Well, the opening weekend of Chicago Elevated’s second tour season was a spectacular failure!
I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me much that the opening weekend of the tour season would be one of the rainiest weekends ever seen.
It started on Friday, I figured it wouldn’t be one of my biggest days, and I was fine with that. I had my first ever Riverwalk Tour and I had one lovely guest. I’m smart enough to know by now that tours with one guest are very often the best. It’s a chance to really get to know someone and also give the tour in a relaxed and easy manner, which can be really fun. True to form, I met a great woman that day and we had a lot of fun together.
Friday afternoon was my first Dealer’s Choice Loop Architectural Tour, I had 3 for that and one of the other people was a tour guide. It was a lot of fun as well, we wandered in the chilly day.
But the big times were Saturday and Sunday! I was so excited. I had lots of people signed up for my weekend tours and I was so excited to play and have fun, alas, the weather had different ideas. My first tour Saturday was a Dealer’s Choice Loop Tour and thank goodness that it was. About 15 minutes into the tour (I had a group of about 10, people from all over, tourists, Chicagoans, kids, adults, a bit of everything) it started to POUR. Ridiculous. So into the pedway we went! What a beautiful thing the pedway is. We checked out the Cultural Center and Macy’s and looked at buildings from the pedway. It turned out okay, but my little heart broke – the city was waiting!
My 4:00 Redlight District tour, oh man…I was so worried about it. I had 20 people signed up and of course, still POURING. No matter, I took my group inside Dearborn Station and we sat and chatted about the Redlight District. It was fun for me, I hope it was fun for the guests, they seemed to enjoy it and honestly, I don’t think anyone wanted to go wandering outside.
Yet another tour rained out, yet another tour with great guests who were totally fun and up for anything.
Saturday night I had my first book reading for Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History. Let’s face it, I had been concentrating so hard on my tours, I hadn’t done much to get the word out, I knew it would be lightly attended, if at all…and of course, I was right.
BUT NO! BUT NOT! I ended up making friends with Liz over at Quimby’s and she was so kind and supportive. She’s starting a Quimby’s podcast and she asked me if I would do one – yay! So we sat in Quimby’s and she asked me great questions and on my way out the door, I saw a lady pick up my book and BUY ONE. She didn’t even know I was there, it was all on her own. Liz mentioned I was there and the lady had me sign the book! I walked out of there feeling AWESOME and excellent, spectacular failure.
Sunday, so excited, maybe supposed to be nicer – nope. The first 10 minutes into the riverwalk tour, that I swear must have had close to 20 people on it, it POURED. Ugh. Under the Renaissance my group huddled together, smiling through the rain – back into the pedway. This was just the best time. The people were kind and flexible, we laughed and got wet, we learned things and really, this ended up being one of the best tours I’ve ever had, it was just a great time with people who wanted to keep on going.
My first Second City tour that afternoon, 5 minutes outside THEN POURING. No pedway here folks, but there is the delightful Piper’s Alley, a place to go from floor to floor that allows for an almost indoor tour of Second City. Unbelievable. Truly.
Every single tour I gave got poured on. There were people on every tour. No one at the book signing, Dead birds in Daley Plaza (I’m not going into this story, but trust me, it aided in the Spectacular Failure of my weekend)…..all these “failures” and I possibly had one of the greatest weekends of my life.
I was scared to death going into this weekend, so many things scared me, new tours, worrying about rain, the first book reading…so many fears.
And every single one came true, every single fear reared it’s ugly head – and with the help of AWESOME people along the way – I figured it out every time.
I love my job. I love showing you all the city, from the inside or the out. I love seeing smiling faces in a rainstorm and I love bookstore owners that understand the fear of a new author.
Thank you to Chicago (even though you’re a rainy lady), thank you to everyone that came out and to the people that just couldn’t make it, thank you thank you thank you.