Monday, November 17, 2008

Sticky and sweet and windy and cold.

So, I just realized I never mentioned my trip to Chicago to see my sister and Madonna. It's not that we didn't have a great time, because we did. It's just that we didn't really do anything. I mean we did, of course, but we didn't. Does that make sense? I think it's a sister thing.

I arrived several hours before Moose and spent the time getting lost, calling my husband in a panic, hanging up on him for "giving me attitude", paying way too much for parking, shopping but not buying anything, and ducking into a quaint little cafe (I think it was called Borders...) to get out of the frigid wind. (They're not kidding when they call Chicago the Windy City. Holy crap it's windy!)

The view from my seat (on the floor) at the "cafe".

No, seriously. I flew to Chicago to sit on the floor at Borders.

Once I passed this guy 3 or 4 times, I knew I was lost.

When my sister's flight arrived and I met her out front of the airport, we were really excited. Not only had I found the airport (no small feat), we had found each other (what did people do before cell phones?), and we were in a big city all alone together with no plans other than seeing Madonna. As we cruised around in our nondescript gray rental car with the Madonna Sticky & Sweet Tour set list on repeat, we were borderline giddy (and, yes, Borderline was on the list).

We were both hungry but decided it would be best to check in to our hotel and get changed before finding a place to eat. That's when we realized that when Molly asked her husband to find us a hotel - something cheap, near the airport - she forgot to mention which airport we were flying in to. Oops. Oh, well. We had an entire set list to familiarize ourselves with - a little extra time in the car was not going to kill us.

Once we got to our hotel (quite a trek!) and opened up our suitcases, we discovered that we had both packed drunk with the lights off and one hand tied behind our backs. At least that's what it looked like. The contents of our suitcases were baffling, even to us. Between the two of us we had a summer dress, a pair of legwarmers, several pairs of strappy sandals, a hooded jumper, baggy jeans, a winter coat that looked like it had been stolen off the back of a homeless man, yoga pants, a couple silk mini dresses, a few pairs of boots, a black blazer, some scarves and a pair of hot pink and purple striped leggings. Trying to get dressed from that pile was like being on a gameshow. No whammies, no whammies... We each managed to piece together one outfit and proceeded to wear it for the rest of the trip.

By the time we were dressed and had commuted back into town, we were starving. Fortunately Molly remembered the name of a cute little Italian place she had been to before that iPhone helped us find. We blew in off the streets and were so happy to be in a cozy, cheese filled restaurant we could hardly contain ourselves.

Our waiter didn't know what to think about us. Our overflowing giddiness is a little much for people on a normal day but when we're also freezing, starving and on vacation, we can't be stopped. He kept saying, "You're just so...happy," like he had never seen people smile before. We were like, "Yeah, we get that a lot."

In addition to being excessively happy, we are also really good eaters. This can come as quite a shock to some people. When I asked the waiter about the meatball sub, he looked at me like I was joking. I wasn't. He warned me that it was good but really heavy. Molly and I nodded eagerly and I ordered it.

When he brought our food to the table, he said he would pay for our meal if I cleaned my plate. Like this was the first time I had ever faced a meatball sub the size of my leg. Please. He actually seemed a little scared by how wholeheartedly I accepted the challenge. Every time he passed our table I was slightly closer to closing the deal. Ultimately, it wasn't in the cards but, with a little help from my sister, we came darn close. I'm not sure if our waiter was impressed or disgusted. Probably a little of both.

After we ate (and ate, and ate...) we tried to be tourists, we really did, but it just wasn't happening. We were freezing and lost and uncomfortably full. This was the best we could do:

Look, Ma - I'm in Chicago, freezing to death!

The next day we were even worse. Despite the housekeeper's repeated attempts to wake us, we slept really, really late. Then we stayed in bed for hours looking at wedding pictures and drinking hotel room coffee. Not like the kind you get from the lobby or the adjacent restaurant, the kind you make with water from the bathroom sink and packets of flammable powder. First class all the way.

When we finally got up, we did a little of this:

And some of this:

And, of course, lots of this:

Oh, and eventually there was this...



And, this...



Watching the videos now (they're not mine, I found them online) I can see how they could have been seen as controversial but it didn't feel like that at the time. It felt positive and exciting and amazing - like we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. Bigger than Madonna, even.

I like that she takes something she's passionate about, mixes in a bunch of questionable material and pushes and pushes and pushes until people squirm and talk and judge and think and feel and eventually become passionate themselves. Pretty clever, Madge. Without the controversial bits, she would be just another half naked bump and grinding, guitar playing, double dutch jump roping, bulging bicep wielding 50 year old strutting around on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. It's the controversy that makes her Madonna.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Awesome! When I was watching the video of the concert I got goosebumps and that great feeling in the pit of my belly! I love the energy and vibe and am so so green with envy that you did this as sisters!