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35th Street Red Hots

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Best Hot Dog Stand Parking Lot for Cry-Eating

35th Street Red Hots

Photo: Jeffrey Greenfield

Right now, there are plenty of reasons for feelings. We’re in the global nightmare of COVID-19, whose fierce and fiery reach has altered all our lives. We must find gratitude for being in good health and compassion for those who’ve lost loved ones. It’s also important to honor our petty emotions, like the burning rage I feel for the “Can you hear me?” guy on every Zoom call.

My feelings are a lot for my family to handle. I almost lost it when I ordered laces for my roller skates and they didn’t match my wheels. I’m embarrassed that I had a meltdown in front of my kid because I could only find one of my favorite nonslip slipper socks. It was all waterworks when I realized I wouldn’t be able to see Flor de Toloache at Sleeping Village, even though I literally have never heard their music and I hate concerts.

Normally, I’d sit in a restaurant with a gal pal and a bottle of wine to discuss tiny daily stresses. Then I’d slip into a Lyft, buzzed on friendship and Cabernet. In the depths of the stay-at-home order, the closest I could get to a Before Times catch-up session was stuffing a hot dog in my mouth hole alone in my car, with the soothing glow of a backlit Vienna Beef sign on my face.

My choice spot is 35th Street Red Hots, located across from I’ll Always Call It Comiskey Until I Die Park. For those of us who remember sports, it’s a good trigger to lift the dam and let the emotional river of pain flow. There’s a large enough parking lot to easily find a private place to mourn. Once in my car, I like to take a second to feel the steaming hot bag on my lap and the despair in my heart before I shame-eat a double dog smothered with cheese fries. Every snappy, beefy bite makes me feel alive! As I wipe my face with an old CVS receipt, joy and sodium pulse through my veins. I turn the car key, rev the engine, and crank up Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield,” ready to face whatever comes my way.

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