On Friday, I arrived in Chicago around noon and a friend of mine gave me a free ticket to the Cubs game that started at 1:20PM. After checking in at my hotel room, I ran down the street to catch the train to the ballpark, I was told to take the red line towards Howard and get off at Addison. I had no cash and the subway station didn’t take credit, so I asked the person working in the station for the closest ATM, she directed me above ground and across the street, I returned with twenty bucks and found out the ticket machines don’t offer change and $20 was enough money to last a month on the subway. I asked the subway attendant if he could swap my $20 for four $5s, but he couldn’t help me out. He asked if I was traveling with a buddy or if I had anything smaller, I just shook my head no, and he leaned in close and told me he could get me onto the train “just this once” with his card. I was real appreciative, but at the same time, I tried to pay about 3 different ways and there’s only so much you can expect a person to do before he gives up on the process.
By now, the Star Spangled Banner was being sung in Wrigley and I was just getting through the gate into the Monroe subway platform. It was dark and dingy, but somehow clean all at once. A man in his 30’s opened his guitar case and played Neil Young’s “Needle & The Damage Done”, it sounded better than Neil singing it himself, he got into the chorus and it was wonderful, a train rumbled in and washed out his song, I was disappointed to hear it fade away. The train pulled away and he started into Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”, at this point I was sold. I was completely at ease with being late for the game, I was enjoying this acoustic concert under the city, I wanted to give him a couple bucks, but all I had was the unbroken $20, so I enjoyed it for free. The train heading towards Howard arrived as he was singing Bob Marley, I hopped on and watched him disappear as we headed into darkness.
Each stop about 4 or 5 Cubs fans piled on, until we were traveling on the elevated platform arriving at Addison, where the gravity of Wrigley Field pulled us off the train and down the steps. The bars and vendors orbit the field, fans entering the front gates by the hundreds, even some pedestrians get pulled into the right field wall which is a 10 foot section of chain link fence where people on the street have a magnificent view of the field, the field’s gravity is felt by anyone around it and before long I was at will call picking up my ticket.
I’m finally done with my 4 weekends in a row of traveling and things seem to be tracking in the right direction for my new job, I’m hearing whispers of October 1st.