I had inadvertently risked my neck by behaving like a “typical girl”. But, it was GIRLS’ WEEKEND!!! Over-packing was a necessity, in my opinion. I didn’t realize that when I filled my TWO suitcases (for a three day trip) in order to have various “options” in apparel and footwear, I would be lugging them downwards towards possible doom just hours later. Not ONLY would I be carrying the 30-40 pound bags to (maybe) imminent death, I would be doing it in high heels. This was the scariest part of Chicago.
Heather and I left straight from work on Thursday. I had already packed my two suitcases the night before, and swiftly moved them into Heather’s vehicle for our ride to the airport. Leaving straight from the day job meant I would be donning my work outfit all night. This is the reason I was wearing heels when we landed in Chicago, a little after 9pm.
Once we arrived at Midway, H’s friend, Lisa, met up with us at the baggage claim. The three of us trekked out of the terminal and headed towards the station for the “L” (Chicago’s public transportation train system).
I had never ridden the “L” before, and by the way I became entangled in the metal arms of the turnstile, one would think I’d never walked through one of those either.
“What?? You mean a woman and two suitcases won’t fit through this entrance AT THE SAMETIME???” (My thoughts.)
I struggled for what felt like ten minutes, backing up and retrying to pass through the thing, angling my body and suitcases in various positions. Eventually, I figured out that if I chucked my suitcases through first, I could walk through afterwards like a normal human being.
Pretty sure the security guard was shaking his head a little bit and feeling my shame radiate like the rays of a thousand suns. After surviving the metal monster, we boarded our train…..
The walls were covered with advertisements for some YouTube “celebrities” who I had never heard of, showing off their fancy cupcakes and makeup. Various strangers entered and exited the “L” as we journeyed to our stop. At one point, a gentleman walked in, sat down, and proceeded to blatantly stare at me for a solid ten minutes. I can only assume that he could see my “turnstile shame” from earlier and was laughing hysterically at me in his head.
“Look at all the klutz-shame glowing in this girl’s face!! Ha ha!! She must have recently done something idiotic in public…it’s shining off of her like the RAYS OF A THOUSAND SUNS!!!!!!!” (The Stranger’s thoughts.)
several stops later, we exited…..
And there it stood…..
in all its scary splendor. ….
(pause for effect………………………………………..now read the next line in a booming, exaggerated, echoed voice….)
Bum, bum, buuummmmmmm………..The staircase from HELL!
It glared at me with it’s grate-like steps, and I am fairly sure I heard a sinister laugh emanating from its depths. I peered down into the dark and wondered if I would survive.
For a moment, I contemplated removing my heels…but the thought of stepping barefoot onto the unknown Satan-metal was too unnerving.
I took a few deep breaths and began my descent. In my mind, I could see myself toppling head over suitcases over heels to the cement, breaking my ankles, arms and neck. I am pretty sure that not even Heather or Lisa would have been able to help me if I fell. In fact, since they were ahead of me, I would have most likely knocked them over the railing on my way down, and we would all end up as splatters on the street!
Still, I continued…..
Three steps done….stop, gain balance…..three more steps….twist ankle slightly sideways…..catch my balance….two more steps…..stop, gain composure…lean against the railing for DEAR LIFE…(repeat this about four times)….
Finally, after an AGONIZING 3 minutes, I was safe on solid ground. I won…I beat it…..I WAS UNSTOPPABLE!!
The stairway didn’t lead to death after all!!! It merely led to the streets of Chicago.