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I am a Chicagoan

Image: PV Bella

“When you are born in a certain way, in a certain place, from certain people, you don’t really need to wonder who you are.” (Andrea Berti/Coltellerie Berti)

I was born and raised in Chicago. I live here and will die here. I am a Chicagoan. Chicagoans are my people. I know who I am.

Chicagoans have a sense of place. Chicagoans realize we are different than the rest of America. We understand the rest of America is different from us. They can stay that way, as long as they do not impose their differences on us.

Living in Chicago is a way of life, not a lifestyle. Chicagoans learned to live together, not always in peace but in harmony. We get along because that is the only way to live in a city. People who move here from someplace else do not understand this. They refuse to learn HOW THINGS WORK!

There is only one way to do things in Chicago, our way. The same is true in all genuine cities like New York, Boston, Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

Chicagoans do not tolerate outsiders or transplants publicly trash-talking our city. We are Chicago proud, Chicago strong. Chicago united. The transplants do so at their peril. No matter our differences, we will band together to take them down. We are proud, stubborn people who love this city.

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. The neighborhoods used to be divided along ethnic and racial lines. Except in a few areas, neighborhoods are divided along class and economic lines. While many neighborhoods may appear the same, each is unique. The outer neighborhoods resemble early suburbs, which they are patterned on. Others are densely populated with a mix of single-family homes, apartment buildings, and small businesses to service the population.

Chicago has great open spaces. There are large parks in many neighborhoods. Grant Park is the jewel in the crown downtown. Lincoln Park stretches for several miles, hugging the lakefront. There are beaches from one end of the city to the other. Chicagoans make great use of these open spaces. During the summer, some get so crowded access is closed until enough people leave. There are sports leagues of all kinds utilizing the parks. People picnic and barbecue on weekends from spring through fall. Some of the larger parks offer concerts and other entertainment.

We have many venues offering entertainment of all types. We love our sports teams and have a love-hate relationship with their owners and management. Every sports season opens with hope. Sometimes they end in agony, others they end in celebrations.

Until the pandemic, Chicago was one of the most popular cities for tourism and business travel. Tourism numbers were up by the millions every year. People from all over the world came here. Unlike Americans who travel abroad, foreign tourists are not pains in the ass. They are more polite and less brash. There is a reason for the term “ugly American, and American tourists abroad deserve the title.”

Chicago’s people are its life blood. We help each other when tragedy strikes. We give to tragedies around the world. We are generous to a collective fault. Why? Because it is the right fucking thing to do.

Chicago is one of the best food towns in the nation. We have cuisines from all over the world and at every price point. Unfortunately, we also have the franchises and chains serving mung and dreck to people too stupid to seek out the real good stuff. I guess those promises of unlimited bread sticks and fake Mexican food appeals to the drooling, knuckle dragging, lessons (Lower than morons) who inhabit this city.

With the city opening up, the entertainment venues will be rolling again. We have jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, classical, opera, rock, and other genre venues to appeal to any taste. There are a few comedy clubs and other entertainment venues. We have it all, if they survived.

I, for one, cannot wait to day drink in a saloon, while watching an afternoon ballgame or Wheel of Fortune.

Welcome back Chicago.

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