The City of Letdown?


Writer’s block.  I’m at it again.  I had a busy day at school, nice time to digest the day with coworkers after school, and an appointment at the Doctor’s office.  I was sure something that happened today would be slice-worthy and my fingers would just start dancing on the keys.  Nothing.   Then I remembered a fellow slicer asked her daughter today for some inspiration so I thought I’d ask my husband what I should write about hoping he would come up with something.  His predictable answer about how awesome HE is came out first, followed by the completely unrelated sentiment about how the Bears traded two of our key players today.  It was a random by-the-way comment.  I stood up to make my way to the office to type.  “You writing about me?” he asked.  I convinced him there just wasn’t enough time in the night.  (Nice save.)

One thing I’ve always appreciated in my life is the pride I’ve always had about where I’m from.  I enjoy the four seasons, I appreciate being close to an airport, I love professional sports, and we’re lucky to have a city that offers just so much.  It’s kind of a weak list to start, but you get my point.  I also think part of the pride comes with knowing there are millions of people who share it.  It’s like we’re all part of the same team.  We don’t always have to be winning, but we’re in this together type of feel.  I love that.

In the past, whenever I’ve been out of town and someone asks me where I’m from, I’ve always responded almost with arrogance: Chicago!  I’m ready to meet whatever they have to say.  Best views, best food, best teams, best entertainment, you can’t beat it.  And I’m here to stay.  My greatest memories are here.  For some reason, however, the older I get, the less love I feel for this place.  And it makes me sad.

As a kid, sports were everything.  The only time I ever missed school was when dad took us to a Cubs game.  The greatest memories I have with grandparents revolved around sports.  Whether it was Christmas at my mom’s side watching the 3-peat, or baseball on the am radio with Papa Lass, or Christmas season scheduled around Bears games, we always had sports.  We watched games, we went to games, we talked about games, we argued about games.  All year long.  Sports.  For years, I’ve invested my heart into these teams, but now, it’s turned to heartache.   Bulls, Bears, Cubs.  Bad, worse, worst.  The girl who used to ditch class in college to watch games doesn’t even know a player on the team.  Do I just not love sports anymore?  Or could it be that every time I try to stomach a game they choke worse than the last time?  Or every time I invest myself, they trade all of my favorite players?  My heart just can’t take it anymore. 

My husband is not from Chicago.  It’s taken him a long time to accept that it’s where he lives now.  He calls it home, but I know there are places he’d rather live.  To him, the seasons change, but they’re never enough.  In the summer, it’s either too hot or not hot enough.  In the winter, it snows, but then it’s too cold and windy.  There aren’t any mountains, the drives are either boring or flooded with traffic, and the people don’t exactly have that ‘charm’ that they do in other places of the country.  In fact, they’re rude.   When did I start believing him?

Was it when I realized the records I pay attention to now are the crime rates?  Was it yesterday when I drove past the Cal Sag and smelled the awful thawing of pure death?  Or the sad truth that lawmakers are practically begging me to quit my job?  Is it the record breaking taxes we pay, only to be constantly reminded that we’re broke?   Or did the pure bliss of childhood just shift to the bitter reality of adulthood?  I digress…

Maybe I should just make St. Paddy’s Day plans and revisit that team.


3 thoughts on “The City of Letdown?

  1. This piece takes a turn from pride to embarrassment. I can understand from where you are coming! “Cal Sag and smelled the awful thawing of pure death”…what a description! On my visit to NY in Dec. a tour guide asked us where I was from and when I replied, “Chicago,” he said, “oh, Chiraq.” What an embarrassment!

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