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Why I could never live in Chicago

January 5, 2010

Or, alternatively, “Why I hate the wind.”

OK. If you know me, you know that I don’t like the wind. In fact, I hate the wind.

Hate, hate, hate, DOUBLE hate.

There are so many reasons for this.

(1) The wind is usually cold and bone-chilling and brutal and wicked.

(2) The wind is like, totally pushy. Especially when exiting the metro at my station stop, where the structure of the station creates a wind tunnel that is quite literally impossible walk through. It’s ridiculous. I’ve seen it make old ladies cry. Uh huh.

(3) Wind damages a lot of things. Hurricanes, tornadoes, creating waves…

(4) The wind was the cause of quite possibly the most traumatic physical incident in my childhood.

One day at the bus top it was really windy. I think I was about 9, maybe in the 3rd grade or so. It was during one of those weird times that a tropical storm makes it all the way to the PA/NJ area and leaves behind no rain, just devastating winds. Mom and Dad had to work that morning, so I went to the bus stop as usual. Many other parents drove their children to the bus stop to shield them from the harsh wind (not a point about bad parenting, more a point about how windy it really was).

At the bus stop, an older neighbor kid named Kevin told me that it was super fun to stand on the curb and face the wind, and put your arms out a bit to let it blow you backwards. This is fine if you’re a big, bad 5th grader like Kevin. Fine fine fine. But little baby L, who at the time weighed about 60 pounds (does that even sound right? how the hell much do elementary schoolers weigh?), blew straight across the street.

Now, I know how this sounds. I know what you’re thinking. There is no way in hell someone “blew away.”

Indeed, however, I did. I blew across the street. About 15 feet. I landed when I could once again regain control of my body and get up off the ground. I ran into the nearest car, another neighbor’s Dad’s camry, where they were laughing and laughing and laughing. They couldn’t believe what had just transpired. Matt’s dad had tried to open his car door, but at that moment the wind was gusting so hard he couldn’t get it open to save me.

Believe me.

For years I would whine to my mom and dad on windy days and remember one day asking Mom about what to do on windy days, her response of which was, “Um, just lay flat on the ground. You can’t blow away that way.”

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider laying down in the middle of the road sometimes back through the years when I still weighed under 100 pounds (um, and also these first few days in 2010 where the winds have been completely ludicrous). Now I’m sure my fat cheese and bacon eating ass will be fine in any amount of wind, but that doesn’t change my physical reaction of LOATHING to the sound of a whine or rattling in the windows.

And that, my friends, is the true story of why I hate the wind. And why I will never live in Chicago (even though I do love Navy Pier).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley permalink
    January 6, 2010 10:15 am

    In defense of Chicago….

    There are several explanations for why Chicago is called the Windy City. One of the more popular reasons, especially among Chicagoans, is that our politicians are very easily swayed. Another arises from when Chicago was trying to get the World Fair (we won, FYI) and we talked our incredible city up. Charles Dana, and editor for the New York Sun wrote: “Don’t pay any attention to the nonsensical claims of that windy city. Its people could not build a World’s Fair even if they won it.” False, Mr. Dana. Yet another possibility is that we originally developed the phrase to attract tourists, describing our pleasant summer breezes off the lake. Admittedly, some also consider actual windy weather as the source of the moniker. Please tell me a city that does not experience blustery wind tunnels in the winter. I’ve had just as many miserable walks down Michigan Ave. in Chicago as down Charles St. in Baltimore, the National Mall in DC, and streets I do not know the name of in NYC. Chicago is certainly f’ing cold in the winter, it makes us tough, but she is a beautiful city and I would prefer if people would notice our terrible politicians, over-confidence, and lovely summer weather.

    • January 6, 2010 10:18 am

      I’m speechless. This reminds me of Cher’s speech in Clueless, somehow.

      But yes, you’re right. In defense of Chicago, I’ll no longer call it the windy city.

  2. Ashley permalink
    January 6, 2010 2:07 pm

    Not necessary, in fact I encourage the use of a nickname for my dear old city. Makes it feel more personal. I do, however, also expect you to spread your new knowledge next time you hear someone bitching about Chicago’s windy winters, wah wah wah. Also tell them to put on a jacket, leave the wimpy gloves/hats/scarves at home, and toughen up. And probably make fun of them for not being able to drive in winter weather.

    I think I can take this opportunity to clear up another myth about Chicago’s other nickname, the Second City. My dear friends, we are not called the Second City because NYC is the first city. Get over yourself. Rather, the first city was Chicago before the fire, and the Second City is the amazingly well-planned city post-Chicago fire. You know why they filmed Dark Knight in Chi-town? Because we were smart enough to make two levels of streets (upper and lower) to cut down on traffic, use space more efficiently, and also to serve as a perfectly badass venue for the Batmobile.


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