Monday, March 11, 2013


I want my sons to experience culture.  I really do.  Honestly.  It’s just sometimes culture is watching a homeless man dig in an Arby’s garbage can.

Two Sundays ago (I’m behind on my blog writing), Diana came down with the flu.  It wasn’t the full blown thing that incapacitated the office to my left, right, forward and backward, but she was feeling pretty crumby.

Watching Elijah bounce up and down on her stomach filled me with an intense desire to get them out of the house.

I came up with the brilliant plan of taking the Metra train downtown and visiting a museum, or a sportif event, or a play.  After a quick look at things to do within walking distance of the downtown Metra station on a bitterly cold day, I opted to visit the Madison street Potbelly sandwich shop.

The boys, of course, were extremely excited to ride the Metra.  Unlike the El, of which they are frequent users, the massive commuter vessels remained outside their grasp.  They liked to think of them as big, cross country rides filled with boxcars and hobos and anamorphic engines that think they can, think they can, think they can.  Instead of metal cans filled to the brim with ipod jacked sad-eyed suburbanites.

Once we arrived at the station, I announced the one and only rule of the Metra:  DO NOT STEP OVER THE YELLOW LINE.  I could have dialed back the warning a bit, because Luca screamed at the top of his lungs at one poor woman who dared to toe over the barrier. 

After an announced delay and a debate over whether we should just go to Five Guys for burgers, the train arrived with much yelling and fanfare.  The other Sunday commuters looked at us like, “Sheesh, you’d think they’d never been on a train before.”  Well, no they haven’t you grouches.  So shut up.

Within three seconds of being on the train, Eli lost interest and requested my phone to play Angry Birds.  Luca, on the other hand, was enthralled.  He loved looking out the green tinted smudged windows.  He adored the pre-recorded announcements.  Is this our stop?  Is this our stop, dad?

We arrived at the giant station downtown and both boys got scared.  It was kind of an assault of the senses.  So we walked a half block to Potbelly’s, ate, and then I checked the schedule.  Oops.  Sunday Metra doesn’t run very frequently.  We had an hour to kill.

I suggested we play “Super Hero Spies.”  This involved tailing people on the street and then shooting them with laser beams that came from our outstretched hands.  The game was canceled after a Muslim family thought we were hate crime-ing them.

We ducked back into the Metra station with 45 minutes to spare before our train home.  We decided to explore all the sights and smells and smells.  We got to see the aforementioned Arby’s homeless man.  We got to see some drunks at the Metra bar yell at the Blackhawks.  We got to hear two men passionately argue across two restroom stalls.  We got to ride every escalator three times. 

Eventually, we made it back to Evanston, where we visited its cultural epicenter, the wine store.

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