When life gives you clusterfucks, pedal gratefully.

Theme of the past two weeks — Clusterf*ck.

Fake Snow Clusterf*ck

I visited Seattle for the first time recently.  Quite lovely!  Their coffeehouses really ARE cool.  I thought the Chicago java-scene was pretty good.  Oh man, we have a lot of catching up to do.  The variety, the natural wood, the hanging art, the mismatched furniture, the sleek yet comfortable design, the walls of colorful books, the quaintness.  We do that.  But they do that better.

This is a Starbucks that serves beer on tap and is trying out the bar/coffeehouse vibe.  That patio come summer is going to be people-watching central.  Boyfriend complained that they served beer in a chilled glass, I guess that’s a no-no?  But the important part of the photo is the snow.  Or the lack there of.  Starbucks baristas were jumping up and down, squealing, and snapping photos of the “snow.”  There was half an inch.  I chuckled to myself.  Cute Seattle-ites.

Then Boyfriend and I tried to find a watering hole later in the day.  Business after business, block after block, everything was dark and shut down.  At first, we thought they just really loved Martin Luther King (it was MLK Day).  But then we saw —

On door after door after door.  It stopped being cute.  More than one sign said, “For the safety of our staff…”  Oh Seattle.  You don’t know snow.  This?  This is someone with a mild case of dandruff sneezing lightly.  But the city quickly became a deserted madhouse, with closed streets, illegal sledding, and pig-noise baristas.

Made me appreciate snow plows, salt, and hearty Midwesterners.

Real Snow Clusterf*ck 

Heavy backpack, sleep in an unfamiliar Starbucks corporate housing bed, slushy, steep hill walks, and an 11:35pm flight back to Chicago led to a re-aggravation of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.  I lay in bed my first couple of days back from Seattle with back spasms of an eighty-three year old.  While I wanted nothing more than to indulge in a Daily Show marathon, I had so many projects to catch up with.  One was a presentation that I was giving at Lean StartUp later in the week.

I pushed aside all of the “Must do this now!” items on my To Do List and diligently crafted my How To Make A Living Doing What You Love story.  Creating a Prezi is not easy when groaning, horizontal, and typing on a laptop propped up by pillows.  But I finished just in time.  And then it started snowing.

The thought of trudging downtown through the wintery mess 6pm on a Friday night with a screeching back was not appealing in the least.  I hadn’t showered or been out of pajamas in two days.  Maybe I should back out?  But as a constant host and event planner, I know how frustrating it is when people cancel last minute, either as participants or as audience members.  So a few hours after I got the 2:48pm email telling us the event was still on as scheduled, I winced, slowly cocooned myself in outerwear and an I feel great! smile, and headed out.

A thirty-minute train ride and a twenty-minute frustrating IKEA moment — you can see the huge blue and yellow store right there but can’t get to it due to a maze of confusing driveways and highway exits; construction had the building where I was going completely blocked off save for a ridiculously hard to get to unmarked entrance — I arrived.  Weird-sweaty (hot in freezing weather), I signed in, got a badge, rode up to the seventeenth floor, and introduced myself to the hosts.

“I’m sorry.  Due to the weather, we only have time for Kevin to speak.”

I didn’t know who Kevin was but I immediately hated him.  I leaked my best That’s ok, I know it’s not your fault, what good is it going to do anyone for me to be annoyed? sentiments and trudged back into the snow.  Two-hour, $4.50 trip that took me from my house to my house.  Awesome.

I arrived home to find Boyfriend.  Decided to let go of my annoyance and view the situation from a “Now I get to hang out with someone I really like!” stance.  We playfully walked a few blocks to Riverview Tavern (thank you Chicago businesses for remaining sane and open during snow!), hand-holding and climbing snow drifts, and talked about how to world dominate via entrepreneurism over burgers and fries.

What Happens When People Are Open to Scary Yet Fun Clusterf*ck 

The new Fear Experiment class started.  (Recently featured on Gapers Block!)

Twenty non-dancers and eighteen non-improvisers sign up alone to work with a group of folk they don’t know and a teacher for three months learning their non-craft in preparation for performing in front of what last year was a sold-out 700 member Park West audience; gaining a few more seats due to not building out the stage, 750 are expected this year.

Would you have guessed that these people met just ninety-minutes before this photo was taken?  Positivity, energy, and laughter has been radiating since Day 1.  Incredibly uplifting to witness.

Public Radio Clusterf*ck

WBEZ had a wonderful idea to host a free Make Your Own Job event, where you could pick up some tax, legal, and funding tips along with a helping of inspiration.

WBEZ had a not-thought out idea of no registration required.  I biked up to Catalyst Ranch and saw a line about sixty deep hopping from foot to foot outside the front door.  After about twenty minutes, I made it inside the lobby and was greeted with “We’re at capacity upstairs.  You can put your name on the wait-list.  There are about eighty people ahead of you.”

I hung out in the lobby for another twenty minutes or so.  All of the work I had to get done weighed heavily on my mind; I decided to go home.

Another wasted two-hours.  I pedaled steeped in annoyance.

As I diagonal’ed it up Elston, I recalled the numerous people in line holding leather-portfolios of resumes and dressed in obvious I’m trying to make a good impression; please hire me! suits.  I went to the event to take a break from work.  To have fun.

I thanked the universe I wasn’t one of the suits and continued pedaling the rest of the way home steeped in gratitude.