I woke up with the following pieces of paper stuffed in my pockets, various lists of places to go and people to talk to in the city, I am thrilled with the people here.

I don’t know how to describe Chicago at all, and as I’ve mentioned before I write like a 5th grader with ADHD. It’s taken three days to stop comparing it to NYC but that’s left me without a solid line or two to summarize.

The friendliness is impressive, I am not exactly outgoing, I sit in a coffee shop or a cocktail bar with my drink and a book and pretty much just wait and see what happens, if the place is nice and has AC and I am left alone then that is great, if someone engages and we go off on an adventure then that is even better.

I stopped in at a few little neighborhood bars last night before finding the right one on about round three, or perhaps it’s after three rounds that a bar becomes the right one, not sure. In any case this bar, Matchbox, was perfect, it was suggested to me by the people I met at Richard’s Bar on night one, it took some time for the staff to soften and for me to melt but in the end I was yet again being forbidden from paying for drinks, even my own, and woke up this morning with a handful of slips of paper in various handwriting all instructing me on where to go and who to meet and what to eat and drink in the rest of the city.

Because I forgot my camera at home this trip I haven’t really been taking a lot of photos, I have a couple from the fellows at Matchbox last night but they are blurry beyond use. The ice broke like this:

(I forget their names, they wrote them down for me to pass along to another place on their list but I cannot read what they wrote)

Bartender One: “Did you ever go pick up that sweet guitar?”
Bartender Two: “The Epiphone?”
One: “Yeah, that sweet Epiphone, don’t let that sit in a basement man, baby blue or not”
Me: “What, you have some original baby blue Casino locked away in Mom’s basement?”
Both burst out laughing and confirm that is exactly the case (Epiphone Casino’s were really special guitars).

It may sound dreamy or perhaps too literal but I feel like the social skills I’ve been working at improving in recent years are now a set of keys and each person, place or situation I come across while solo-travelling is a door, try them all and eventually the evening lets you in.

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