Hello Chicago, how you doin’? Where you goin’, can I come too?
I’m so taken by the city that birthed me as an adult.
I’m a kid that was born in a non-remarkable suburb that way back when I was growing up formed a line between the Chicagoland area and the rolling gold corn fields that didn’t end until Iowa started. I didn’t know Chicago in those days. I knew New York better than I knew Chicago, actually…every year I spent some time in the Big Apple. I barely remember any real time in downtown Chicago until after I went away to college.
I think that’s why I took to the Bay Area in California the way that I did. College is pretty formative, no doubt, but I didn’t have a lot edginess in my world growing up. I played soccer, and although soccer dudes tend to be a bit alternative, I played both sides of that coin and during daylight hours I was a pretty model student athlete.
The sun rolled past the horizon every night, and I’ll admit that evenings involved a measured amount of misbehaving as highschool rolled to an end. My basement’s still pretty famous for the parties we’d throw down there.
Out on the West Coast I loved the way the world opened up. There were foothills bigger than any hills I’d seen in the Midwest. There were valleys and beaches and bridges and wineries and they gave me avocado on nearly everything I ate. California flirted with me hardcore, and I spun that girl on the dancefloor.
I never thought I’d stay in Chicago for long.
Seven or so years later I’m set to check out of the Midwest. Right away the snow rolled in and dusted trees and cars in a delicate coat of beauty and attitude. The strong Chicagoan in everyone emerged from hibernation and we had our first really cold weekend.
There’s a toughness about this city…a confidence in the experience of being a Chicagoan that doesn’t exist anywhere else on Earth. This city stays sexy all winter. It’s hard to see unless you train yourself to see through the challenge this time of year puts in front of us. You look through it and you see smiles and music and art and a camaraderie among total strangers that’s only possible if you’ve walked through our streets and watched them transform themselves over and over and over again as seasons change and years roll by. We watch our sports and politics with unwavering commitment, dedication, and skepticism. We pride ourselves on hotdogs, pizza, and italian beef. We don’t apologize for that.
Driving home last night I felt the familiarity of this city wrap me up like a blanket. I’m crushing on this city, and I’m trying hard to enjoy the relationship we had as opposed to the ways in which I might have made it better.
Chicago, I love the way you move.
How is your relationship with where you live? What if it ended tomorrow.
Image by theotherway.