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December 19, 2005


black snow on
                      the streets of frigid chicago

Because the train was about 5 hours late, we missed our connection to Pittsburgh and had to stay overnight in Chicago. Amtrak was accommodating. They gave us $30 each for food and put us up in the Hyatt Rosemont--a 30-minute drive northwest of Union Station. They chartered a bus with Church of God of Christ written in gold letters on the side and we joked that we were being taken to a Christian re-education camp.

Trainriders are a special breed. Maybe just sheep. Despite being given a daylong delay, everyone just laughed when the hotel turned us away. You see, there are two Hyatts in Rosemont and our driver had taken us to the wrong one. We resumed our seats on the bus and he took us to the correct one just a mile away. The next day, the bus to take us back to the station was late. Luckily, Tex from North Dakota took the initiative and asked the front desk to call over to the other hotel. Sure enough, the bus (with a different driver) was waiting there.

The extra day gave us time to meet my college friend Dave and his 2-year-old son Sam for lunch. We went to a cozy Greek place where he told us about his forthcoming book, Soft in the Middle, a scholarly treatise on softcore porn. We were best friends in college and it's always good to see him. We went back to the station and waited for our train, which was again delayed.