Six days to go – My Kind of Town

In six days I’m flying to America with the London Gay Men’s
Chorus for a twelve-day tour. We’ll be singing in New York and Chicago.

I’ve spoken to four people from Chicago in the last few
days. Now I can’t wait to get there. They all seem so – friendly.

There’s my work colleague Jim, who lives in San Francisco
but is from Chicago. As soon as he found out I was going to his hometown, he
sent me a list of recommended restaurants and details about the best art deco
sights to see in the city.

Then there’s the lovely Scott. He sings Tenor in the Chicago
Gay Men’s Chorus. He took time to write a detailed email about how to apply for
a Ventra card. It’s like London’s Oyster card, but works on the Chicago Transit
system.

Scott not only emailed all the details, but also arranged
with the New York Gay Men’s Chorus for us to be able to have the cards sent to
their offices. Then we could pick them up when we arrive next week.

Simple. Except…

The Ventra website is very fussy about addresses. It didn’t
like my very British postcode, which it needed to confirm my credit card
details. It demanded a zip code.

In the end I typed in the zip code for the New York Chorus
and hoped for the best.

First I got an email saying all was well. Two days later, I
got an email from someone called Toye in the Ventra Customer Contact Center. I
had to ring them. I could see the money I was planning to save with the card being
eaten up by my transatlantic phone bill.

But it was worth a try…

It was an automated phone system. “Listen to the following
menu. Press one for…” You know the sort of thing.

Twice it sent me round in a full circle. On the third
attempt, I got through to a really helpful man called Dustin. I thought there
was only ever one man called Dustin in the world…

He fixed it for me. And wished me a great stay in Chicago. I
emailed Toye to say it was all fixed, and to thank her/his colleague for being
so helpful. S/he emailed back to wish me a great stay in Chicago.

So thank you Jim and Scott and Toye and Dustin, for being from
Chicago and being so friendly. It definitely sounds like my kind of town.

Next: Choreography panic