Hello, guten tag, bonjour, and bok – how are we all?
Before we begin, you may have noticed a fresh lick of paint on the walls (metaphorical paint, licking and walls). It may have taken a while to get to this point, but I’m nothing if not thorough. Or something. Admittedly it’s only a temporary solution until the actual header picture is finished, but temporary is better than none…orary. Back to the plot!
Somehow opting for the scenic route through Indiana instead of the highway – damn premonition – we leave the warmth of Michigan to the ever-confused weather system of Chicago. Is now a good time to mention how stupid and ingenious the price of data roaming is when you’re not from the country? Can I emphasise the stupid when attempting to reach a both the residence and Blue Man Group in time, when they are located in parts of the city you’ve never even heard of? Shall I remphasise the stupid when you leave said show, having taken a cab there, you decide to walk back in the dark, through a less than salubrious part of the neighbourhood, with nothing more than an A4 bit of google mapping, and a photogenic memory that could only half remember the route back because the memory was still in the daylight? Stupid. Stupid and ingenious.
After two visits to Steppenwolf for Marie Antoinette and The Herd, we find ourselves sharing residence with a rescued three-year old blondie called Easton, in training to work as a therapy dog. A stunning Japanese meal and a couple of sleeps later, we move again to a hotel for our final night and final show: A Streetcar Named Desire. All of a sudden, we are near the Institute and back in familiar territory. And I realise the life I once led in the Midwest may as well have belonged to someone else.
Gone are the days of business class, incredible hotels and ease of travel. I was very, very young at the time so I was just enjoying myself like any kid who was routinely on an adventure would, but if my return trip has made me realise anything, it is how hilariously different my life once was. Laidig Snr used to work in Glenview, for god’s sake – the Chicago I remember is not reality, or at least not reality for a lot of people. Except maybe the traffic.
I admit it: I had begged to return to a city under an illusion. In no way did I expect the same experience as before – it is long gone and sits quite happily in my past – but I had a very different trip in mind. The whole point of the journey was to return, yes, but to also reinvigorate my spidey-senses and (potentially) network. Something mid-rate hotel, a desk to write at, the ability to just fall in and out of the city’s many theatres… The conclusion I’ve come to for my next trip: find employment that will grant me expenses. Oh how the mighty have fallen…