Spent several days in Chicago this past week.
The whole trip began as a trip to a Jimmy Buffett concert at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin.
Alpine Valley is pretty much equidistant Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago. So, to get to Alpine Valley, it'd mean flying in to either Milwaukee, Madison, or Chicago.
So, where to fly to?
Well, when I think Chicago, I think pizza. Or steak.
When I think Milwaukee, I think beer.
When I think Madison, I think ... our 4th President.
So, since I don't drink beer, and I do like pizza and steak, Chicago was the choice.
Flew in to Chicago last Saturday, rented a vehicle, then drove to the hotel, then to Alpine Valley for the concert, then back to Chicago.
Went to a White Sox game on Sunday. Ate pizza for supper. Chicago style pizza, of course.
That left Monday and Tuesday for sight-seeing in Chicago.
Silly me. I had a vehicle. And figured I'd drive.
Like I said, silly me.
First thing I noticed was that drivers in Chicago blow their horns. A lot.
Thought it was at me, at first. But then, I realized, it wasn't me. Seemed like nearly every driver was blowing their horn.
Then I noticed a pattern.
They only blew their horns when there was a vehicle in front of them. Or behind them. Or beside them. Or in the lane traveling the other way. Or when the sun was out. Or ... well, you get the idea.
I imagine when folks learn to drive in Chicago, lesson one consists of blowing the horn. There is no lesson two.
Anyway, they drove like that on the interstate.
But I made the mistake of driving downtown.
What was I thinking? I wasn't.
It had to be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I've encountered. But, as bad as it seemed to me, who was driving, it was worse on one other person: The Wife.
I didn't raise my voice. I didn't make any gestures. But I wasn't happy about everything. The Wife? She was very unhappy. Cars traveling fast when they could, hitting the brakes when they had to, running red lights, blocking intersections, and blowing their horns. Blowing and blowing their horns.
After a visit to one sight downtown -- the Hancock Observatory -- she was ready to leave downtown Chicago. She'd had enough of the traffic. Me, too, to be honest.
So, back to the interstate and back to the hotel.
Only, of course, the other cars on the roads there were mostly locals. Which meant that not many had to stop and pay tolls. They had I-Passes. So they'd move quickly through the toll booths. Me, though, I'd have to pay the toll.
The toll workers were all polite, smiling, and not at all what one might expect from someone doing a thankless job -- taking money from people who were paying to get in horrible traffic, then taking money from the same people who were paying to get out of that same horrible traffic.
No, the toll workers were the one bright spot. At least, the toll workers we encountered.
But the other drivers ... the Asses with I-Passes ... were often aggravating.
Blowing them horns. Flipping other drivers off. Yelling at other drivers.
I'll never complain about Atlanta traffic again.