Monday, February 6, 2012

A Full Night of Almost...

We had a bit of a late start to our first event outing, but hopes were still high for a night of new things. We set out to get a little culture infused into our slowly rotting bodies, to start the year out with a nice fierce slap to wake us from our slothfulness. That's what we set out to do, and that’s what we almost did.

When we got to the Schlafly Taproom, we were excited and even eager to see what was in store. We crossed the street from the parking lot with night around us and a chill in the air. I was immediately impressed by the building’s brick architecture and the sheer size of the place, which had several floors. Without delay we entered and asked to determine where things were going down. The answer was heartbreaking... things had gone down, and had all but cooled and crusted over. Culture had flashed, briefly, like lightning, in the Taproom and only a dim after-image was left hanging tauntingly in our vision. This place was now just a bar, and we had almost attended Burns’ Night.

So we hit the road, but not to give up and head home. This was the first of the Not-Rot excursions, and we would not be so easily deterred. That being said, we had no contingency plan. But hey, we were in the city, and there had to be some other culture-rich activities we could take part in, we just had to find them. So we drove, and drove, and drove around some more, until we were pretty sure we were lost, but still determined to find some area of the city we recognized.

It turns out if you drive long enough and turn at semi-recognizable streets, you will end up on Washington Ave. We turned down the avenue and were greeted by hanging lights, a brick street, and… a Hookah bar! We both quickly agreed to check it out, but once the girl working the bar told us the price and the duration (3-4 hours!) we left, having almost hit the hookah.

We walked down Wash. Ave brainstorming on what we could do, while I was getting a bit discouraged that the night would be a flop. We saw the Jive and Wail piano bar but they were closed, so we almost listened to live music. There was a coffee shop where we might be able to try some real Italian roast, but it was late and I didn’t want to caffeine to keep me up; so we almost had deep philosophical conversation over coffee. We completed our circuit, still culturally deficient, so we hit the road again and headed for the Loop.

Now at this point we were really just looking for something comforting to do to make ourselves feel a little better about our defeat. I pointed out Cheesology as we passed it, and we made plans to park further down and walk down to at least have some delicious mac ‘n’ cheese and a beer to finish the night. On the way down we passed the Tivoli and almost saw a movie. Then we passed in front of Star Clipper, a really cool comic book/graphic novel store and I suggested going in. We had a good time looking around then continued down to Cheesology, ready to sit and eat and relax.

We hesitated for a moment because they were stacking stools on the tables, but a quick glance at the door told us that they were open for another hour. We recovered and tried the door, which was locked. What?! The sign says you are open! Stop putting the stools up, we are hungry, damn it! No, please no, for the love of God... All we want to do is finish this cold and miserable night with warm food and a cold beer... Alas, it was not meant to be. We left, hungry and discouraged, to get back in the car for home. This was the end of the night we almost.

In chemistry, Entropy describes the “compulsion” of chemical reactants to always attain their lowest energy level or state. In the Burns’ Night experiment, we attempted to do the opposite, or at least fight the compulsion. In this regard we succeeded. We got off of our rotting butts and made an effort to stretch outside the norm. It wasn’t exciting (to read about) but it was fun, and we gave an honest effort. I think we are both more determined than ever to succeed at our next outing, even if that means really reaching beyond our comfort zones. We also learned that a good contingency plan is a must, and next time we will be more prepared. Because those that fail to plan, plan to ROT.

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