Yesterday, a lovely Chicago Sunday morning, I awoke to the muffled sounds of people outside our window cheering sporadically. And I remembered, it was the Shamrock Shuffle, an 8k running race.
I like running events. I especially like watching them, cheering them on, while I eat Jays potato chips. Seriously, the good spirit, people cheering on total strangers, it’s kind of contagious, even for curmudgeons like me.
But this one is different. First, It’s April 2. But it’s called the Shamrock Shuffle. Like we don’t get enough faux Irish here in Chicago all year.
To start, you’re not Irish any more than I’m Italian or I’m Serbian, unless you actually were born there, which, in that case, you’re probably not gonna act like an idiot pretending to be Irish.
Second, if you live downtown, St. Patrick’s Day is a train wreck in Chicago. The city dyes the river green and hordes line up to watch that most unnatural act. Parade goers watch that awful toe dancing that that awful man Michael Flatly made popular with that awful Riverdance. People vomit on the street at lunchtime. They wear horrible clothes the color of their vomit.
Do I sound cranky? Well, yes I am. You would be, too, if you lived in downtown and had to put up with this lot. Beth and I were talking about this and she brought up a sort of antidote thought exercise: What if we celebrated St. Joseph’s Day instead?
We’d awake to opera.
Instead of putrid green getups, we’d have men in tailored slacks, fine leather shoes, and fedoras. The women. Oh the women. They’d all be Isabella Rossellini and Sophia Loren. Dressed in sensuously flowing elegance.
We’d sip some deep black espresso in the morning, as we watched gondoliers go by on the Chicago River.
The parade would be short but sweet. Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Alfas. And of course, all led by the sexiest motorcycles in the world, Ducatis, Moto Guzzis and MV Agustas.
Then we’d have a leisurely lunch, antipasto, primo piatti, secondo piatti, all with a fine Italian wine. Then dolce, and a bit of grappa.
Then we’d all go home and nap.
A person can dream.