Most of you know I recently relocated to the Windy City. In just 11 short but exhaustive days, I've learned so many things are that wholly different about this place from the likes of San Francisco that they are worth documenting and sharing in some (amateur) form.
The bums (or lack thereof). All right, guys. Where are they? You really expect me to believe there are no bums here? Are you kidding me? None?! Really, it's OK, Chicago. I've seen my fair share. Too many, in fact. So bring them out in droves. It will be fine - I won't leave. I'm in my second week here and I've seen, what, I think just two bums? Two! That's like, let's see, one more than one and a whopping average of one a week! In San Francisco I'd be lucky to encounter less than two bums on the same block; and nine times out of 10 they'd be naked from the waist down and soiling themselves. So what does Chicago do differently? This city has 3 million people for crying out loud! San Francisco has less than 800,000! Be ashamed, Bay Area. Oh, and get this: I encountered the most polite homeless person ever yesterday. He asked if I had change, and after saying I didn't he said, "God bless you! Have a fantastic day, sir! Thanks for the smile and courtesy!" Oh... oh my dear God. Hold it right there while I walk to Washington Mutual and liquidate my entire meager life savings. Into quarters. Straight coin. For you. The change you asked for! Here it is! You are just too freaking sweet. There, I feel better. And you do too!
The L. Good grief. First off, my friends' place that I'm crashing at almost gets hit by the damn thing. I'm not too sure how they designed the rail system for this thing, but it's clear that the houses and buildings were here long before they even considered installing any form of public transportation (and understandably so). It runs over and between roofs, and underground as well. If I am awakened at 4 a.m. by what sounds like an out-of-control 18-wheeler headed right for the living room, and in turn my face, I simply turn over on the couch and remind my sleeping self that it's just the L train, which will bend approximately three feet before it can touch the building's foundation. Great planning right there.
Everything is flat! Oh joy! Most saps do not appreciate this fact, but living and walking in a hilly city for a couple years is, how do you say, bad? Here I can see and walk and bike for miles. I can look at a map and decide where I want to go and how I want to get there and not have to base my route off of weird things you don't commonly think about while looking at a map - things like topography, folks. Or ascent. Or elevation. Or "degree of difficulty." Can't believe I ever did that. I can go forever here! Just watch me.
Attractive people abound! Sweet Moses! I'm sorry, but something must be sullied in the Bay Area's gene pool. I'm genuinely not a superficial person, but honestly - who are these people?! Did I mistakenly walk into a swanky photo shoot? On one hand it's cool because there's a load of saccharine eye candy to boot, but on the other hand it's depressing because I've never felt more unsightly and ogreish. I'm poorly cast, it's plain to see, but I'll keep my chin up and continue to bat lashes at you sexy creatures.
The alpha males. Boo! Boo boo boo! But hey, I knew I'd find you douche bags hanging out somewhere around here. Hey, look, it's a pack of late 30-somethings taking over the bar on a Friday night as if it were their freshman years in college... only now receding hairlines and impotence have long since set in, and that's definitely not sexy. Dudes! Sure, I'll get ya another shot of Jager, bro. I'll trade you for that thin silver chain that's furled in your chest hair. I mean, I do sorta like how you had to shave the patch there at the top to stop it from connecting to... to your neck? Is that right? Your beard or neck, connecting to your chest hair? Hmm. Remarkable. I couldn't pull that off if I shaved my head and glued all the hair to my gullet. But you have seemingly achieved this effortlessly! Congrats, bro!
Cheap beer. It's baaack! In fact, it's everywhere! People here are not above or below drinking it. A lot of it. It's all for one and one for all. There are few beer snobs, and those who are, for some reason, just aren't above a good ol' bottle of Cream Dog (Budweiser) or Miller Lite. Sweet! You mean I don't have to order an IPA or something brewed in the hills of Northwest? Huzzah!
Apartment hunting. First off, there's no lines or open houses with people handing over a life's work of information or documentation to some shady landlord just to rent some 300-square-foot closet. There are actually more apartments than people here, so you have what is called a "choice." What's more, since there is a surplus, there actually exist companies to help building owners rent their units and vice versa. For $0, these companies will help you find a place and drive you to them. I know?! No more of the whole I-am-touring-this-shit-hole-because-some-
dude-died-here-and-I-can't-wait-to-get-in thing. Forget it! This is something new and cool and totally better. We have selection!
The seasons. Somehow I unlearned them in San Francisco, and likewise, my wardrobe hath too. Everything is buzzing around here, and it's only getting warmer. No more of intermittent nice-ish days only to be succeeded by a chilly, gray Monday that peaks at 45 degrees at any given time of the year. Nope. Though there are extreme highs and lows here throughout the year, when they're here they're here. It's called consistency. No tomfoolery. If it's that time of year, it's that time of year, no questions asked.