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That Toddlin' Town

A few years ago now, I made a bet with Neil that I could build him a helicopter that wouldn't crash. I lost. Thankfully, Neil survived the disaster, and ever since then I have owed him dinner at Alinea. It turns out that he will be at some big book thing (American Library Association? I think that might be it) in Chicago this weekend, and I'm not busy, so I am flying to Chicago to pay off my bet. I'm greatly looking forward to seeing Neil and eating at Alinea again, but aside from that other little trip to Chicago when we were still in post-K exile, just to see civilization again, this will be my first trip outside Louisiana/Mississippi since 2005. I'm certain I'll have a good time once I get there, but I'm also certain that the only thing that will compel me to get on that plane will be the thought of my dear friend's disappointment if I don't show up. Scared. I'm really doing it and I am flat-out dead-eye Jesus-praying scared, even though I'm only staying overnight. Oh well, it will be good practice for the Amsterdam trip in November ...

(By the way, anyone who wants to see an actual display of courage, as opposed to my whining about a four-hour jaunt, should go to Alinea's press page and read the second story from the top, "Burned" from Chicago Magazine. It's a grueling and fascinating account of 33-year-old Chef Grant Achatz's battle with stage 4 cancer of the tongue, of all things, his insistence on individualized treatment, how the experience has changed his already complex food theories, and his journey back to taste, which is still in progress. May God and all the saints bless him.)


Jul. 7th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
very cool

if you're ever in Boston...

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