Friday, October 27, 2017

Me Too Dave

Mrs. Noisewater and I just got back from a trip to Ireland for a wedding. Her parents came all the way out from California to stay at our place in Chicago with Baby Noisewater while we were gone. We are so lucky to have family to do things like that for us, but truth be told, they cannot get enough of the little guy and were sad to go back. He is a charmer.

Baby Noisewater Cheerios Head
The 500th book Baby Noiseater made grandpa read to him.
We learned something right away on our travels, and that is this: Traveling without a kid is really damn easy. All we had to do was get ourselves on the plane on time. No strollers, no putting all kinds of baby stuff through security, no security opening our bags because formula looks like coke, and no chasing crawling baby around while waiting for the flight. We even had a few drinks. Why in the hell did I bitch about traveling back when I had no kids? Also, what in the hell did I do with all that free time before we made a baby? If you said blog a heck of a lot more, you wouldn't be wrong. I'm doing the best I can, my friends.

So it rains a lot in Ireland. Did you know that? I have been there twice now, and I think that I enjoyed about 30 minutes of sunshine. Total. I ran twice while out there this time, and I did document some beautiful blue skies while they came out so briefly, plus a fantastic rainbow. I don't think the photo truly does it justice. That was the happiest I was. Except for when I was laughing about the guy I would meet later that day . . .

And if you said I should have kept running towards it to find a pot of gold, you're not the only one.
Mrs. Noisewater, her friend McDonald, and myself went to The Little Museum of Dublin, which we thought was a bunch of miniatures on display. In reality, it is a small building with tiny rooms with various exhibits of human-sized items. Very quaint. On our way out a local told us that we should go around the corner to see the smallest bar in Ireland (and some claim the world's smallest bar). They aren't lying - It is a cramped, little bar, and there is no way it is a approved by any fire marshal worth his salt. You go down a narrow staircase into a shoebox of a tavern with extremely low ceilings. And with what can only be a cruel joke, a 6 foot 4 man tends bar, literally ducking his head under beams to pour the drinks. He had to have banged his noggin a few dozen times before conditioning himself to bow under each time he steps forward.

The moment we set foot in there, four men in ties swarmed Mrs. Noisewater. I asked one of them to take our picture, and the man who called himself Dave put his arm around her and said, "sure" . . . waiting for me to take a picture. He knew damn well that I didn't want a picture with his stupid ass in it.

I said, "No, sir. I mean can you take a picture of me, my wife, and my friend?"

"Oh this is your wife?" He replied. "Sure, all take your picture." But then as he was taking the shot, one of his other pervert friends jumped in front to photo bomb and flicked the bird.

Running along this bridge on either side was good fun. I should have took a picture of the bridge going across that looked like a giant harp.
If Mrs. Noiswater was at all flattered by the attention these business men were showing her, that quickly faded when she would see those boys stand at the bottom of the staircase pouncing on every female who set foot in there. These lads certainly fished with a big net. We sat and laughed with our pints as we watched Dave crash and burn with two lovely ladies. When they walked away to sit at a table, undeterred, he followed them there and joined them. They pretty much politely told him that they would rather he go away so that they could talk to one another about something, but he did not abandon ship just yet. Dave sat and waited for a moment to interject something and get back into the conversation, and when one of them talked about someone they know, perhaps one of their boyfriends, Dave blurted out loudly, "He sounds like a dick!" I laughed so hard that I nearly spit  Guiness all over that little place.

As funny as it was to watch, it also grew a little uncomfortable to watch these guys harass lady after lady. So we decided to leave. Later, McDonald and I were saying how anyone who came in contact with Dave and his merry band of perverts would instantly have one of those "#me too" stories that have been going around the internet. For this reason, we dubbed the man Me Too Dave, or #MeTooDave, if you prefer. Now, I don't at all intend to make light of anyone who has experienced harassment of any kind. It's truly an awful thing. But what we saw Dave doing was more along the lines of hitting on everything that moves and not taking no for an answer . . . Okay, fine. It was straight up harassment and pretty much wrong. But it was hard not to keep laughing any time one of us, during a quiet moment, would say Me Too Dave.

And with this last picture of an Irish sunrise, I wish you good day or goodnight.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Beer For the Runners

First let me get this out of the way. My son was eating chili with his hands and got it all over his sweatpants. I thought Chili Sweatpants might be a good band name, or perhaps a good album title. Mrs. Noisewater thought that should go on the blog, so there it is. Chili Sweatpants on that ass.

In other news . . .

I got an email about volunteering for the Chicago Marathon, and I saw it as a sign because I always told myself I needed to do that some day. When I ran my one and only full marathon years ago I had no one supporting me. I was so thankful for all the volunteers and random people along the way cheering my name (I had my name written on my chest, which I highly recommend for this reason). I saw this email as a good opportunity to make good on my promise to give back.

After registering online the confirmation email gave me my assignment: It said I would be giving out the free beer to the runners. Oh hell yes. I was made for this job.

When I got there the row of taps on the sunny side were all taken, and very few of the early finishing runners were coming to the dark side. Zero of the wheelchair participants (who have the early start time) came our way, and the few really competitive guys, mostly Kenyans, that came through didn't want the beer anyway. Here is a rough estimate of beer consumption based on levels of performance.

2 hour finishers: 1 out of 10 drink the beer. They all look like their entire body has gone into shock, and some are close to throwing up. One guy was wretching, and while I felt odd offering a gagging person a beer, I felt it my duty to put it out there to everyone. To be honest, some of them were so out of it after what they put their bodies through that they didn't even notice there was free beer to be had. I haven't reached the level of exhaustion where I don't notice free beer, but maybe I'm just not working hard enough. Or maybe I'm just a drunk.

3 hour finishers: 3 out of 10 drink the beer. There are fewer Kenyans now, and a few more beer swillers.

4 hour finishers: 6 out of 10 drink the beer. Now we're having some fun. I basically never have to stop pouring by this time. It's a waterfall.

5 hour finishers: Somewhere between 8 and 9 out of 10 drink the beer. And every 10 minutes someone asks if it's okay to drink two. I usually would say, "No, sir. We are not allowed to do that," as I winked at him and handed him his second. Other times I would say, "Sure, to hell with it. What are they going to do, fire me? I'm a volunteer! Drink up!" Like I said, I was made for this job.

I noticed that the maintenance guys going around to check on the kegs, replace them, and pour more ice were drinking the whole time. I didn't believe in drinking on the job myself, especially during the morning. However, we reached a point where my shift was officially over and there were still runners coming through. I couldn't just pack it in and leave after all these hard-working, albeit slower, marathoners were still trickling through the finish and every bit in need of beer as their speedier cohorts. There was no way I was leaving my post. However, since my shift time was officially over and since it was beyond noon, I figured now was an excellent time to drink on the job.

It got a lot more fun at this point. One for you, one for me. I remember one guy saying, "Can I get one more beer for my wife?" I said to him, "You don't need a story, sir. I remember on Halloween asking for one more Snickers for my little brother. I didn't have a little brother. Still don't. Here's your second beer, sir. For your knees."

I was getting a bit of a buzz on and no longer had to be jealous of them getting to drink while I had to "work," but here's the thing: I had to admit that I was a little jealous of them running the race. That feeling started for me on the train ride downtown. I was thinking back to the nerves I had the morning of the race and the fantastic playlists I made to push me through.

So I decided to sign up for next year's Chicago Marathon. I think my plan will be to run it every other year with the alternating years tapping those kegs of Goose Island 312 wheat beer and handing cups of it out to the athletes with a smile on my face all day long. It will be a fine pattern for me every fall.