this thing goes down, it’d be nice to not be alone about it.” He napped while I read and made sure he got his complimentary in-flight beverage and snack. It was the best flight I’ve ever experienced.

After landing, I wished him well, hailed a lyft rideshare, and headed into the heart of the city. The man driving had a wonderfully British accent and my ridesharer wore too much cologne. “Where y’headed?” The driver asked after dropping off the first patron. “I have no clue,” I replied now that I could breathe. We both laughed, as I told him how my friend sent me directions on how to break into her apartment.

The good news was I didn’t have to break in, everything was left exactly as she said it’d be, and I was able to get in without police involvement. There was too much electricity in me to sleep, and it was already too late in the day to nap (about 11am), so I opened the PokemonGo app and left. I returned 5 hours and 6 miles later around dinner time greeted by my hosts, and we all crashed soon after.

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