Happy President´s DayI am sitting at my desk, eating a hotdog. There is a Snickers bar waiting for dessert. Normally, a hotdog with Snickers chaser elicits a joy that is not often seen in a post thirty-year-old man without a wad of ones in his hand and women wrestling in pudding nearby. But not today. Today, I have been thinking about Chicago, the place where I enjoyed, for one brief moment, the life of the 1%.

For no particular reason, I throw the remainder of my hotdog in the trashcan.

Three weeks ago I was in Chicago and, though it was fantastic, it has ruined my life. We stayed with Collin’s friends Amy and Dan, who both work at upscale restaurants in downtown Chicago.

Having stayed at campsites and motels for much of the previous two weeks, we were stunned by their beautiful downtown apartment. Welcomed with bourbon Old Fashioneds and snacks, our awe was progressed by breakfast of bagels, coffee and donuts. In the afternoon we feasted on gourmet hotdogs. I had a rattlesnake dog and Collin had an alligator dog, and fries dipped in duck fat lard.

The afternoon was spent at the Chicago Museum of Art, and then the restaurant where Amy works. We sat at a beautiful mahogany bar drinking martinis and Old Fashioneds for four hours. Everyone around us seemed vastly more qualified to take up space at this bar. There were men in suits, and women in nice sun dresses. They were tanned and slim and attractive, or had enough money so that everyone treated them as though they are tanned, slim and attractive. We swiveled on our high-backed bar stools, munching on olives like 1950s businessmen in a swanky bar.

I love life in Prague, and like most other expatriates in this country, I have an enjoyable standard of living. However, I am not rich by any means. In Chicago we were given the opportunity to taste the life of the 1%. And what made it taste sweeter was the fact that we were spies in this house of prominence and exorbitance. I felt like a child allowed to spend the evening at his parents’ cocktail party, shifting through the half empty cups for a precious swallow of warm gin and cigarette butts.

A doorman hailed us a cab and we were on our way to the next stop. As we stepped into the upscale restaurant that Amy’s boyfriend Dan manages, we knew that we were in a place with no prices on the menu and a lobster tank in the back. Both assumptions were correct.

We started with Rye Sazeracs, which are the New Orleans version of an Old fashioned. This meant there was Absinthe involved and a paper fan. We sipped drinks until our appetizers of salmon Pâté and duck liver stuffed in figs came out. Then we drank and ate. We toured the kitchen’s lobster tanks, and a wine cellar with $1000 bottles just staring at us. By the end of the tour we were giddy in the way peculiar to drinking cocktails with top shelf alcohol and eating small amounts of gourmet food. This was accompanied by a palpable buzz of new experience.

I spent the remainder of our time in Chicago immensely entertained by our friends and amazed by the city itself. We continued to be treated like royalty: drinking at the top of the Hancock Building, going to restaurants which employed waiters and table cloths instead of paper smocks and a name-calling system. I flew to Pittsburgh two mornings later and was offered a ham sandwich and a Sprite on the plane, which began my depression. I knew I was going to have a tough recovery period.

Anyway, it must be getting better; I just bought another hotdog.

  1. #1 by Chris on September 17, 2012 - 10:44 pm

    Just goes to show you… No matter where you are… No matter where you go.. No Matter how my much money you make. Everybody loves hot dog sammiches. The end.

  2. #2 by Wesley Culbertson on September 20, 2012 - 7:24 pm

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