I should be excited to leave FRIGID HELLHOLE CHICAGO. But I'm not.

I don't have to tell you what cold feels like. You know. The acid burn of 3 degrees. Vertical wind punching you in the face. We're all in this together. The difference between you and me is I'm moving. On Tuesday. To L.A. My realtor called the other night and said, "it's 70 degrees right now - you'll love it!" I told her school was canceled because if we go outside in Chicago right now, we can die.

People are reacting strangely to us moving to California. They're like, "ooh, the weather! I'm jealous" but think about it. Is the weather even an exciting topic? It's like being jealous of me riding an elevator because it has great Muzak. The truth about California seems to be this: it's one huge suburb and it's ungodly expensive. Remember, I'm a homeowner, up here in my bougie public school district and the mortgage I pay is peanuts compared to rent in Los Angeles. That is, rent in the shitty school districts. Rent in a good school district will cost two kidneys per week and not come with a refrigerator.

Here's the thing about Chicago. The good life is within reach. The dreams are accessible. I moved here with three friends and a couch straight out of college. Five of us (four girls plus a loafing boyfriend - those are great) shared one bathroom in a third story walk-up with no air-conditioning. It was above a thumping 4:00 AM bar the realtor told us was a sandwich shop. One roommate used to hide the gas bill in her sock drawer and our artist roommate was in a sad phase and painted lots of giant canvases of frowns to line our walls. My share of the rent was $325.

Ten years later I am quite the success: I HAVE A GARAGE.  (Pause while I dust my shoulders off.)

Are there problems here? Sure. Slomping through gray snow is gross. Winter lasts 20 years and then the five minutes of summer we do get is the temperature of the sun. The festival food all tastes the same and hires the same cover bands. If you are not Irish, you are basically an intruder. The Cubs are idiots.  Once a parking ticket of mine escalated to $300 because I forgot to affix the city sticker onto my vehicle the receipt for which was in my glove compartment.

It's not a perfect life for me in Chicago. Ducks live in my lawn for about three weeks after it rains. Sometimes your family is annoying or your friends are crazy (I AM THAT CRAZY FRIEND!). But you know what? It's a good life. There are problems everywhere. If it's not snow, it's earthquakes. If it's not parking tickets, it's traffic. No place is perfect and to be honest, I'm not gleeful about leaving Chicago at all.

Chicago has its merits. Big ones. I am going to miss these merits very much: fried food, Weiner Dog to be specific, rentals coming equipped with appliances, museums with actual things to learn in them, sidewalks, summer, all the seasons for that matter, St. Patrick's day, the el (sorry, bellyache all you want, but at least it's there), the Brew & View, Green Mill, Wrigley Field, the lake front, Ravinia, WGN-TV and The Cheesecake Factory. Just kidding. I hate the Cheesecake Factory.

Tonight is our last night to sleep in the home we've poured our blood and tears into for two years. Good bye, happy turquoise kitchen. So long, slab of soapstone I dug out of the warehouse and convinced myself was a painting. Tata, insanely fun north shore mom mafia. Farewell, teachers who stop by the house for coffee. (Hello huge stream of tears right now.)

Good bye, sweet home, Chicago.

 

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The high-waisted jeans. The brown lipstick. The landlord knocking for his rent every five minutes.

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