Six Stolen Showers

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

            DAY THIRTY:  We wake up alongside the beach to find a parking ticket on our dash, so that's cool.  Navin, who stood outside of the Pitchfork Festival yesterday with a sign begging for a ride to New York, plans to leave us today, and after getting to bed early the night previous, he’s again up at morning’s light to do whatever it is he does.  I wake up all grouchy, partly for my headache, partly for the fact that last night, one of the drunken girls stole my sunglasses as I was hailing them a taxi from outside the 7-11.  Some people are rotten, and that’s simple truth, but those glasses, as cool as they were, were from the 99 Cent store, so I can’t complain too much.            

The six of us as a team march the long way across the city to catch a few stuffed deep-dish pizzas from Giordano’s, and for as filled with delicious mozzarella as they are, no one’s able to eat more than two slices each.  With our bellies sticking out ahead of us, we’re led down Division Street, that epic French-sized boulevard full of glitzy patio cafes, Bulgari shops, and picture windows twenty feet into the sky.  I see one building with an amazing and amazingly familiar artifice, one that must have come directly from Siena, Florence’s Tuscan rival, but upon an inch of inspection it’s easy to see that the whole thing has been painted on.  I imagine some of my architect friends remarking that it’s functionally the same as any other classical adornment, but it’s taken less time or effort, and is therefore a superior success, and I laugh to myself.

            We finally arrive at Millennium Park, Chi-town’s crown jewel.  We’re greeted immediately by a view through the trees of buildings and trees bending in upon themselves, and as we round the bend we see it’s only the illusion of such created by The Bean (Cloud Gate?).  The Bean is surreal and awesome, and there are high school girls in mini skirts mugging in front of it, after whom Shmark follows, drooling, but then we’re all mugging in it, watching our reflection spread out along the distorted scape of a beautiful city.

            We drop our stuff in the grassy amphitheater designed by Gehry again and begin an epic game of Frisbee.  Every throw is long-range, quick-release, jumping, sprinting, and as we pour sweat out the game becomes shirts and skins with no tally.  Even the security guards are watching us as we develop a following of families marveling at how or why we’d be so rambunctious in such a public place, but with bare feet in the grass and a band tuning in the background, preparing for the night’s free concert, it couldn’t physically feel better.

            Navin’s clock goes off and he realizes that he must put more money in the meter, so we grabs The Beard’s skateboard to knife across the city.  Shmark and myself take a foot bridge, also by Gehry and actually quite cool, over the highway and into the rest of the park, in search of the famed fountain used in the credits from Married With Children.  Fuck that.  We get there and quickly a man with yellow morsels of plaque walks up to us with a heartfelt pitch about money for the homeless children.  He’s good, and you have to give him that, but he’s also obviously full of shit, and where Shmark is smart enough to say no, I have no money, I reach into my wallet to find only a five.  "No worries my brother, I’ve got chage," he soothes, and responds with two dollars.  I’m offering one only, but he assures me that the minimum donation is three, and I get angry, but not so much to where I’d ask for my money back.  He shrugs, content, and slinks away, and I feel like an idiot for about an hour, wondering why I had given him money and not that frail old black man selling street magazines so enthusiastically from outside of the pharmacy.  I need to grow my own will.

            We soon regroup to meet Navin under Sears Tower, which is fairly ugly, and head back to the bus.  Not a single of Navin’s contacts come through, and he decides to hit the road with us, though we don’t know where we’re going.  Cornbread mentions that his childhood friend has been begging him to visit him at Notre Dame, so we all shrug and comply.

            Immediately upon hitting Indiana, we go onto a toll road in the wrong direction once, then twice, and ending paying the fee four times.  Everyone’s cursing the state to hell, and then we hit traffic that leaves us idle for too long.  Upon reaching South Bend, we drive around in circles that hardly outline the worn and boring college town until Cornbread reaches Ernie and finds him waiting for us in the dorm parking lot.  Ernie is amped to see us as advertised, but is also reeling from heavy studying for summer school, and twitches frequently, also always tossing his chapstick against the wall.  Looking darts around, he ushers us into the dorm and we sneak past the studying cloisters ready to cash in Indiana’s ill will in the form of six stolen showers.  Of course there are exactly six and it’s completely empty, and we rifle through the shelf of grooming supplies to swipe a bit of soap from the students, who are attending the graduate program completely free of payment, and even with a $1,200/month stipend.  It’s all fair in the end.

            Once our showers wrap up, we cram into Ernie’s PT Cruiser and pt cruise to Mulligan’s, the local college pub.  The bouncers greet us with great warmth, aghast at our California driver’s licenses, and some patron jokes with Cornbread about his hair being unwelcome here, but when we go outside to the patio, we’re simply showered with praise and welcome.  Ernie had told his friends about us ahead of time, and, in accordance, The Tall Alabaman jumps up and down, saying, “oh man, you guys are insane!”  The Irish Lothario, speaking from the side of his mouth, mumbles in a brogue, “Well, I’ll tell yeh, lads, youse guys to stay anoder night.  The ladies coom out on Wednesdays, and dey’ll luff yer bus, man.”  It’s all amazing, ever-uplifting, and we all joke over beers until the Irish Catholic cops come and kick us out.
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Navin on

Irish Lethario. I couldn't have said it better myself. I think his accent may have been fake.

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