Thorin Oakenboots

January 5, 2015


My mom and I thoroughly researched winter gear options, and this is the footwear we chose, partly due to a 50% off coupon from a Columbia outlet store (thanks saleslady!). Do I maybe wish I’d opted for the ankle-high versions worn by cute girls with blunt bangs at the punk rock coffee shop down the street, instead of the bulky calf coverage that makes me resemble a dwarf king? Sometimes. But these Tolkien-worthy Sorels have proved their worth during my misadventures through my first Chicago snow.


When I say misadventures, I mean “times when I am an asshat”.


First, I walked down the block to Uncharted Books, a quaint jumble of haphazard shelves and old chairs guarded by a sleepy Husky. I mistakenly equated its homey charm with bargain prices and grabbed three books I’ve wanted to buy. I got into a conversation with the happy bearded proprietor about Logan Square, and when he announced mid-sentence that my total as $32, I was too embarrassed to explain that I’ve been eating turkey sandwiches for three days straight. I just handed over my VISA.


I ate dinner at McDonald’s because I didn’t trust myself anymore.


On Saturday I ventured to Walgreens for Redbox rentals because I was alone without wifi on a Saturday night. When the DVDs were over, I streamed 90 Day Fiancé on my phone. Sometimes I just need a little TLC to remind myself that even though I’m currently unemployed, at least I didn’t put a second mortgage on my house to bring my teenage Russian girlfriend to the U.S. so she can cringe away from me in our marriage bed.


Yesterday, after waiting for a loosely scheduled phone interview, I got hungry and impatient and voyaged first to return the DVDs (paying for one night of If I Stay is embarrassing enough), then to a Mexican restaurant in which a giant television was playing The Notebook at full volume. I tried not to cry on my burrito. Just as Noah was taking Allie out in the rowboat, I got the phone call I’d been waiting on. The waitress chose that precise moment to switch off the TV and turn on the loudest mariachi jams that the digital jukebox had to offer. Word to the wise: as far as world music goes, Mexican tunes might be the least conducive to job interview concentration. I tried to express my enthusiasm and experience to the professional theatre director/personal inspiration on the other end of the line; the accordions fought me at every turn.


Finished with the day’s errands by 5 o’clock, I scrambled to find something else—dear god, anything else—to do with my evening, to get me out of my gorgeous but woefully under-furnished apartment. I seized upon a cheap improv show: The Indie Hour at iO. 10:30. I left with more than enough time to get off at the wrong stop or get lost between bus lines. Forty minutes later I ended up next to Wrigley stadium, outside the old iO building, which Google informed me had closed permanently only after I had arrived there. But eventually I ended up at the new compound (Is that the appropriate term? It sounds kind of cult-y. Which improv definitely is.) and saw my first Chicago improv show and imagined my future and maybe glimpsed my eventual friend group and perhaps unwittingly met my husband but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, guys, geez. I made it back home, in one piece (but for 2 fingers lost to frostbite while waiting for the blue line), by 1 a.m.


This is the part when my mom calls me in a helpless rage on behalf of my safety. In defense of my poor judgment, all I can say is that when you’ve moved to a giant city without a job in the death grip of winter and you’re daunted by everything but especially the prospect of going after your Dreams and also you maybe just blew your first Dream interview thanks to your impatience to eat a burrito…in those times, you have to pull on your dwarf king boots and watch people do the thing you want to do, then find your way home to prove to yourself that you can.


***Also, can I be a Sorel spokesblogger please? Logan Square attire requires at least ten more pairs of these guys, and I’m all about that shale/fossil color combo.

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