Chicago: Because Who Needs All Their Digits?

All right, Chicago, what gives? I understand that you have this Lake Effect thing going on, I understand that it's winter, I understand you're sad about the Super Bowl, but listen: I'm cold.

35 below? Colder than Anchorage? Can't we work this out? I'm on tour! This is my first stop! I brought a lot of skirts and dresses and extremely adorable tights you're telling me not to leave my hotel? I want to love you Chicago, I want to be all Free Month at the Art Institute but so far I've only managed to look longingly at the North Face store across the street and wonder if I should go over and get outfitted for snowsuit. Oh who am I kidding. I have nothing to complain about. I haven't left the hotel.

Yesterday I arrived at LaGuardia to find that my flight had been cancelled, which I'll admit didn't inspire deep feelings of confidence for my first foray onto "The Road" as it's called by book tour veterans. I had a secret feeling that the cancellation had something to do with the Chicago flight crew wanting to be home to watch the Super Bowl. Which I tried to get into the spirit of, because my eventual flight was filled with rabid Bears fans. Including a pilot who closed each of his announcements with "Da Bears," to the delight of my fellow passengers.

Boarding the plane, I'd just like to say I had this bizarre, giddy feeling of "Here we go! An adventure!" and the past four years flashed before my eyes. Specifically last Super Bowl Sunday, when I was at my writing space at 3am all alone, finishing a chapter, and saw two rats frolicking by my desk. That was, perhaps, a low point. But now look! Chicagoland! (Am I the only one who finds it delightful that people refer to the greater Chicago area as "Chicagoland?" Not "the Chicago metropolitan area," but CHICAGOLAND. It's brilliiant! It's like Disneyland, without the rides! Or the sun! Or Mickey!)

Back on the plane we were a little delayed, which caused many of my fellow passengers to go ballistic and get on their cell phones and scream the score of the game to the rest of the plane. I found it all fantastic, but my seatmate wasn't amused and made sure I knew that while Chicagoans were excited about the game, they weren't all bananas. Said seatmate asked me what I was doing in Chicago and I tried "I'm actually on a book tour" as casually as I could pull off. My studied modesty was lost on Seatmate, unfortunately, as she was openly unimpressed and followed up with "So you write books? How do you make money?" and "If your book doesn't sell, do you have to pay your advance back?" Note to IRS: Audit Seatmate.

I love a spectacle, even if I don't love football, so I was pretty excited about arriving in the hometown of one of the participating teams during the Super Bowl. I wasn't the only one.

aa loves the bears

I arrived at the hotel. The boys at the front desk were hilarious and charming and excited that they didn't have to wear their usual suits because of the big day.

front desk bears

They were very sweet and gave me a room upgrade with a lake view. I was giddy to wake up to this, which looks like the beach in St. Kitts but is actually a frigid Lake Michigan.

lake michigan

I did a radio interview this morning, went to the hotel fitness club which is nicer than my gym at home, watched the Fox Morning News that I'm going to be on later this week, watched The View (which is sacrilegiously on at 10am--this Central Time thing is crazy), and am now safely ensconced in the hyper-mod lobby where I can get online but can't send email.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day working and wondering how I feel about this whole mandatory HPV vaccination situation in Texas.