Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 8: Chicago Summer Solstice Countdown

My Perfect Chicago Day
Written by: Chris Coons
Residence: Pilsen
Astrological Sign: Cancer

I'm going to get an early start to my summer day. The sun starts to shine through my open windows before 6:00am, and with that cue I'm going to yawn and stretch and slide out of bed. A cup of coffee on the fire escape with Steely Dan playing in the background should get me up to speed with the rest of the city. After that I'm going to go for a jog along the lakefront. If I get out there before the summer sun has risen too high, I can catch the lingering coolness of night while still enjoying the sparkle of sunlight on the water.

After I get home from my run and get cleaned up, I'm going to head down to the Pilsen Community Market. A good score there might include some fresh produce, a mason jar of homemade salsa, and a used book. 

By the time I drop that stuff off at home, its going to be time to head to Bridgeport. Sunday afternoon White Sox games don't start until 1:10, but I've got a couple of stops to make before I get to the ballpark. The first stop is at Morrie O'Malley's for two hot dogs with everything on them, a side of fries, and an orange pop. After I scarf that down, I'm off to First Base on 32nd and Normal to share a couple of tall cans of Old Style with a few good friends. Like the rest of the bars around Bridgeport, this place has an intimate neighborhood feel that is hard to find around most ballparks, and it gets me in the mood for a lazy afternoon at Comiskey.

The next stop is the game itself. We've got seats in the bleachers, where the sun will shine on us all game long. Mark Buehrle is on the mound, so the game is going to move quickly. By the time the clock hits 3:30, Buehrle has thrown a gem, Konerko has hit a three run homer, and my friends and I put that Sox victory in our pocket and walk over to the Red Line. 

After transferring to the Blue Line and getting off at Division, we climb out of the subway and head to the Do Division Street Festival. Chicago has many street festivals throughout the summer, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. But today, Division is going to be awesome. The kebabs are hot and juicy, the funnel cake is soft and fresh, and the beer is cold and crisp. The 1900s and Mannequin Men are both playing this evening. And as the summer sun begins its western descent, I've got a belly full of grub, a pleasant buzz, some good friends and an easy smile. 

Once the music winds down and the street lamps are on, I know I'm going to start feeling the fatigue that comes from a day well spent. But I want to squeeze a little more out of the day. I've been out in the sun for hours, and a dip in the cool waters of Lake Michigan is going to call to me. So after a cab ride to the nearest beach, I'm going to shed as many clothes as the law allows and let the refreshing power of the lake do its work. Partially revived from the swim, I'm going to finish my day by taking my pretty little gal's hand and setting out for a long, slow walk home.  
Back at home, I can kick off my shoes, open a beer that I'll never finish, and sink into the couch. And from there, I can be grateful for the city that I call home, for the celebration of everything bright and beautiful that happens here every summer, and for the limitless possibilities that the city presents to those of us that know it and love it. 

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