As Ryan and I continue to figure out how long we plan to remain in Chicago before the great L.A. migration, we’ve made a decision to stop dealing with the city in the way we used to. Evidence of that is already clear from our rejection of our former synagogue. But we’ll be keeping ourselves apart form other one-note elements of the Windy City as well.
In May, Chicagoist featured a “Douche Vortex” Map of Chicago, highlighting the large key areas in town known for this city’s infamously shallow take on young upward mobility. Chicagoist defined it thusly:
Money + Large Amounts of Alcohol + Total Disrespect for Other People’s Boundaries = Douche Vortex
For us, they are the places where tanned Chads and Trixies spill from their Lexuses vapidly into and loudly drunkenly out of sidewalk cafes of wine bars and steakhouses to talk about life in Chicago as if it begins at Diversey Parkway and ends at North Avenue. Where the most Rachel Shteir-decried lifechance-limiting, empire-sympomatic aspects of this city are spoken of with unquestioning admiration and elevated to the same level as the American flag and apple pie.
Those places. Yes, Lincoln Park/Wicker Park/River North, I’m talking about you. Among others. Not that you could care less. But at this point, neither could we. If we’re sticking around for good or bad–and given our current gigs, for now it’s for good, though not forever–we might as well make the best of it. And that means no longer making excuses in our heads for the less-welcoming, less-diverse, less-open-minded parts of our eventually outgoing area.
Everybody is one stereotype or another. Just because our new apartment faces the city again, that doesn’t mean we do in our hearts anymore. So much of our lives have become centered in friends, work, shopping, and free time in the suburbs–and beyond–we just can’t do that silent eye-roll so many other Chicago locals do when it comes to local douchebaggery.
So for the next year or so, we’re happy to be the boring, classist, lakefront liberal couple who sneers at life south of Irving Park and enjoys our weekly visits to Walmart and monthly drives to anywhere that isn’t here. And then we’ll rent our ranch house in L.A. That isn’t to say there aren’t still aspects about life in Chicago that I love.
But like Patty Smyth sang, sometimes love just ain’t enough.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.