Do you ever do something just to figure out how to do it? You can take your car in for an oil change, but do you ever change it just because you want to know how? You could call a plumber, but have you ever replaced your faucet, just to say you did it? How about taking an exit just to find out where it goes, even if you might get lost?
I have been wanting to go to a store called Athleta that has great athletic clothes for women that just opened up recently in Chicago. I always get their mail order catalogs and order online, but to shop in a store and feel the fabrics, try on the sizes, and ooh and ahh at the cool stuff is up my alley.
I really didn't feel like taking a cab and I wanted to save some money, so I decided to be brave and explore the Brown Line. I know, I know...some of you are saying. That's not brave! I take that everyday! Ok, let's think of something YOU haven't done before...ever show a pig? how about do a back tuck? drive to New Jersey before there was GPS? bungee jump? (Ok, I haven't done that last one either.) But seriously, everyone has things they have just never done before. It may not be a big deal if YOU have...but I had never taken the Brown Line. So I recruited my
bravest, agreeable, bored friend and we headed out.
The last time I rode the CTA I was just as unsure, but it seemed easy enough. This time we walked to the Merchandise Mart and went up to the second floor. (Since my son is in school there, I knew there was a stop and I knew there was usually a human being on duty if we had questions.) The lady behind the glass couldn't have been more helpful. (and darn it if I forgot to take a picture of her)
Each ride costs $2.25. Considerably less than a cab. Oh sure, you don't get the death defying thrills that a cab provides or the stories that you can hear from chatty cabbies or the curious scents, but this seemed like a no brainer. We arrived safely enough at the Southport stop and walked approximately, (give or take a few steps) 5 steps out the door to Athleta.
And across the street is this fabulous sight...Ann Sather...queen of the homemade cinnamon roll...next time.
After shopping we asked the clerk where we should go for lunch...a trick I always use when out about in the unknown. Local employees eat out so much that I knew she would have an opinion. She said...this place...
Southport Grocery and Cafe. It is a cute little spot that has DELICIOUS food. We shared a Southport Cuban (a sandwich, that is, not a cigar) and a red velvet cupcake with goat cheese icing....come on now...it is just like cream cheese only a little tangier. It was a fabulous lunch on a 75 degree day out on the sidewalk. (Isn't it comical that eating on the sidewalk is so fun. At another time in history if they had said...I am sorry ma'm. We have no tables left inside, you will just have to eat outside on the sidewalk...people would have been miffed. Now we wait in line to eat outside...on the sidewalk.)
We shopped and explored the street before we jumped back on the Brown Line to head back to the Loop. Nothin' to it.
Leave your comfort zone once in a while. Try doing something just for the sake of figuring it out. (Or because you have an ulterior motive and there is a store you want to find.)