It was the Saturday after my long night out with the U Chicago law students. The weather was cold and periodically gave way to bouts of rain. I was actually appreciative of this bum weather. I felt it relieved me of any obligation to have a productive day, and I really needed a break. My foot felt even worse than it did the day before due to last night's festivities. I spent this gloomy Saturday on Dave's couch.
I found myself in a predicament. My plan was to go salsa dancing with a dear friend that evening, then do a ride with my buddy up in Milwaukee the following day. Based on the way my foot was feeling, there was no way I was about to ride seventy miles. I called my friend to let him know that I had to cancel our ride. In my mind this was the right thing to do. I was bummed to miss out on the ride, but for the most part everything was still going according to plan. I was still going to go out with my salsa friend, I was still going to do plenty of tourism in Chicago and I was still leaving in one week to go to Colorado. I had convinced myself that giving up the Milwaukee bike ride was a generous concession which would greatly accelerate the healing process. Shoot, when I was a teen I used to get injuries like this left and right and they hardly slowed me down. I was sure that I was doing the mature thing by forgoing the bike ride (but I couldn't concede on the dancing, that was a non-negotiable).
After resting all day, I prepared myself for a night of dancing. I pregamed for the night with a beer and some ibuprofen. Don't worry, I checked the label, there wasn't anything on there about mixing ibuprofen with alcohol...I think. I set out for dinner at a Thai restaurant where I would meet my dear friend, Janelle.
I had known Janelle ever since we took a course on black culture together during freshman year of college. Our professor, Dr. Jared Ball, certainly left an impression on us. I think we both found that his class was at times difficult to stomach. He strove to expose us to the various schools of black thought, paying particular attention to structural factors that inhibit the creation of a more just society. Despite his harsh critiques of capitalist society, this guy LOVED the movie, The Matrix. All things considered, his class was invaluable, challenging and eye-opening.
I describe this course and professor because they provide the perfect anecdote for understanding Janelle. Our final exam consisted of summing up our learnings from the course in an essay and then presenting it to the class. So when it was her turn, Janelle got in front of the class to deliver her well thought out synthesis. She ended her speech by putting down her paper, raising her sight to the class, turning on her big smile and admitting to all, "Basically, I feel like this class showed me the Matrix. Dr. Ball was Morpheus and I was Ne-Yo. At first I wanted to take the blue pill to reject the things he was teaching. In the end I decided to take the red pill." The class was overcome by a wave of smiles, laughs, "aww"s and applause. Needless to say, Janelle got an A+.
Over ten years later, Janelle was still that cheerful, thoughtful young lady I met in college. It was great to hear all about her new life in Chicago and reminisce of the good old days. After dinner we headed to some salsa bar downtown. We had a blast dancing, as we always do. In fact, we had such a good time that we struggled to wrap the evening up. Each time we tried to leave, the live band played some great Chaka Khan remake which lured us back in. Ultimately we were able to get out of there around 1:00. Janelle left in an Uber, I hobbled to the metro and ended up getting home around 3:30.
I awoke on Sunday to the realization that I was a bit of an idiot. No, this wasn't the first time that I discovered my idiocy, but, like an idiot, I had forgotten that I had a tendency to be one and was in need of a reminder. I was feeling like an idiot for having thought that salsa dancing was even remotely okay to do when you are having foot problems. It's not. In fact, it may have been among the least okay things to do. That Sunday morning an even more grave realization dawned upon me: I was injured.
I spent the day on Dave's couch. Contemplating. Would I have to delay my departure date? Did I need to see a doctor? Was my trip over? These unknowns haunted me on this slow Sunday. I wasn't really sure what I needed to do. I figured that it would be best to allow myself some time to heal, which really just meant doing nothing. So that's what I did: Nothing.
My first weekend in Chicago came to a close. Though it was supposed to be my only full weekend in the city, I began to suspect that it might not be. Who knew how bad this injury was. Only time would tell if I would proceed as planned or be forced to reroute.