Monday, September 5, 2016

I Love Chicago


Sheldon and I are falling in love with the city of Chicago. We have been there twice in three weeks in order to visit a friend. As Sheldon drove down Lake Shore Drive and the lake was on our left and the city on our right I peered into apartment windows. I caught glimpses of people on their phones, families around a TV and fabulous furnishings. I started to picture what our life would be like if we lived in the city. 

It is so easy to glamourise the city. As a person who lives in a suburban area I come to the city feeling possibilities. I am on the lookout for a cool cafe to blog from, a shop I want to hunt around in or a pocket of intrigue to explore. Everything has the flavour of adventure. 

But as I watched the people from our car window (which does not open anymore and makes our non-airconditioned car rather more uncomfortable) I notice a girl with her backpack. She is walking home from work or school. She is not looking around, because she knows where she is and it is the same scenery she sees every day. 

Another young woman walks by. Although she adds to the scenery with her 50s style red dress and sunglasses against the brick building, she too has no interest in the faux-Gothic church or the towering apartment building. She is looking at her phone. 

These indifferent ladies remind me that if I lived in the city according to my latest fantasy, I would grow to perceive it as normal. Soon it would not be the place of adventure that it is now — it would be my neighbourhood. Yes, I would have flashes of delight when the light changed or snow fell. Those shifts would cause me to appreciate it again. 

The same is true in Wheaton. I don’t see the alley of trees I walk down for class or the spacious lawn in front of Blanchard Hall as a tourist. Those are just the places where my life has played out over the last three years. That is where I sat with Sheldon and Chris one night and read through the entirety of The Four Quartets. That is where I take most of my English courses. That is where the guy I try to avoid lives. That is my favourite thrift store. 

So as I pine for the city and delight in our brief visits I am trying not to think, “If I lived in the city my life would be way cooler.” My life would still be a mix of work and leisure. I would still have good days and bad, just like I do in Wheaton. 

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