Since this blog is super new (I’m celebrating my one day work-a-versary as I write), I thought I’d start with an anecdote to give readers an idea of the type of stories you can expect in future posts. The following is one of my favorite travel stories. I was reminded of it when I recently met up with a travel buddy and partner in crime who joined me in this misadventure in Chicago.

Of all the things I remember about my trip to Chicago, I most vividly remember wearing jeans and a sweatshirt over my monokini (if you don’t know what that is, you’re missing out on some great swimwear) the entirety of my last day there. My friend, Bree, and I had spent the greater part of the afternoon at the beach, where we (almost) killed a 12 pack of Limeritas. Afterward, we were cruising on a sugar high when we decided to head over to Logan Square. That was when the sugar hangover hit me, though I think Bree was faring much better.

Perhaps because Bree’s mental faculties were sharper at that moment (or perhaps in spite of that fact), she thought of Weiner Circle. Weiner Circle isn’t nearly as vulgar as it sounds. There aren’t any glory holes in the bathroom or otherwise lascivious ongoings. Well, there might be. But none that we knew of or found out about that night. Weiner Circle is a hot dog shop where employees in Hot Dog On A Stick style uniforms talk trash to you while you order and get your food. Rowdy teens and adults walk in calling the ladies bitches and hoes and the men dickheads, and the employees throw it right back at them. And this is where Bree wanted to get a late night snack. Because why not, right?

This story takes place before Uber, Lyft, and similar services were readily available, so we had to stand at the edge of the sidewalk and actually hail a cab. After roughly five unsuccessful minutes, Bree said we might have to walk towards a more populated area to find a taxi. I was resistant to this plan. I stood my ground, both literally and figuratively. Hard to say how long I had to literally stand my ground before it was figuratively unnecessary, but I do remember a car finally pulled over.

“There’s a cab right there!” I practically (read: probably) screamed in her face. My excitement was uncontainable. My face was beaming. Ah, what a sweet victory, I thought. To find a cab in an automotive dessert. It was like a cool drink of water in an actual dessert. But my victory was short-lived.

“That’s not a cab.”

Indeed, it was not a cab, but a pizza delivery car. The bright sign on top of the car fooled my Limerita soaked brain. That’s what I like to think, but I might just be completely dense and unaware of my surroundings. Regardless, I opened the passenger door and asked the driver if he could take us to Weiner Circle.

If I had to guess, I’d say the driver was thinking something along the lines of “what in the actual fuck” but all he said was “I deliver pizzas.” Straight to the point. I like that in a delivery guy.

“That’s fine. Can you take us?” I inquired. Delivery dude might not have been at the wheel of a taxi, but he was as good as it was going to get.

A moment of self-reflection here: could I possibly have been drunk enough to ask a pizza delivery guy to take my friend and I to a place called Weiner Circle? Or was I sober and thought this would be a funny anecdote one day? Hard to say what Past Hazel was thinking at the time. I can only surmise that whatever state I was in, Bree must have been right there with me.

As it turns out, the pizza delivery guy was our savior that night. His name was Estrella. That’s what I called him, at least. Like me, he was from Los Angeles. We bonded up front while Bree guarded the pizzas in the back. That’s what I think happened but honestly, I was probably talking non-stop while he castigated himself for picking up some obnoxious girls. That’s not really a fair statement – I think I was the only obnoxious person in the car that night. Sorry Bree and Estrella.

The best part of this whole situation was that Estrella told us he had to stop and make a delivery on the way to Weiner Circle. I have a pretty wild imagination, but I would have never thought I’d end up making pizza deliveries with a stranger in Chicago at 2 AM.

As for Weiner Circle, Bree and I were both a little too shy and embarrassed to call anyone there an asshole or participate in the abuse culture. While we were both excited by the possibility of doing so, the fact that the place was completely empty when we walked in definitely dissuaded us. What if that wasn’t even the right place and we just started calling innocent employees assclowns? Looking back on that night, I regret not walking into the place with the swearing mouth of a sailor, but hey, there’s always next time.