#342: High Hops

July 4th, 2014

Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” played in the garage.

It wasn’t a garage like on a house for a Civic when your high school son’s terrible punk band isn’t practicing. It was more like a truck loading area for a gray stone building at Monroe and Morgan.

And in this garage with the high doors pulled back to look onto a loading bay full of kegs and plants, shelves and shoppers.

“What is this place?” I asked an employee through the open garage door.

“It’s just a hobby shop,” he said. “Gardening and home brew.”

“Is that hops?” I asked, gesturing at a plywood cube open at the front to reveal a floor of small green plants and a ceiling of grow lights.

“Naah, that’s habanero peppers,” he said. “Hops has to be outside. It’s so big. The root base is like,” here he gestured an area the size of a hula hoop around him.

He was chubby and tall with a beard. A pleasant hippie. As he looked around the garage where he worked, I thought…

OK, are they gone? Have I driven the casual readers off? Is it just us?

Hi, it’s Paul. And I’m taking the day off. Shh.

Don’t get me wrong, the home brew shop story is true. There was a nice, slightly heavy hippie who gestured like a hula hoop at the size of hops. And it was a nice, slightly heavy moment of realization about how quickly quirks and oddities become mainstream – I mean, it was a chain garden/home brew store, for pity’s sake. A chain!

But yes yes, nice moment of realization of the wholeness of the human experience through the little moments. Good stuff.

I’m taking the day off.

I’m going to take a hellishly long bike ride and then buy a six-pack to bring to the first of the weekend’s two barbecues. I’m going to eat like three or four hot dogs if they have them.

I’m going to sleep as late as my body will allow.

There are all sorts of reasons I could claim for this. Social reasons, social justice reasons, the fact people deserve a holiday off and the fact I’m spending the rest of the weekend on a freelance story and reading a book on “branding” to catch up at work.

But really, I want to and I get to.

You do too.

Work if you have to, rest if you’re able to. Do something stupid and amazingly fun if you’re willing. Be smart. Carpe the diem while caveating the emptor. Eat a hot dog. Drink a beer. Play bags poorly or just take a moment to relax and stretch and say, “Yeah.”

Yeah.

Anyway, the happiest of Fourths to all of you.

Now back to the story to fool the people who just cut to the end.

“Do you have hops here?” I asked.

“At home,” he said.

It was true, I thought. It was true.

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Not everyone gets the day off

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You are currently reading #342: High Hops by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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