Despite being born and raised a city girl, (ok, greater metropolitan area girl... even worse) I just plain don't like cities. I was rudely awakened this afternoon from the past 5 blissful years of sort-of small town living out east. Need to go to the doctor in Middletown? Walk down to Main Street to the community health center (also my place of employment), run into multiple people I know on the way, see the doctor in 20 minutes, waltz out and be home in front of the tv in less than an hour. I theoretically know that this is not how life works in Chicago, but wasn't particularly in any hurry to get to the doctor for a truckload of immunizations. Fortunately traffic wasn't bad, and I found my way easily, even though I'd never been to the Northwestern hospital before. But, wait for it... It took me a full TEN MINUTES of driving around in the crazy giant crowded parking garage before I found a spot. Then, despite the fact that the parking garage is attached to the hospital, it took me another FIFTEEN MINUTES before I found my way through a maze of elevators to get to the office. I started to feel totally insane, having to go down several floors to catch an elevator to a higher floor, only to find that it wouldn't stop at my floor, so I had to get off at the 13th floor to go back to the 2nd floor to walk down to the first floor to find a DIFFERENT bank of elevators to get up to my floor. Add in several minutes of waiting for each elevator, inquiring at different information desks, rinse and repeat a couple of times. OH MY GOD. And all of this so that I could subject myself to scare tactics about not eating any food other than starch and thickly peeled fruit in Ecuador and walk away with several vaccines coursing through my system and several expensive prescriptions in hand. Great.
On the upside, I was a big girl and I GOT ALL THREE SHOTS IN 30 SECONDS! With no hours of crying, hyperventilating, or burly male nurses holding me down!!!! Most of you will realize that this is a first for me. I am truly the most amazing woman alive. I so deserve the fabulous expensive vegetarian birthday meal I am going to receive tonight at Green Zebra.
Oh, um, you probably noticed from the above ranting that I made it safely to Chicago. Very pleasant surprises regarding my trip:
1) Leaving late was made all worth it, as the mail really did come before I left, Katie, and I got your birthday card! Thanks buddy, and Trini!! Best thing ever! I'm still awaiting this fabulously elaborate present of which you speak.
2) Gas is consistently in the $2.80s throughout Ohio, Indiana, and even the Chicago area!!
3) I found what must be the world's only remaining free air hose at a gas station in the Cleveland area. Definitely an improvement over our last experience of filling the tires back in Boise.
4) I arrived home to beautiful birthday flowers from Sue and fun/practical presents from my parent. (Birthday celebration made complete with leftover Nancy birthday cake, made extra moist from two days in the car.)
Stay tuned for: Pictures, more raving about Green Zebra, and most likely more ranting re immunizations / city living.
And, lest I forget, thanks to eveyone who sent me fabulous birthday wishes and bon voyages through the various media!! This year's birthday is actually is a time of transition for me, rather than an intangible milestone, so it's extra nice to get all of your happy thoughts.