The Packers the champs.

Time to Settle Accounts

September 12, 2011: The Packers the champs.

Lance Briggs celebrates as Brian Urlacher returns a fumble 12 yards for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

After a day-trip to Michigan to visit a friend by way of rental car, I was on the Blue Line returning from O’Hare (the only available rental on Sunday) and reading columns from Ellen Goodman’s Close To Home. I was seated in a solo seat at the end of the train car. All around me were fellow travelers from O’Hare, all with luggage, fondling their phones with headphones in.

At Rosemont, one stop after leaving O’Hare, a man sat down in the two seats perpendicular to mine. The seats faced away from me, but he sat across them and leaned against the train wall, so we were actually seated next to each other. He was an older man, mid-40s, with a thick Chicago mustache and dark clothes. I looked over when he sat down, we nodded, and I returned to my book.

His phone rang. And rang. He picked it out of his pocket, observed the name on the screen, and placed it back in his pocket as it continued to ring.

“I guess they’ll have to wait?” I said.

“Not ‘you guess.’ It’s happening.”

He seemed tired. “How was your day?” I asked.

“Long. Had to work on my Sunday, you know? Missed the Bears game. Salty about that. But at least we won! Beat Atlanta.”

“Nice way to start a season.”

He nodded. “We won, and Detroit won, and Green Bay…” He shook his head. “You know, they beat the Saints on Thursday.”

“I heard about that.”

“That still bothers me, that whole deal in the championship last season. Losing to them, and at home. Just awful. Then they had to go and win the Super Bowl! And now we have to spend the whole year knowing the Packers the champs.”

“But hey, 1-0, right? Off to a great start, huh?”

His phone rang again, and he shook his head. “The Packers the champs…”

NEXT: The end of a season. (9.16.11)

PREVIOUS: I once had dreams. (9.7.11)

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