Friday, July 12, 2013

Tales From ALA, Part 3: Looking for Lunch

This is the story of how KT and I sought out lunch at ALA.

We figured everything at the food court was going to be crazy expensive, and the lines were crazy long, so we thought it wouldn’t be too crazy to go find food somewhere else in Chicago. After all, this was Chicago. A bustling city. There was bound to be a restaurant or two in the blocks nearest the conference center.

So we started walking. And as we got farther and farther from the parking garage, I finally realized that KT meant for us to walk to a restaurant.

Out loud, I said, “Yeah, makes sense.”

Internally, I started remembering every horror story I had ever heard about girls walking alone in a city.

Understand, I have never been anywhere. I’ve grown up in a series of rural small towns, which I still manage to get lost in because I have the directional ability of a flip-flop.

I figured we were gonna be fine. But I was still a little nervous. Not to mention my tote bag of books was already killing my shoulder.

So we walked. And found nothing. And saw almost no one other than a few conference-goers and a jogger or two. This surprised me.

Later, recounting the story at home, my Dad said the streets were probably empty because everyone else knew enough to stay off of them.

KT checked her phone. “I think there’s a Papa John’s this way.”

Five minutes later. “Oh. I lied. It was in the other direction.”

We kept walking. Decided to go back to the food court after all. Made it to the nearest door back into the conference center…

…and it was locked.

So we continued on around the building, looking for a way in. We wound up near the interstate, walking in a semi-enclosed area, past chugging shuttle buses, back into the parking garage itself.

Cue every horror story I’d ever heard about the awful things that happen in parking garages.

Eventually, we made it to KT’s car, dropped off the books and swag we’d accumulated so far, then found our way back to the conference area.

And the food court, where we paid about $8.50 each for some sandwiches. The food wasn’t bad. And after our prolonged stroll around the conference center, the lines didn’t seem so long after all.

That was probably the low point of the day. And even this low point is pretty amusing in retrospect.

This is the last ALA Tale I have planned. If you were wondering, I am half-way through Dream 
Thieves and going ever-slower in an attempt to put off the end.

If you've got a story about getting lost, I'd love to hear it.

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