Limping In The Windy City

This weekend proved that awkwardness tends to follow me everywhere I go.  It evens crosses state lines, as I unfortunately discovered during my trip to Chicago.

Back in May I bought Clayton tickets to watch his favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.  Being a fan of the braves is great, but liking a team located down in Georgia makes it rather difficult to watch them in action on their home turf.  I surprised him with tickets to a game in Atlanta back when were still dating, but after driving over 10 hours in busy traffic, we decided never to do that again.  So, we try to catch games as often as we can when the Braves are visiting cities semi-nearby.

The game was Monday evening and we decided to leave as early as possible so we could spend the whole day in Chicago (paying a ridiculous amount of money to renew our car tags, forking over almost $100 for a diagnostic system check on my car because the "check engine" light was on, and just adult responsibilities in general kept us from being able to afford a hotel for a longer stay).  After gaining an hour on the trip up, we arrived in the Windy City around 1:00 p.m. (with no thanks to our stupid GPS who, when we told him we wanted to be taken to Michigan Avenue, thought it would be all fun and games to drop us off exactly 20 miles from where we actually needed to be. And the fact that our GPS is programmed to talk like Arnold Schwarzenegger did not help to ease my frustration).  We immediately found a parking garage located right off of the Magnificent Mile and just a hop, skip and a jump away from Gino's East of Chicago Pizza.

I was honestly slightly more excited about eating deep-dish pizza at Gino's than going to the actual game.  I love you, Chipper Jones, but if you were covered in mozzarella and baked to perfection in a cast iron pan, I'd probably love you even more.  I ordered extra cheese and black olives on my half of the pizza and I'm quite confident it was one the greatest, most responsible life decisions I've ever made.  And, unlike our first trip to Gino's back in December on our anniversary vacation, Clay and I decided to join the party and graffiti on the restaurant walls and menu like the countless others before us.

After gorging ourselves on calories and carbs, we tried to walk off the weight we inevitably gained during lunch by perusing the stores on the Magnificent Mile.  But, we're slaves to our own gluttony and found ourselves pigging out on free samples at both the Hershey's store and Ghirardelli.

When it was finally time to head over to Wrigley Field, Clay and I stepped underground to catch the Red-Line.  I've been on this subway/train thingy before, but it still creeps me out. I don't like being in tight, crowded spaces nor do I enjoy having the capability to sexually assault (or be sexually assaulted by) the person standing next to me by just breathing or blinking.  Touching strangers is a huge no-no for me (as I hope it is for you).  Not to mention, by this point Clay and I had gone back to our car at the parking garage and changed into our Braves jerseys.  And we were now standing nose-to-butt with a couple hundred die-hard Cubs fans.  I felt a jab on my shoulder and, freaking out because I wasn't sure what kind of appendage was poking me, I hesitated to turn around (like turning around was even possible in this subway car). The jabbing continued until I finally turned my head so I could tell this pervert to leave me alone.  But then I made eye contact with my assailant—an older gentleman wearing a navy blue Atlanta t-shirt who was smiling and giving me an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Ah, allies. 

Now would be a good time to mention that I got stung by a bee on Sunday.  Sunday night I finally convinced Clayton that running with me would be an excellent idea and he begrudingly agreed to run fartleks with me on the trail.  No sooner had we begun our 5 minute warm-up jog than I felt a stabbing pain on the top of my foot, right behind the tongue of my shoe.  I looked down, saw the all too familiar yellow and black body of a bee, and started flailing around like a moron.  "Get it off!" I kept screaming until Clay finally flicked the bee off of my skin.  He then proceeded to remove the stinger from my flesh and reassure me that it wasn't the crisis I was making it out to be. Easy for him to say, this was the exact same foot and the exact same place on the trail where I got stung by a bee not even 2 months ago.  Seriously, what are the odds? I haven't been stung by a bee since 5th grade and then all of a sudden I get it twice in one summer? Cruel.

I was able to finish our fartleks just fine (and Clay did amazing considering it was his first time ever doing them—we ran over 4 miles!), and didn't give my foot another though.  However, by Monday afternoon, after walking all over Michigan Avenue, my foot and ankle swelled up about 3 sizes larger than normal.  I was cursed with cankles naturally, so now I looked like I flat-out had elephantiasis.  The straps of my sandals were buried under the folds of my swollen skin and I started having a mild panic attack over the fact that my foot was started to look more like a sausage casing.  By the time we reached Wrigley Field, I was in desperate need of some ice.

During the 3rd inning I went to the restroom.  Clay came with me and started talking to a security guard waiting outside the door about getting some ice for my foot.  The kind gentleman said it was no problem and that while I was in the bathroom he would phone someone at the first aid station to bring a bag of ice for my bee sting.

Um.  That's not exactly how it all went down.

Finishing my business in a stall towards the back of the restroom, I heard a woman's voice ring out across the concrete room.  Since it was so loud (it was estimated that 37,000 people were in attendance that night), I had no idea what she was saying. I just assumed it was some eager fan who was wanted to share her joy and enthusiasm with her fellow sisters while they were peeing.

I left the stall and went to wash my hands.  While doing so, the women's voice came echoing through the room again.  Only this time I could make out the very last thing she said:

"*inaudible rubbish* .... with a bee sting?"

Did she just say "bee sting"? Oh dear goodness. This isn't happening.

The dozens of women in the bathroom became silent for a moment and I just continued washing my hands, refusing to look up and acknowledge that this woman was talking about me.

Then she opened her mouth again.

"Is there a Courtney in here?"


Feeling the heat in my face, I turned around at the sink and raised my hand in the air. "Um, yeah ... that's me."

Two first aid personnel came swooping towards me like a pit crew—one woman propping up my leg while another woman pulled a antibacterial wipe out of her fanny pack and began furiously wiping at my leg.  A crowd of nosey woman formed around me and I honest-to-goodness thought I was going to die from embarrassment.  Somehow Clayton must have communicated the message that I just got this bee sting and that I was at a potential risk of an allergic reaction.

"Alright. We're going to take you to get some ice. Rita, grab the wheel chair!" one of the woman called over her shoulder.

I started stuttering like an idiot, "No, no ... really, it's okay. I can walk. I do not need a wheelchair."

Then Rita came gliding into the room with her shining blue wheel chair and I was two seconds away from having a full-fledge anxiety attack because I could feel every woman in that bathroom's eyes boring into me.  The red on my face had to match the red on my jersey.

"Sit down," Rita coxed, patting the seat of the wheelchair like this was a totally normal occurrence at a sporting event and was in no way traumatizing to one of the world's most shy people.

I started hobbling away from them.  "No, really. I'm fine. I will walk. Thank you."

I left the bathroom with a giant ice pack strapped to my foot and limped after the security guard under the gaze of hundreds of spectators.  At the first aid station I was fed a Benadryl and sent on my merry way only after I assured them 50 more times that I did not need a wheel chair.

I spent the rest of the game with my leg propped up on the seat in front of me.  I got a few curious gazes from the people sitting nearby and made up my mind that if anyone asked, I got hit with a foul ball when I left to get popcorn.


  1. lol oh my Courtney, this was great! You had me laughing through pretty much all of it. Sounds like they don't have too many "emergencies" and your bee sting was their chance to save someone's life. Haha!


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