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13 Dilemmas Only Chicagoans Understand

Student Work
by Jill Meinecke Aug 17, 2015

1. Wondering whether or not we should cut Derek Rose yet another break.

We all know he’s not going to be the next Jordan. But, for some reason we can’t give up hope… even after his umpteenth blown-out knee.

2. While watching the crime report on Channel 7, wondering if we really are living in Gotham City.

If only a husky-voiced, masked Christian Bale could save us from ourselves…

3. That anywhere worth going besides our own city is at least two hours away by car.

So where will it be? Milwaukee? Another beach along Lake Michigan’s coastline? We like to save ourselves the hours-long road trip and just explore our own backyard.

4. Choosing how to pack on the pounds: The Polish or Lithuanian Bakery?

Decisions, decisions.

Pączki Day is but once a year, and while the rest of the country is getting drunk for Fat Tuesday, we’re stuffing our face with sugary confections. The rest of the time, we’re deciding how best to fill out our pants: an apricot kolacky or some Lithuanian shortbread cookies from Racine Bakery?

5. Trying to find a street parking spot in winter only to see spots “saved” with lawn furniture.

Sweet! You see an opening among the dirty snowbanks and drive towards the holy white light in the hopes that you’ve found your parking spot. It’s large, shoveled and…blocked by two lawn chairs. Someone worked hard to shovel that spot, dammit, and they aren’t going to have any old person take it away from them.

6. Faithfully loving and supporting a sports team that hasn’t won a title in over a century.

Most people stop supporting losing teams over a little thing called pride, but Chicago Cubs fans are an interesting breed. You’d think we’d move on after a 106-year championship dry spell, but no. We’re filling the stadium game after game and turning it into one of the biggest parties on the North Side.

7. Being called the “Second City.”

Says who? We’re constantly defending ourselves against naysayers giving New York City props over us. New York is bigger, but it’s not better. We’re different – from calling our subway the El (the less smelly New York counterpart) to the way we dish up our pizza — and in our eyes, we’re second to none.

8. Explaining to people that we call it Sears Tower.

We might not be able to explain why we’re so particularly attached to Willis Tower’s old name, but Sears Tower just sounds so much better.

9. Summer equalling a blissful three months of wearing shorts, drinking outside, and swimming. Otherwise, dealing with what’s pretty much the polar vortex.

Grappling with Mother Nature’s bipolar disorder is the norm to us. That hint of spring in March? Yeah, get ready for another snowstorm in April.

10. Deciding between Lolla and Pitchfork.

Sometimes we forget how spoiled we are. We have two of the best music festivals in the country going on right in our city. We’ll probably bitch about ticket prices but end up going to both. Now all we have left to worry about is making sure we have the emotional fortitude to sit through a Sam Smith and a Paul McCartney set. The struggle is real, and for Chicagoans and their music festivals, it’s all first world problems.

11. Figuring out whether it was gunshots or fireworks we just heard.

Summertime makes our city come alive with the sound of laughing children, gossiping girls, chatty tourists, and booming fireworks. Or was that gunshots? We’ll tune into Channel 7 later to know for sure, but in the meantime we’ll take cover and party on.

12. Chi-beria.

Some bitter bike messenger must have stumbled home one winter’s eve, soaking wet with salt-stained clothes and invented the word “Chi-beria” — a combination of Chicago and Siberia. Chicagoans fed up with their own misery of the freezing cold temperatures latched onto one guy’s brief moment of cleverness while his brain was defrosting, and the rest is Chicago dictionary history.

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