Lately, my sleep schedule back home has had me dozing off around 5 pm and sleeping away most of the evening so I was pretty exhausted by the time we got back from dinner. I ended up chatting with John for a bit before it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. I slept pretty fitfully but that was to be expected. I never sleep all that well when on the road due to various reasons. I think I must've woke up around 8-9 times during the night due to one reason or discomfort or another.
John had mentioned going to get a burger for lunch at this steak place he knew and it sounded like a pretty good idea to me. I'm not exactly a burger connoisseur but I still remember having the best burger of my life while at Origins. I was out with Chelle and Todd and their friends and it was either a bison or buffalo restaurant. I always get the two mixed up. Anyway, I just went with good ol' american ground beef and it was still the best I had ever tasted. I was looking forward to seeing how this steak place would match up. We hailed a cab and on the ride over spent some time talking with the cab driver about Hot Dougs. I've mentioned the place before on previous Chicago trips and the cabbie was saying how it was baffling to him why people would travel all that way for a hotdog. He apparently has tourists taking $30 cab rides from the loop to get there, and all to pick up a dog or two. We were trying to explain why such a trip was worth the effort and suggested that the next time he got a fare to the place that he should just pick a hotdog or sausage too.
Anyway, we got to our destination and I was fumbling around with my badge holder for the fare. The total was something like $6.50 but the guy had been genial and so I gave him a $10. John and I walked into the restaurant and just as we were approaching the table and about to sit down, I thought to myself that I should take a picture of the nice table setting. That immediately made me realize that I no longer had my camera bag on me. SHIT. I informed John and we both scrambled out, but the taxi was long gone. I was at a complete loss. I hadn't paid any real attention to the cab itself and couldn't remember a god damn thing about it. There are probably dozens of cab companies in chicago and it was a slim to none chance that I would ever see my digital camera or the flip mino again. Even worse, I didn't have my name or any contact information in the bag so even if the driver were inclined to return the items, he wouldn't know how to do it.
I hadn't brought my cell phone out with me but John had his and he started to randomly call up cab companies. He thought that the cab was white, which was already more detail than I had managed to recollect and started dialing 411 and getting the number of every white cab company we saw passing by on the street. I'll tell you one thing. You never realize just how many fucking cabs are in a city like Chicago until you stand on a street corner and watch each one pass by. We must've stood outside like that for 10-15 minutes before going back into the restaurant in a pretty resigned mood. At that point there was nothing to do but make the best of it so we sat down for lunch.
As for the meal itself, it was a very good burger. I also got a bowl of the cream of spinach soup as a means of self-comfort. Any cream-based soup usually makes me feel better and I was feeling pretty crappy at the time. During the entire meal, I kept looking out the window and just hoping and praying that somehow, the cabbie would show back up. The annoying part is that even if he did, I wouldn't have recognized his cab or even what he looked like. I just hadn't been paying any real attention during the ride down. Just as we finished our meals and were sitting around, I saw a cab pass by in front where the driver seemed to be looking into the stores along the street rather than straight ahead. I looked at John questioningly, and he took off like a bat out of hell, chasing the cab down the street. I would have followed him but I couldn't leave the restaurant. We had just finished our meals after all and I didn't want the waiter to think we were bailing on the check. I began pacing around inside the restaurant, uncertain if it was even the right cab. Minutes passed and John didn't return. The longer it took, the more hopeful I became that maybe it was the right cab. After all, if it wasn't, he would have just come right back, right? Well, unless he ended up having to chase after it down multiple blocks.
After what seemed like an eternity, John came jogging back with my camera bag in his hand. Yay! It turns out that one of the cab companies that he had random dialed had been right and the cabbie heard the radio call about the bag. Instead of dropping it off at the cab company's home office, he decided to go around the block a couple times and look for us. John had actually seen him loop around the first time and figured it was him when he saw the cab come around again. John gave the guy his emergency $50 bill as a reward and I reimbursed him for it. $50 was a pretty cheap price to pay considering that it was over $350 worth of electronics in there. Not to mention that now I can still take pictures and video when I get down to True Realm.
On the way back to his place, John and I stopped by a Burger King so I could pick up some food for later. He and Melissa had been planning for ages to go to something called Whiskey Fest, which is basically a wine tasting sort of convention but for Whiskey. He hadn't realized that it would occur during my visit until just recently. I guess I could have tagged along but tickets were $80 and I don't drink. It just seemed like it would be a waste of funds given that. So he and Melissa trekked off for it around 4pm and I've been loafing around here ever since. All in all, it's been a pretty good day.