Recently, I got to visit Chicago, Chi-Town, da Chi, the Windy City, the Windy, you get the point and I must say it's truly a wonderful city. As I sit in front of Compaq Presario, I remember that a fellow columnist (will this get me in trouble?) made a few remarks about the place I call "home."
Was I upset, yeah. I could have responded then, but what would be the point? A long drawn out "battle" of why Chicago is cool, at least in my opinion. Now, if you live in the 773 or 312 area codes, you understand me, if not, then you don't. If your county is NOT Cook, you have no idea what I'm talking about. If you have a license plate that says "Illinois" and not an orange sticker in the corner, you might not feel what I'm trying to say.
But... if you live in the Chi, breathe in the culture on a daily basis, you understand what I'm saying. Chicago, to an outsider may seem strange. Of course for what I'm about to say, you have to expand beyond downtown. I'm the type of person that hates downtown, except at night. (Fellas, a little secret - if you want to impress your lady, take her to downtown Chicago, at night. Very romantic, but only at night. Other than that, avoid it.)
See, most people when they visit Chicago only visit the tourist attractions, which are downtown. Now, take a trip out of downtown and that's where the real Chicago is. Here's what the real Chicago is:
* The real Chicago is the people that work in the factories.
* The real Chicago is the CTA, if you don't know what that is, e-mail me.
* The real Chicago is the Southside, especially Roseland, Little Village, Chinatown, Beverly Hills and the projects.
* The real Chicago is the White Sox, the Bulls and the Blackhawks. (All of these stadiums aren't downtown.)
* The real Chicago are the people that look like you and me, well, they are you and me.
* The real Chicago is the struggling single mother that's a waitress.
* The real Chicago is the thousands of homeless who love to tell their story for a sandwich at Dunkin Donuts.
* The real Chicago is the "melting pot" or "tossed salad" that represents the United States so much.
* The real Chicago is my thoughts, my values, and everything that makes me, me.
Even though, I'm enjoying my time in "Funcie" a part of me will always be in Chicago. Now, you may not hear my accent, but it's there. You may not hear me talk about it 24/7, like I used to, but I still think about it. You
may not even understand why I love that city, not town, as much as I do. I can only tell you that once you go, you'll fall in love too.
The only advice I can give you is to experience the city, NOT the suburbs, that doesn't count and NOT downtown. Go experience the people. Oh, one last thing and then I'm done....Why do people who aren't from Chicago, say they are? If you're from Homewood (a suburb) say that. After all, I don't go around claiming I'm from Valpo or some suburb around Chicago. Be proud of where you came from, I know I am.
Write to Moses at firstname.lastname@example.org