Dear Chicago, We Need To Talk

Flickr / Kevin Dooley
Flickr / Kevin Dooley

I know I don’t say it as often as I used to, Chicago. But I still love you. And I always will. But neither of us can deny that there haven’t been challenges in our relationship recently. Without casting blame, I’d like to discuss some of these issues like the mature adults that we are. Because we are mature adults, aren’t we? Thank god for rhetorical questions.

I know we’ve grown apart in recent years. There’s been pressure on both sides for various reasons. For example, your new mayor that made ballot-box stuffing a competitive sport, one presumes, continues to see his popularity decline like Bill Cosby at a pharmaceutical sales conference. I forgive you for that dalliance. Just as you forgive me for my occasional infidelities with “that bitch” New York that you pretend to hate but secretly emulate during some of your less proud moments.

Speaking of less proud moments, Chicago, remember when you sold-off the parking meter rights to a third party for seventy five years? That was your revenge for the ’68 Democratic National Convention, wasn’t it? I’m not blaming. I’m merely trying to understand. As difficult as that may be. OK, maybe we deserved that. But making the point on an ongoing basis makes as much sense as making it in the first place. Remember how we talked about this in couples therapy, which, incidentally, you resisted?

Our baseball teams are like our children, Chicago. To twist the metaphor beyond all recognition, the White Sox are like our good kid that got into MIT. The Cubs are like the bad one that got kicked out of Columbia College for selling C-minus term papers and Ecstasy. The less said about the other dropped charges the better.

I know you love The Taste. But dammit, I have to be honest. We owe each other that much. I’ve never enjoyed it. I simply go to support you because I know it’s your thing. One of us is an enabler here and I’m pretty sure it’s me. Anyway, aren’t you a little – forgive me – mature to be involved in such sordid outings? Thank god for direct questions that sound like flat-out accusations.

Yes, I still love you, Chicago. But your girl winter? We’ll never get along. Her contempt for me is only matched (doubled, if I’m being honest) by how much I despise her. She thinks forty below represents a good try but she knows she can do better. Or worse, depending on your point of view. Chicago winters have claimed more corpses than any dozen morticians during the peak week of a plague. Sorry if that sounds as harsh as it was intended.

While we’re on the subject of weather, what about your springs? The only thing that stops Chicago from becoming a rainforest is the forest.

And don’t think I’ve forgotten about the CTA, by the way. “Sorry for the inconvenience” is no longer just their stock apology. It’s their tagline. Does anyone believe that they’re really sorry? Thank god for questions that sound like flat-out criminal charges.

I know I’m not perfect, Chicago, so here comes the second guessing and codependency. There have been times when I’ve called you “Chi-town.” That was a mistake and I regret it. But It’s not like you’ve never… Well, remember that cow that kicked over the lamp and a good chunk of the city looked like a controlled burn if Donald Trump had organized it? But you recovered and that’s why I’ll always love you. Red-light cameras, weapons-grade winters and all. Just don’t shoot me in my sleep. TC mark

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