May 2, 2010

Chicago, Chicago

I'm back in Chicago -- for a work trip -- after a five year absence. I've only been here a few hours, but it's absolutely fantastic so far. Right now, I'm at the Giordano's at Rush and Superior for a late (by Central Time standards), where I'm waiting on a stuffed spinach pizza, sipping a beer (Goose Island, not bad) and nibbling antipasto.

I've come here for a number of reasons. First of all, it's not too far from my hotel, and since I landed at 7:30 p.m., I was hoping for something nearby. Second, it's a pizza place -- and, as pizza places tend to be, laid back enough for me to get some work done while I wait for the doughy, cheesy goodness that is Chicago deep dish.

Mostly, though, I cam here because it's where I went on my first date with my first 'real' boyfriend more than nine years ago. (Nine? Nine! Can you believe it?) And I wanted to re-experience this.

Those of you who have been with me long enough will remember that particular boyfriend turned out to be a dud of the highest order. I'm not a big believer in dredging up the past, so I won't go into details here -- but suffice to say that is was not a satisfactory first boyfriend experience. (Luckily for me, subsequent significant others, including my fiancé, re-set the bar to a high mark.)

I came back tonight so that I might have a chance to view this particular pizza joint through the eyes of a much more learned, much more experienced, much more confident me. I wanted to be able to look around at the red-and-white-checked table clothes, the leather booths, the hardwood floors and, yes, the pizza, and know that, while I can't go back and re-do the experience of my first boyfriend, I did learn from it, and I've become a better person for having endured it.

So, a toast, then, to the first and worst boyfriend I ever had: May he, wherever he is, be nicer to the girls he's wooing now, or receive the same treatment from them that he gave to me.

Hear, here!