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My Evening in the City

May 7th, 2014 at 06:27 am

The plan started to fall apart just as I was leaving to catch the train. DIL emailed that she'd had a terrible day and wouldn't be good company. I texted to make sure she was okay, and she said it was only that -- a bad day, and no baby-sitter, and she couldn't face bringing the boys into town on her own. So I went ahead and met my niece and her fiance for dinner on my own.

Since it was not too cold and windy yesterday, I decided to walk from the downtown station to the hotel -- about 1/2 hour. From there, the three of us walked to Elephant & Castle, about 3-4 blocks away. E&C is a British-themed restaurant -- it serves Yorkshire pudding, beef pie, bangers & mash, poutine, and other British delicacies as well as the usual burgers and salads. We shared poutine and I ordered a steak sandwich, and it was all good. I gave them $20 toward the bill, which they protested but finally accepted. We all had a good time, did a lot of catching up, and got our pictures taken so my niece could post it on Facebook. (Wouldn't be real otherwise, right? Smile )

The restaurant was very close to a CTA stop. The CTA is not my usual train. I take the Metra, which mainly services the suburbs. CTA goes all over the city and into some of the near suburbs as well. It's cheaper, but seedier. The clientele can be a little daunting, and the stations are very rough and dirty.

My niece and her beau walked me to the stop and then continued on to the hotel. I went up and bought a ticket and got out on the platform and waited. And waited. Finally I looked at the schedule. (Duh!) I realized that I had missed the last train for my line, even though it was only 7:30.

With a sinking heart, I talked to a CTA employee, who explained how I could get home if I took three different trains. Yikes! Not knowing the lines at all, I didn't feel at all confident about doing that. I decided to walk back to the Metra station, which, remember, was a half-hour away.

Granted, I could have taken a taxi, but even though I saw a few, they were always in the wrong place, or already had passengers.

So I walked. I was so grateful to have my smartphone to orient myself correctly. I think otherwise I would have gone the wrong way altogether.

It was daylight when I started, but darkened quickly into twilight. I was probably never in danger, but I was scared. I don't mind walking downtown alone in daylight, but the big city feels pretty threatening when it gets dark, and I felt very vulnerable as an older woman alone. I just tried to walk with a lot of confidence so no one would guess how frightened I was.

Obviously, I got to the station just fine, but I was so relieved to get back to familiar territory. I had one more walk to make when I got back to my suburb, but even though it was very dark then, I wasn't afraid on my own turf.

I was aware all this time that my toes were feeling pinched, but when I got home and took my shoes off, I found that a sharp toenail had drawn blood and the toe of my sock was soaked with it. New socks, too! I also had a bad surprise waiting for me at home -- I had neglected to change the cat litter, and the cats let me know it by peeing on a plastic bag in the closet. Copiously. And they had diarrhea on the rug. So I had that mess to clean up and the disgusting litter box to clean before I could relax.

And when I got in bed, my knees (which had felt all right until then) started aching, and I couldn't sleep until a pain pill took effect.

As I was settling in, I reached to the bedside table for a glass of water, which I proceeded to pour all over myself. I think I screamed, "Worst day ever!" But of course it wasn't, just a bad ending to a good day. And it felt awfully, awfully good to be safe at home.

So that's it, the good, the bad and the ugly!

6 Responses to “My Evening in the City”

  1. nhgirl1970 Says:

    Oh my! So glad you are safe!

  2. Mooshocker Says:

    This blog was like a Stephen King short story. I am exhausted. Glad to hear nothing happened that can't be laughed at next week. Jamie

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Wow! What an evening! I'm glad you made it back safely.

  4. Shiela Says:

    Glad you made it home okay.

  5. PNW Mom Says:

    Sounds like one of those days! Glad you made it back safe and sound

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Ha, ha! I love Stephen King! Thank goodness I only experienced the suspense and none of the horror!

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