Tonight I had dinner with a group of guys from work. We had traditional deep dish style Chicago pizza at Gino’s East at Wells and Ontario in downtown Chicago.
The Pizza was good, especially if you love deep dish smothered in tomato sauce. Personally I’m a bigger fan of thin crust New York style pizza. But hey, I’m not complaining. Anyway, after we pigged out on pie and it was time to to back to the hotel, we had a decision to make.
Should we take a cab? Or should we just walk – even though it’s -8 degrees outside? (That’s -22 celcius for my friends across the pond…)
So, I fired up the old iPhone and brought up Google Maps. It’s a great little app because you can put in any address and tell it to navigate you to that spot from where you are. You can even tell it if you’re in a car or walking. When I put in the hotel address it informed me that the walking time was going to be 9 minutes over a distance of half a mile.
This didn’t help with the decision process. I mean, if it had been like a mile, there is no way we would have walked. If it was like 3 blocks, we were totally down with it. But damn if it didn’t split the distance perfectly!
Now, as one of my favorite comedians on Comedy Central once advised… “always do what makes for the best story!” So, we decided to hoof it.
So, my buddy Chris from Layered Tech and I headed out from Erie and Ontario going west for about 4 blocks. At first, the night air felt tingly and cold. I would say that on exposed skin it kind of felt as if you had misted ice cold water. It really wakes you up.
Now, I had been carrying my Canon XHA1 camcorder with me so I could transfer some video we shot at the office once I got back to the hotel room, and I decided to use the camera feature and snap a few photos along the way.
At first it was all fun and games. Although Chris wasn’t too amused by my stopping to take pictures. But we plodded on. After about two blocks, the complaining began. We both started commenting about just how damn cold it was. At this point, the exposed surfaces, like your nose and lips, are getting as cold as if you had been outside for hours in merely cold weather.
But we continued on. As we were walking past the metal street lights, I triple dog dared Chris to stick his tongue on one of them like the kid in A Christmas Story. He almost did it too! But sanity got the best of him. I should have waited till it was a little colder because his common sense might have shut down, and then we’d have a REAL story to tell.
Anyway, by the time we got near the halfway point we passed this giant McDonalds. I’m not kidding, the thing occupies like a city block. By this time there was a lot of whining going on, and I suggested we stop in there and warm up. Hot chocolate was sounding mighty good. But Chris was not having any of that. We set out to go half a mile, and neither hell nor high water was going to stop him from doing it.
As we finally arrived at Dearborn Street and began making our way up to the hotel, we were getting freakin cold. I remember remarking at that point that I could barely feel my fingers. And on top of that, I also remember saying that breathing was getting painful. The cold air was stinging my throat and nostrils.
But we kept going.
Two more blocks, and even Chris was really complaining at this point. The remarks were something like this, “I’ve never been this cold in my life.” To make matters worse, the wind was picking up on Dearborn, and we seemed to be walking right into it. With the wind chill it was like -17 degrees!
When we finally neared the hotel, we were passing a corner bar, and these three people were standing outside smoking on the corner. With no freakin jackets on! Now, they may have been inside getting liquored up, but I just can’t imagine standing out there for even 3 minutes trying to suck in that nicotine. I mean, you have to be really dedicated to killing yourself to do that!
As we arrived at the hotel we were both feeling pretty relieved, and Chris decided that just to make a point he was going to lay down in the snow and make a freakin snow angel!!!! The only problem was, by this time my camcorder was literally freezing up. It had gotten so cold that the LCD screen could no longer really refresh, and this meant I couldn’t see what pictures I was taking. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I was getting anything.
When we entered the building and began trying to remove some of our clothing, I noticed that my thighs, which my jeans had been clinging to in the head on wind, were actually burning. That’s right, they felt hot! They were so cold that they were burning! I didn’t know that could even happen.
So, what I learned was that even though we were all bundled up, and only took about 15 minutes to get from point A to point B, that kind of temperature is absolutely unbearable, and a human can not really survive very long in that weather. So, when they tell you that you should stay inside when it’s this cold out, they have good reason to give that advice.
Still, I’d do it all over again just for the experience.