The Empty-ish House; an ode to leaving Chicago

The Emptying House

The Emptying House

Sherlock Holmes's Adventures of the Empty House were his return. For me and we after almost a dozen years lived in Chicago, the empty-ish house it is a parting of the ways with the South Loop and with the wider City of Chicago.

No longer will I contact my Alderman Pat Dowell on behalf of my neighbors to report the latest problem in the Prairie District.

Nor longer will I write Senator Dick Durbin, or Senator Mark Kirk about the issue of USPS skipping up to 50% of mail deliveries in zip code 60616-1404 because, as one mail carrier told us, "You all get tooo many packages." Contacting our Representative Danny Davis, I learned repeatedly, was akin to contacting Saturn. Nothing ever came back.

Yet I learned so much here too.

Manners matter. On the number 3 and number 4 buses, I learned the mannerly give up a seat to someone older or pregnant, or pregnant and carrying a child in their arms. And very very often, these mannerly people are what the census would count as "African-American". The unmannerly people are all too often Asians and tourists.

Training matters. Having taken my short, thin hair to too many El Cheapo places, the last being what I remember as Hair Butchery; I finally pulled out serious money and went to a genuine hair stylist. Susan Maccoy.

Management-skills matters. A fat Rolodex leveraged to an overpaid job then to the Mayor position of the City of Chicago, does not make a person an adequate mayor. There simply are not enough UPS drivers to deliver dead fish to every resident. Nor does inheriting the Mayor job from Daddy mean you are competent. So Gunnel was right, some short men have bullying-issues a la Napoleon.

And for the record, Cassandra here. Chicago is the canary in the USA coal mine. The phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is meaningless when trumped by a gun-slinging mentality babbling Second Amendment rights. Viewed from abroad, the USA is a mentally ill society who in paranoia see boogeymen behind every bearded man. We piss our country's treasure into bigger and more guns for ourselves and an ever more overpriced military; while we have the infrastructure of the developing countries I've lived in. Our schools falling apart, literally, as our students fall behind their peers abroad.

But I loved the Art Institute and my volunteer hours there. Where I learned amusing things, like some people are convinced the art is fake. And for the record, the reason Mexican artists are in the American Wing is Mexico is part of the Americas. And so is Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru and Canada. All countries I've lived in.

So farewell, adios, TTFN and good luck Chicago.

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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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