June 28, 2005

Contagion in the City Part 2

Day two in Chicago started off pretty well. I slept until 7:00 am. Normally I’m at work by 6:30, since my class didn’t start until 9:00 AM I wasn’t about to get up as early as I normally do. I had room service breakfast, the food was pretty good. However, you have to keep in mind I had Bacon and Eggs, it’s pretty hard to screw up bacon and eggs.

I left for work about half an hour before I had to be there. I had less then a block to walk so I was early. People in my office where supposed to run reports for me on my customized report database. None of them had ever done this before. I had been trying to teach them how to do it for the week before I left, but they would continually screw it up. I wanted to make sure I was at a phone that I could call them with time to spare if I needed to walk them through the process. When I called they advised me they had it all figured out and there weren’t any problems. Off to the classroom I went with a good 20 minutes to kill.

The only other person in the classroom upon my arrival was the instructor. I had him for an intermediate level of this class about 8 months ago. To say I was surprised when he recognized me is an understatement. Class went off with out any problems. I tended to get ahead of the class by going through the book and doing my own thing, This would annoy the other people taking the class as when they would try to look to see what I had done, I was on at least one full lesson ahead of them.

During our first break I decided to go up and say hi to one of my mentorees. We had talked via e-mail and the phone, but we had never met as mentor to mentoree. The only time I had met her face-to-face was last November in Texas at a conference. The thought of telling her I was coming into corporate headquarters never crossed my mind. Mainly because this trip was for training, it had nothing to do with neither my normal duties nor mentoring. Security was able to supply me with her location in the building. Her desk was easy enough to find and as I walked up I noticed she was on the phone. Being courteous, I waited for her to finish he call before I started talking to her. She had various signs and memos on her walls so I started reading those. A memo on inventory control particularly held my attention. I hadn’t notice she finished her call until she turned to get up from her desk. She hadn’t noticed me come up to her desk, so when she saw me she jumped for the ceiling and did a muffled scream. It’s amazing how many people have that reaction to my presence.

She inquired as to why I was there, and I explained the whole class thing. I didn’t have a lot of time to talk left as my break was almost over so I told her I go to lunch at noon and suggested she should take her lunch then as well. We agreed to meet in the cafeteria at noon. After we found a table I just started talking to her about various things. It was about half way through lunch she asked me what I wanted to talk to her about. I stopped, looked at her and told her, “Nothing, I was just being social.” Come to find out she had lunch plans but thought I was telling her she had to go to lunch with me. She canceled her lunch plans to have a “mandatory” lunch with me. Trying not to laugh, I explained that no, I just was being social. There was nothing of any importance I needed to discuss with her. Then I explained that I don’t know many people in Chicago and I just didn’t want to eat lunch alone.

When class was over I went to the best Irish pub that I have ever been to. Fado’s Irish Pub has great Irish food, an unbelievable atmosphere and great prices on their drinks for Chicago. The interior of the pub was once a pub in Ireland that was shipped over piece-by-piece and reassembled. It’s just something you have to see to believe. I’ve eatern there before and I love the place. Plus there was no way in hell I was going back to the hotel restaurant and since they also did the room service I wasn’t about to trust that either!

They were having a celebration last week because they where going to sell their millionth pint of Guinness by the end of the weekend. I saw the signs and when the waitress came to take my order I told her I wanted a Pint of Guinness and the corned beef and cabbage. I was in an Irish pub of course I’m drinking a Guinness. Plus then I can help take credit for them selling a million pints of the black gold. The waitress leaves when this guy comes up and asks me if I’d be willing to take a survey, he’d give me $5 for my time. I thought, sure why not, I’m by myself so it’s not like he is interrupting an important conversation I was having with the table ad. I tell him to go ahead and sit down. I’d be more then happy to answer his questions.

He tells me he is doing a survey for Guinness and has 27 questions to ask. The first question out of his mouth was, “When was the last time you ordered a Guinness?” My smart arse responds with, “About 20 seconds before you sat down.” His next question was, “Over the last year, about how much alcohol do you think you drank?” I just started laughing, he couldn’t say over the last month, or last 3 months not even 6 months. He had to go a year. I have drastically cut back my drinking since February. I had actually given up all drinking for two and a half months. I had a bottle of Seagram’s in my fridge for over 4 months. That was unheard of in my house. To steal a line I heard from Grau; I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings. Once re-enacting season started I picked up drinking again, but nowhere near as heavy as I had been. I would go through a bottle of whisky about every 7-10 days. I would mix in a good helping of beer in with that. There for I answered him with, “More then I can count.” He wanted a rough estimate, so I told him, on average over the last year probably about 10 cases of beer and 32 bottles of liquor. The guy kind of chuckled and told me not to worry, he had a guy earlier that day reply with about a two cases a week. He then started asking me questions about the beers I liked and what I knew of them. I made him and the tables around me laugh when he asked me to rank beers in the order of preference and one of them was Corona. In all seriousness I told him that any beer you have to put a lime in the bottle to make it drinkable is not a good beer. The only time I drink Corona is when it is given to me and there is nothing else and even I have been known to go with out then to drink a Corona.

Then the guy started asking me about this new beer from Guinness called Smithwicks. Until that time I had never heard of it. During the survey as questions were asked, more often then not I had a smart arse answer to them. Question: What is the main reason you would drink a Guinness? Answer: I woke up. Each answer was completely serious, it just came across as funny. One of the last questions was; would you be willing to try Smithwicks knowing Guinness makes it? My answer was, actually I was going to try one next. I’ll try any beer once. After the survey as I was ordering a Smithwicks to see what it was like, the guy told the waitress to add it to his tab. He said that he appreciated my blunt honesty and the fact that I was trying the beer on his recommendation. He still gave me the $5.00 and bought me a pint. If you are wondering the Smithwicks was pretty good. It’s no Guinness.

After I left the pub I decided to walk back to the hotel, no need to spend $7.00 counting tip for a ride. It was a hot night, but the wind off of the lake made it seem not as bad. When I arrived back at the hotel I was going to watch another movie, however the hotels video on demand was broken so I ended up watching Gladiator on TBS. It was the best thing on and it’s still a horrible movie.

Posted by Contagion in Tales from the Work Place at June 28, 2005 06:09 PM

I'm glad you were able to contribute to our future in beer!

Posted by: Sissy at June 28, 2005 07:33 PM

Hmm. I'll have to tell TGOO about Smithwycks or whatever it is. He's a Guiness drinker... amongst others.

Posted by: Bou at June 28, 2005 10:22 PM

You are something else!

Posted by: vw bug at June 29, 2005 05:39 AM

I tended to get ahead of the class by going through the book and doing my own thing, This would annoy the other people taking the class as when they would try to look to see what I had done, I was on at least one full lesson ahead of them.>/i>

I tend to do that also, because it seems I always get the very slow idiots in my classes who can not figure out how to do anything.

Posted by: Machelle at June 29, 2005 07:54 AM

"it’s pretty hard to screw up bacon and eggs" reminds me of an old joke (stop me if you've heard this one). A guy walks into a diner and when the waitress comes over he orders two fried eggs with runny yolks but burnt black on the edges, raw bacon, and toast that's burnt on one side but not toasted on the other. When the waitess protests, "Sir, I can't bring you food like that!" he says, "Why not? That's what you served me yesterday!"

Posted by: Susie at June 29, 2005 09:36 AM

Getting PAID to drink Guinness?

Isn't that the punchline to "What happens to an Irishman in Heaven"?

Posted by: Harvey at June 30, 2005 10:24 AM