White Shirt Blues
Daniel and I were twenty miles into our mission to visit my sister Amy when it dawned on me I was wearing a white shirt. I don’t know why I bother owning white shirts; they don’t stay white very long. It may be food, it may be drink, but something will end up staining the shirt. And once that happens, I get a small pity sound from Meka and yet another shirt I can wear when I do work around the house. I decided I would make my stand. It was going to be a full day in Chicago, but I promised myself I would end the day with a white (and only white) shirt.
“I’m hungry,” said Daniel. It had been almost half an hour since we ate. There was a Burger King at the next exit. We stopped and went inside. There would be no drive thru eating while wearing a white shirt. I ordered a Whopper with nothing on it. Daniel got a burger and fries.
“What do you want to drink?” I asked.
“Fanta,” he replied. I looked at the drink station. They had Fanta, but only in grape.
I used to work in fast food, so I know how the drink stations work. I pressed the Fanta button and stepped to the side so the first few purple drops of soda hit my arm instead of my shirt. I could wash my arm. I dropped the drinks off at the table and stopped Daniel from banging on the ketchup packets with his fists before disaster ensued.
It took us an hour and a half to get to Amy’s place. We met her and took the bus to the lake. We were packed in like – well – like people on a bus. Sardines have it easy. I was bumped and bruised and elbowed on occasion, but I managed to avoid any spills and any stroller children with candy. The beach was nice. We walked along the retaining walls across from Navy Pier. Occasionally a wave would rush up and splash us with spray. I thanked my lucky stars we weren’t being splashed by the Chicago River.
Daniel invented some games with a little rubber ball he found in the park. I forget what they were called, but they all seemed to require fishing said ball out from under bushes and flower boxes. Still, my shirt stayed clean through the afternoon. Food in Chicago is expensive, but Subway had a deal on a couple of footlongs for just five dollars. We ordered meatball marinara sandwiches. I pulled one out of the bag and unwrapped it before remembering what color shirt I was wearing.
Daniel finished long before I did, even Amy sat and watched as I delicately nibbled at my sandwich to avoid any red spots on my shirt. That had to be a first. Dessert was chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven with the chocolate still gooey. Again, not a single spot and I washed my hands like a surgeon afterwards to avoid any secondary staining.
All in all it was a good day. Daniel and I had fun with Amy. We had fun wandering around the city. We stopped back at her apartment before heading home and I inspected my shirt in the bathroom mirror. Nothing. The shirt was still white except for a dark mosquito on my shoulder in mid-bite. I slapped it and came away with a long streak of blood on my shirt.