Winter in Northern Illinois can lead to hibernation. The 16 hours of darkness and rare sunny day even when it is light invites lethargy. Nonetheless, we must all venture out for entertainment to sustain us through the cold months, so that is what I had planned.
I left for the drive to my hometown around 6:30 pm and it was dark. Luckily I had some music prepared to help me stay awake and get pumped for the night.
We would begin with dinner. We were supposed to go to Fatty's to get their tangy, spicy cajun fried potato salad, but an under-aged guest would prevent us from that plan. Instead we headed to a local standby, O'Leary's.
"I've never seen this place so busy," said my friend's boyfriend.
It was unusual, this was generally a pretty vacant place. "Have they changed something here?" I asked.
Nothing was different, but for some reason the cold weather had others escaping the cave. Once we finally got a table, the eight of us ordered our food and drinks. Everyone around the table worked together, so I was just along for the company.
"They gave us $2 bills as a bonus to spend at local businesses," my friend told me. "Why not spend it on food and drinks!"
We prepared for the night ahead by filling our stomachs. No success could be had unless we were well fed.
Finally it was time to get ready, so we ditched the guys and headed to a friend's apartment. The prepartions entailed a hair curling session and pre-show drink. I was ready, so I mostly sipped on my libation. Since the girls were a little slow moving, I volunteered to go start the car and get it ready. As I walked out a bunch of college kids were partying it up. Apparently they had plenty of alcohol in them because the cold did not seem to phase their bare skin.
The girls came out, ready to go. The two minute drive to the bar was scored by a little "Grease" music. Before the song was over, we were parked and ready to go in. We took our coats off and dashed for the door to reach the warmth.
The initial smell when you walk in is a signature of this bar. It is a combination of stale vomit and beer. Once you are in there for awhile, your senses seem to forget all the unpleasentries.
The band started shortly after our arrival. The crowd continued to push their way to the front. When I looked around I saw kids. It wasn't that long ago that I was in my early twenties, but I don't remember acting like that. Drinks were being spilled, people were bumping into me, and some couples needed to find a more private setting to show their affection.
2 am finally came and I was ready to go. I took the crew home and then began my own journey back to my apartment. The 45 minute drive made me think about how I have changed. When I go to my hometown I am so thankful that I have moved on. But as I drive to my current residence, I wonder where home is.