This image, however, was passed to me by a coworker and we laughed about the fact that I don’t have to shovel anymore. I lived through the 1999 and 2011 blizzards in Chicago (not the 1979, when I was two anyway), and I know exactly how crippled the city gets when there’s that much snow on the ground. You’d think they’d be better at it, but really the city itself doesn’t get that much snow. Normally you get a couple inches, maybe five, and we have an afternoon where it’s a pain in the ass, and then we moved on.
Now, though, cold is relative. It’s subjective. I don’t mind it. I haven’t worn long sleeves more than once or twice, and that was more due to the fact that I didn’t have a clean short-sleeved. I don’t wear sweaters. The most was a wool coat over a t-shirt when I was in LA at 1am. It’s all mellow and chill. I remember walking to and from work when the high was 20. I’ve been outside for hours in temps cold enough to freeze my hair (that was fun). I’ve had the wind blow me off my feet (and once used my rollerblades and jacket to sail-skate).
Chicago was perfect for me at the time and I think a part of me will always love it. I love it in a way different from how I loved Del Mar or Cleveland. I love it for saving me, for crafting and honing me in the me I am today. I don’t know that if I’d been anywhere else, I’d have done what I did. I don’t know if being somewhere easier, or closer to a safety net, would have changed my choices. It was the right choice for me at the right time.
To be fair, I can’t say as I love where I love now. But I don’t need to right now. I don’t need to be embraced by it, since I love where I work, who I work with, and of course, who I live with. Not to say I was alone when I moved to Chicago (I had Dad and Arthur), but it was the first time I started to be me on my own, and that’s scary. The OC is now a place where I can relax and be me, regardless of where. I don’t need to define myself by a place anymore, because I’m clearly defined as me.
I love you Chicago, I always will, but I’m not homesick. I’m not even poking fun at you for your weather. I just note the bad weather, wonder if my friends are okay, and move on. We grew apart. But don’t worry, we’ll always be friends.