Last week I went into the city for a potential marketing partnership for the blog. So exciting, right? I was so excited. And so nervous. And just feeling ALL the things.
The owner is so way cool and hip and all ‘want to meet at Cafe Umbria at 10:00?’ And I’m like so not cool or hip but I’m all let’s play pretend and say ‘oh sure. That sounds great – no problem.’ To be fair he also offered to do our meeting over the phone because the suburbs and the city are two entirely different worlds here but I really do think there are some things that need to be done face to face and this was one of those things.
So I say yes. And meanwhile the hives began to form.
Friends. I am just going to put this out there: I am not a city girl. By any means. At all. I know people love the city. And I love people that love the city, I truly do. But OH MY GOSH. I was recently chatting about this with a darling friend who is city obsessed and she’s all ‘there’s just a feeling, you know? Energy. Inspiration. You feel more alive.’
And then it hit me. Those exact feelings, those exact words are pricesely what I feel when I’m standing alone in my quiet four acre yard. When I stand in the city I feel overwhelmed, anxious, and quite honestly, out of place. I crave quiet and space and green grass and oh my goodness, easy parking. I just do. I have a (really) old soul and old people do not generally like the city. I completely just made that up to try and prove my point here. I do not know if old people like the city or not. It just seems like they wouldn’t.
Anyway, that’s not to say that I don’t mind making the effort for friends or family, I truly do not. At all. Yet most of those moments I am navigating the experience with someone else. A family member or friend. This meeting I was to get to on my own. A suburban girl goes to the city. Let’s break it down, shall we?
First off all, it snowed the night before. Lovely. That’s going to make traffic that much more breezy. I now plan to allow close to two hours to go thirty two miles. Insert blonde head slapping emoji here. I’m trying to stay positive, I really am. I wake up ready to rule the city of Chicago. I’m all in.
Then I get in my Jeep.
And the traffic makes me want to scream words that I do not allow myself to ever say. I blast my 104.3 90’s rap. Fat Joe, get me through it.
Honestly, anyone that commutes to the city more than a few times a month is my actual real live hero. I am still not recovered from my commute down, and that was seven days ago. What the actual fresh Hell is going on. This cannot be real life and it should not be expected of anyone to do. Ever.
And yet I persisted. Sweating because I was going to be late but also freezing cold because the heat in Jeep Wranglers is just plain awful. I was also having severe anxiety due to the whole having to PARK situation that was going to be happening at the end of my commute. Never mind the actual meeting at this point, my focus was just getting there in one piece in a somewhat timely manner. What are we meeting about again? Oh wait, MYSELF. Pull it together Courtney.
Finally I enter the general vicinaty of where I need to be. Fantastic. The time is 10:01. Ok C, you need to figure out how to park and get your butt over to this coffee shop. I spot the café, yeah! But oh no wait. There is no valet. Shocking at 10:00AM on a Wednesday, right? Their loss, I would have paid big money baby. Anyway, of course, there is no parking on the street because it’s like a real busy one. La Salle? Something like that. OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH. Where do I go.
I continue to drive past the café. I am now officially lost.
Oh wait! A parking garage. A PARKING GARAGE! I can do this, I really can.
I immediately pull in, carefully take the ticket, place it in a safe spot, and begin to ascend the levels in the correct direction. Does anyone else have a fear of going the wrong way in these things? They are just so tight and crowded and AHHHH. Finally, nine levels later, I see one single spot open. Who are all these people and what are they doing? I pull in. I exit my Jeep, remember my level and it’s paired color (purple, good job C) and I sprint to the elevator, descend to the main level and exit the garage all the while not getting mugged. YEAH!
OMG but no. I’m not on La Salle anymore. Or whatever the street is that I was supposed to be on. I’m on a completely different street facing a completely different set of buildings. Jesus take me home.
Ok C, don’t panic. It’s fine. You are a real grown up capable woman. You are raising two whole humans. Just look up the directions on how to walk to Café Umbria. This is not hard.
Aaaaaand my phone won’t connect, in the walking direction sense. Because I’m standing in the middle of the city in like a slushy wind storm.
I look around. No one seems to care that I am standing still completely clueless. Aren’t we supposed to be friendly here in the Midwest? Not one person looked friendly enough to approach. They actually kind of look scary. So I just start walking. My phone rings.
It’s Mike. Who is taking the time out of his work day to meet with us as well. Because I am late (and never ever late) he’s all WHERE ARE YOU and I’m all ‘look, if it takes two and a half hours to go thirty two miles this is no longer my fault, man. I DID EVERYTHING I COULD.’
Finally I see La Salle (or whatever the street is). Things are looking familiar. Ok keep walking C, you might be getting closer.
Café Umbria!!! I see Café Umbria! It’s like the mother ship is calling me home.
I sprint in, attempting to adjust my icy wind blown hair and immediately recognize the owner from his website. He smiled a super big warm smile (ah, warmth! YEAH!) and I instantly felt relaxed.
Even in the city. 😉