Usually I use this space to wax poetic about love, kids, strangers, and magic, among other things..
But today, I’m just gonna let ‘er rip a bit. *Ahem*
Chicago! What has happened to you? The cold made you go soft!
This Polar Vortex business is making the people of “the city of broad shoulders” look like "the city of 80’s shoulder pads." Like the Cavaricci fashion fad, your Facebook laments and media hysterics are way out of proportion, and so uncool, man!
Have you guys forgotten that we used to have Winters around here? For whatever reason, we just haven’t had an Old School Chicago Winter in a few passes around the sun. But just because an alcoholic hasn't had a drink in years doesn’t mean he isn't still a drunk at heart! And even without the evidence of first floor snow drifts, Chicago is still a city of bad ass winters in its cold heart of hearts.
Up until about five or six years ago, I was digging my car out no less than half a dozen times each snow season. It took a minimum of 45 minutes to scrape the ice off the windshield and dig the snow out from around my tires: Dig. Try to back out. Tires spin to no avail. Repeat.
Lately, it has been more like whisping powder off windshields with cheap, plastic snow brushes from CVS. Pfft. We've been spoiled.
My gawrd, I remember years ago waiting for a bus in the freezing cold, and sticking my balled-up, mittened hands so far into “down there” I could have been locked up for indecency. Yah, baby!
I remember ten years ago walking east on North Avenue in Wicker Park after a pizza dinner at "Piece," literally screaming into the bitter wind. Screaming! It was that cold.
Look, I’m not saying the last two days haven’t been cold. I’m not saying that kids should have been walking to school in those conditions. Hell yes, -35 is chilly. I wore layers. The ice and snow are amazing, and nothing to mess with. What's got my cackles in an uproar is ....the uproar.
I’m saying, take it like a Chicagoan, friends. Cold? So friggin’ what? Let’s go watch some live football…
And another thing: at some point, the difference between –25 and -50 is like the difference between earning 15 million and 18 million. There is not a noticeable difference in such extreme numbers. Below -20, it’s really all the same. Bemoaning such temperatures is so not Chicago Tuff. It pains me to say, we are starting to sound like people in, say, Atlanta, posting pictures of their car temperature gauges, saying, “You guys, I’m freeeeeeeezing.”
Except they are in Atlanta. We are from Chicago. It’s part of the gig. If you have forgotten this fact, welcome back to "my kind of town," man.
But if you are relatively new, I say this: You want our skyline? Our Bulls/Hawks/Wolves/Bears/Cubs/Sox? You want part of our stake in Lake Michigan? You want to enjoy our ferris wheel from afar? Take in the thousands of white lights up and down Michigan Avenue? Ride our totally boss Brown Line on the "El?" You want to listen to Pearl Jam concerts while sitting on a noodle outside of Wrigley Field? You want to ogle our kick-ass architecture? Throw down in our forest preserves? Bump into our diversity? Eat blankets of naan along Devon Avenue? Take a selfie in front of the Chicago Theater Sign? Share your hot dog buns with a long-ass pickle? You want to catch a dazzling show at The Baton? The Steppenwolf? Stare at that frickin’ bean? You want to see those faces on brick walls spitting at your kids in Millennium Park? Wanna get blitzed at The Double Door? Wanna watch the real-time reality show “Mayor of Chicago: Mission Impossible”? You want every item half-price on Mondays at your nearest Village Thrift Store? You want to drive by that creepy restaurant on Ashland with the faces painted on the booths where NO ONE ever eats?
You do? Then you gotta take the cold, too. It’s a package deal, yo. Quit your whining and bundle up. Frankly, you don’t want to miss how bee-yootiful Chicago is in the Vortex.
Thanks for reading! It means the world. Carry on...
Old Single Mom