last Saturday night, i went out to Chief O'Neill's with my roommate Christina and another friend Robert, just for a drink and some conversation. for those of you who don't know the Chief's, it's an irish pub on the north side, the place where i used to run trivia. it's a couple blocks from the hackerspace, and it's usually pretty quiet and low-key.
i say usually, because last Saturday things got a little interesting.
maybe half an hour after we had gotten to the bar, our friend said we should turn around and take a look behind us, toward the bar. the first thing i saw was a little kid, and i wondered what was so interesting about that. (yes, Chicago bars are 21-and-over, but this place does enough business in food that it must fall under some kind of restaurant provision instead.) he told us to look up.
looking up, i laid eyes on the most perfect helmet of politician hair on earth: it was the one, the only...Rod Blagojevich.
we immediately cracked up; what were the odds that our former governor would be hanging out at the same bar where we were? part of me just wanted to leave him alone. he's a person, too, and he was there just hanging out with some people, having a drink, talking...basically, there for the same reason i was there that night. but, on the other hand, he is the former governor of our state and a rather interesting character, and he had already given at least one person a photo-op...meeting him or having a picture of him would be awesome.
i can't remember if it was Christina or Robert who came up with the idea, but one of theme suggested the greatest idea ever. this bar is about two blocks from pumping station: one. over a year ago, someone at ps:one had been looking for something else, but brought back a strange find from somewhere in the neighbourhood: a very large Blagojevich campaign sign from the 2006 election. even earlier that night, Christina had noted that it was there, and wondered why the space still had something so useless. the suggestion to make it not useless involved carrying the sign from the space to the bar, and doing a few pictures with it...and the ex-governor, of course.
then things got crazy. first, Geoffrey, the only person at the space whose phone number we had, wasn't picking up. so, Christina and Robert left to go to the space to fetch the sign themselves. about halfway there, Geoffrey finally did call back, so Robert and Christina came back to Chief's. after they got back but before the sign arrived, Rod Blagojevich and his party got up to leave.
we decided that even if we didn't get the sign, we wanted a picture with them anyway. so, we came down, and asked for a picture. he was nice to us...said hello, asked us if we lived nearby, shook our hands, smiled. he bore with me as my cruddy cell phone camera was trying to start up.
as my cell phone camera started up, the ps:one contingent rolled in with the enormous Blagojevich sign.
he asked us where we had the sign, or why. once people realised what was going on, it turned from a few people taking pictures to...craziness. lots of people in the bar came over with cameras, cell phones, anything; even some people from the wedding reception in the next room over came in for pictures. it became strangely like...a rally for a politician who will never again hold office.
he was a great sport about it; he posed for pictures, and even signed our sign. soon after, he was on his way.
...and it was a wonderfully absurd night.