How are ya? It’s me, your old friend Chicago. Yeah, you know who I am. We had a brief falling out in ’71 (1871 I mean) when you ran a fire through me but we’ve pretty much been good ever since. We’ve had some fun times together; St. Patricks Day 1947 ring a bell? I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.
Anyway, happy Ash Wednesday to you! This has always been one of my favorite religious holidays. Most likely because I was raised Irish Catholic and probably trick myself into confusing relief of guilt with joy, but if the robe fits am I right? I’ve got a favor to ask, God. Can you take it easy on my people (your Chicago people) for a while? Today’s new snow storm even caught me off guard. It’s just getting to be a little much, you know? I get that you’re super into snow this year and you keep saying I’m bringing winter back, but you’ve done it. You brought it back. Now will you take it away already?
My people are worn down. And that’s saying a lot because we’re a tough breed out here. In the beginning we were like polar vortex schmolar vortex, we can take on anything. -45 no big deal, we’ll just put on another layer of long underwear! Another blizzard? Bring it on, we’ll just camp out in an underground bar and sip on Malort until we warm up. But then it was one snow storm after the other after the other. After the other. And it broke our spirit.
I can see it in their eyes. They’ve lost their sparkle. Usually my Chicagoans are a great friendly bunch, but they’re not acting like themselves right now. They growl at each other to get a seat on the CTA or when someone accidentally bumps them with their huge winter parka. Couples fight about silly things like take your shoes off at the door! Singles are resorting to texting people they wrote out of their lives years ago. People are driving around in their cars like zombies, just a blank stare on their face until someone might accidentally cut them off and they are sent into a fit of rage. God, I saw two women in wedge boots fight for the last avocado at Trader Joe’s yesterday. And that’s your store.
But what’s worse than the angry people are the ones who have just accepted defeat. They float about their days just accepting the fact that new Chicago will simply always have snow on the ground. It’s the way it is now. Boots are permanently stained with a ring of salt and scarves will always be a little crusty from getting wet and then cold again. Sidewalks that once held outdoor seating are covered in three feet of old snow and ice. Brown slush and muck have lined the streets for over five months now. And the poor dogs have simply stopped looking for pavement. They’ll go anywhere at anytime. It’s just how life is now.
Last night was Fat Tuesday and Wrigleyville was empty, God. EMPTY. I know you probably get called to that neighborhood a lot and it’s not exactly a shining light in my city, but still. That just doesn’t seem right.
So please God, lighten up. Open up the waters, open the beer gardens, melt the snow. Fill the marinas with boats. Fill the streets with festivals and concerts. Bring the sunshine back. The bike paths, the beaches, even those douchey bars by the beaches, we’ll take it all. The heat, the humidity, the smells of summer, even the tourists. We just need something. We need the joy of Chicago back.
I intended to write a much different post today. But I woke up and was completely surprised to find five new inches of snow outside my door with more on the way. I almost stated crying on the spot. I know that sounds pathetic, and I am pathetic, but I can’t just take it anymore. I’m at my breaking point.
And the graphic I made for today just seems silly now. But the fact remains, I’m hosting a big one day sale. Keep your spirits up, friends. I’m off to smear ashes on my forehead.