Up well before the lark had even got out of REM sleep this morning, for it was the whole reason myself and the whole Mr JRME clan are in Chicago: Papa-MrJR and Brother-MrJR wanted for some reason to get hideously sweaty and out of breath and red-raw among 40,000 other people. Ha ha, that could have two meanings! Good thing I meant they were here for the world's biggest incestuous orgy. Wouldn't want there to be any misunderstandings.
Nope. Chicago marathon, stoopid. And as we wended our way to the El station at the ungodly hour of 5:30am, we encountered a merry group of Boystown revellers who were heading home. They were, to turn a phrase, screaming. And also, literally, screaming. After finding out I was from London, they screamed happily at me for a while, but then I was well and truly trumped by the Japanese cutie hoving into view. They damn near squealed themselves inside out on learning that she hailed from Tokyo, even though she doesn't. "Fashion capital of the world, bitch!" they yelled happily into her rather startled face, causing a great deal of cross-cultural misunderstanding and nearly the start of a minor war. Once it had been explained that they meant it in a nice way and everyone had put down their weapons, they wished us well, and we boarded the most irritatingly healthy and fit train ever seen in human history; several hundred marathon runners, one passed-out dude with slowly-encrusting dribble forming a stalactite from his snoring face, and me and Mr JRME bringing down the attractiveness averages admirably.
Not that we cared. Cos once we'd waved the stupid idiots off for their five-hour long run, it was fatty-fat breakfast time!
In deference to the stupid idiot runners pounding past the pavement next to our magnificent diner, I got fruit instead of bacon on top of my corned beef hash. FRUIT. What else do you want from me, people? Jesus.
I've never been to a marathon before: it's an awful lot like being hypnotised by the entire cast of Logan's Run who are all, in turn, taking part in a huge real-life re-enactment of Where's Wally. Rows and rows and rows and rows of identically dressed, shiny, healthy human specimens, each more shiny and healthy than the last, all flitting past in a never-ending parade of white earphones and self-satisfaction. It really is quite mesmerising, especially if you're trying to look out for someone and you've forgotten what they're wearing, what the, er... who...you...feeling...so...sleepy...
You get the picture.
I can only blame the discombobulation caused by the sheer mass of passing humanity, and the unseasonable bloody gorgeous sunshine, and the fourteen cups of Gatorade I snafued from various tables around the route (there were plenty more! I only could have contributed to the dehydration comas of two, three athletes, tops) for the fact we ended up in the Elephant and Castle! BRITISHER PUB!
Or, if you prefer, and this is an exact representation of how I remembered this scene when addled with Chicago sunbeams and pints of Tennants (yes really)...
Well, it's 27th November. I think we can safely say I ran out of steam with this whole travel blog thing. I can only apologise. The rest of the trip passed along in a haze of, yes, more food, a couple of hazardously trippy nights on incredibly strong American cold medication, and thanks to a strange cable channel, the entire back catalogue of the IT Crowd and Monty Python.
And one evening in a comedy club on 23rd street where I found myself standing at the closed bar while some US guy made a mildy amusing quip about all cats being gay last for a full, tortuous 2o minutes. And the two lone figures accompanying me at the bar, within breathing and, dare I say, slight licking and nibbling distance? Adam Buxton and Simon Amstell. And then? As I drew breath to let fly my torrent of maniacal praise and admiration which would have rendered them deaf, dumb and impressed to death, an officious little prick of a woman moved me on because I was standing near a fire exit, and another dream died on the streets of New York.
God, I love New York. And I love YOU.