Well, I was today years old when I learned my favorite summertime feel-good anthem (Kanye West's "The Good Life") samples MJ's P.Y.T. (Lots of letters, I know.) So...I'm putting myself in hiphop head time-out. I don't know what that entails yet, but I'll find a suitable punishment.
"The Good Life" is my roll-the-windows-down-let's-go-to-a-street-festival sorry-uber-driver-but-I-am-not-driving-myself-there-because-I-will-be-having-a-few-beers jam. Or my jogging jam, but the first one is definitely more fun.
There is something magical about Chicago in the summertime. I'm getting emotional just typing about it. Perhaps that's augmented by a year of not having it due to COVID lockdowns. We went a year without street festivals, concerts, tourists, parades...it was spooky. Let's be honest. There's no reason to live somewhere like Chicago without the Arts and Culture (the winters...oh, the winters. *Shivers*). Sure, the people are nice, but you can find that in most of the Midwest while knocking a zero off the price of your house. (Sorry, mom and dad. I know you wish I would have stayed in CLE.)
Chicago (to me) is all about live music, good food, highly self- or institutionally educated thinkers who endorse progressive and compassionate lawmaking, and that guy on the corner of State and Monroe who told me I'm going to hell due to my short haircut. It's about walking around my neighborhood and hearing English, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean spoken, and seeing Black Lives Matter and Hate Has No Home Here signs in the windows. It's about people with shared experiences packing onto the L to go to work or see friends.
Sometimes I think my wonder is due to my occasional naiveté. I grew up next to a National Park (awesome), then moved to a small town in Michigan for my undergrad (also awesome), and finally settled in Chicago because of the gig opportunities. I spent my first year here with my eyes bugging out of my head and a jaw on the sidewalk, awestruck. I've been to NYC 9 times, LA twice, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Bangkok...and a shit ton of other places. Nowhere else feels quite like home.
Of course, Chicago has its share of problems. Systemic racism, police corruption and brutality (I'll save that one for another post, but in the meantime you can read this), rats (rattiest city in America, baby), and on a lighter note, traffic. I see that. I want to be part of the solution, and I'm involved with my neighborhood and ward as much as I can. But this blog post isn't about the necessary progress we must achieve. It's a short love letter. Don't worry. I'll cycle back with my radical leftist opinions another time.
So, hey. If you feel safe to visit Chicago sometime soon, please do. I'm only an honorary Chicagoan (7 years as of 4/4/21!), but I gotta say...this is the best place on earth. Come eat the food of the incredible multicultural chefs, dance in Crown Fountain, explore some wacky art boutiques, and wear your favorite Defund the Police shirt. I'll be waiting.
Until next time, stay well, stay kind, and...
Welcome to the good life
Where n***** who sell D
Won't even get pulled over in they new V
The good life, let's go on a living spree
Shit, they say the best things in life are free
The good life, it feel like Atlanta
It feel like L.A., it feel like Miami
It feel like N.Y., summertime Chi, ahh
Now throw yo' hands up in the sky