On Chicago

A recent journal entry:

Had an interview here in November. Saw the Best Buy and the Crate & Barrel next to the landfill & incinerator. Got stuck in 5:00 PM traffic. That’s Chicago.

Came to look for an apartment. Found one with no A/C, hardwood floors, and park view. Picked this over one across the street that had new everything and carpets. A park view is more Chicago. Hardwood floors are more Chicago. But I don’t live in a park view, and the mice that have apparently lived in this apartment for several winters have enjoyed the hardwood floors more than I have. That’s Chicago.

It’s 2 AM on a Tuesday in April. I’m riding the train home after a night out. More precisely, I’m taking the train to a bus to a street corner to walk to my apartment. I’m listening to two girls chat, one debating whether or not to sleep with someone she met tonight. She would, but she has class tomorrow. I think back to my own college days. A year earlier, I was a college student in a small town with no dreams or desires beyond remaining a college student in a small town for some time. My life has become so different, I think. It’s been a good night out with good people. I play with my phone, thinking of several people I’d like to call, but it’s pushing three A.M. now. So I listen to two girls discuss casual hookups instead and watch the city go by. That’s Chicago.

Cut to now. That’s why I don’t post journals online, I think to myself. Too melodramatic. You’d think I don’t like Chicago, which isn’t the case. There are so many great times to be had, and so many great people with which to do it with. But these fall into the category of “my personal life”, and one of my golden rules I’ve followed since I started writing online was to keep my personal life out of it as much as possible. Watching sunsets through skyscrapers on Lake Shore Drive, biking through Evanston at night, the iO, music, nightlife, rain on the beach, you get the idea. All reasons I love Chicago.

When I moved to Chicago, I knew one person in the area. I asked her “How long did it take you to get used to the city?” She sighed, and replied that she hadn’t. She had lived here for years. I had to think long and hard about that response, about whether or not I’d made the right decision to come here. Mornings at church and evenings with walks on the beach.

Moving to Chicago was no mistake. But I have to find a balance between activity and quiet. So far I haven’t been doing a good job of it. Evidence: I have to schedule phone calls; I laid down for a nap and woke up over 3 hours later; comments haven’t worked on this website since April. I’ve been an avid reader for some time, and I’ve been buying books in Chicago based upon my previous reading pace. The fact that I have 7 books I haven’t so much as opened should indicate how I’m handling this balance issue. I love Chicago and I love the activities here, but I’m realizing that I also need to have down time. Not neccessarily time alone, but just time not spent out on the town. Chicago isn’t going anywhere, and I’m not going anywhere for the immediate future at least, so there has to be balance then.

This is why I don’t post journals online. Too melodramatic. Sorry if you read this - I just had to ramble I guess. For something entertaining, try Patton Oswalt’s A One year full of Kick-Ass Movie Pitches by Erik Blevins.