Things I love about Chicago.
As I am here visiting one of my wonderful friends in Washington, D.C. (which, is a great town, and I love it), I start to think of my home base, Chicago, and why I’m so attached to it. I have known many other people that can pick up and leave, but, for me, I seem to be anchored. So I started to think- why DO I really love this city so much? Some reasons came to mind.
1) Firstly, to the topic’s title, people’s love for Chicago. People here are loyalists and have a deep sense of pride of being from this city. I have generations of family here that have never left. Is it on purpose? Not sure. But I’ve never one day heard them badmouth this city. And I have family that lived in Bucktown when it wasn’t “cool”, so shut your faces. My dad still always laughs when I tell him I’m going to a sushi place near Armitage and Damen. How could that exist in the “old neighborhood” when it used to probably be “Sczpepaneneskzski’s Funeral Parlor?”
2) Our change in seasons. Now, I know some of you may argue with this, but I just could not imagine having Christmas dinner with a pina colada in my hand and a bikini. Ok, maybe keep the pina colada, but in Chicago, it’s probably more likely vodka. I’m exaggerating, but there is something I love about the cold, brisk days of December leading up to Christmas. I complain, but I love putting that parka on and getting snow sprayed in my face as I walk down Michigan Avenue. (I’m sure that’s really attractive to others as I mop off my reddened, ice bombed face.) I also love that our summers do get scorchingly hot, as it makes fall and spring that much more enjoyable. (Sidenote: Didn’t really enjoy the 2011 blizzard. One downfall. When a storm makes your commute 2+ hours, you’re not really smiling. More making inappropriate gestures at other drivers listening to angry music like Muse and banging your head on the steering wheel.)
3) On that note, to piggyback on the driving issue, I love that I do not need a car. I know this is not true for all of Chicago. But if you live within the city limits, you actually can get around easily without one. The Red Line and I have bonded lately. Oh, the Red Line. Even though it is like a circus, and you may have to deal with public urination or something of the like, it gets you places fast. Taking the Metra is like flying a private jet after regular Red Line usage.
4) The easiness in our city’s “street grid”. I have been to other cities where I look like a nun in a strip club trying to get around because their city planning has been so poor. Chicago is easy. Although I grew up on the North side, you can challenge me to know what street is at what “hundred west” or “hundred north or south”. I’ll take you down. I may look like a North side “Trixie” but I’ll get you anywhere in Chicago. (Thank you Dad, for taking me on the EL when I was three years old, and enabling me to understand the city.)
5) The lack of judgment, nightlife wise. This may be shallow, but hear me out. Tell me one place in South Beach Miami where you can walk in at night with a sweatshirt, jeans, and flip-flops with your hair in a bird’s nest type style from the night before. Tell me one place in NYC where everyone is not sizing up your outfit and making their decision of what Midwestern town you’re from. I like that in Chicago you can literally go out in sweats (in some neighborhoods, things like Zubas are encouraged) or you can get dolled up and be “fancy”. It’s nice to have a variety. Also love that I’ve been at a bar with people both in Zubas and stilettos simultaneously.
There are many more reasons I love Chicago, but these are just a few. So, I am going to enjoy my time here on the East side of the country, but, let’s be honest, I’m a Chicagoan for life. Have you ever heard me talk? I’m an inch shy of the “Superfans” from SNL. And you know what? I’m proud of that. Ditka.