Caveat: this may only apply for Chicago, because I have only lived on both sides of the fence here


So you live in the suburbs and you visit “the city” every couple months and the only exposure you have is massive buildings holding office equipment, people, dogs, cats, and even a few shoe strings. Although the buildings you see while down there are so big you can’t even wrap your mind around the sheer number of people that could fill all that space. Well, contrary to popular belief we are not packed in like sardines. Most people do not live in sprawling high-rises, strangely enough most high rises are for what I’d call the polar ends of income. Most us live in stacked three floor apartment buildings, or a house divided up – there seems to be a whole lot of ‘tall’ buildings, but most of what you see downtown are stacked up with desks and staplers.

A whole lot of us don’t work in those offices either, most of us work in tiny little small businesses hauling this or that, serving you coffee, or rubbing your back. The city isn’t ‘downtown.’ Most people who live in the city despise downtown. Because well, you are there – tourists, old people, gawkers, looky-loos and the like. That’s fine, you all can enjoy our high taxes while shopping for your family if you want to. Happy for you to pay into our pot, I’m not being facetious, just honest.

We don’t all live in slums. We don’t all hear gun fire. Not all of us have loads of money or even very much at all.

Things we do have: better food, better entertainment, better bars, better beer, better coffee and a greater variety of the those. We can walk or take mass transit to nearly anywhere we’d like to go. We can walk to the grocery store and if this doesn’t seem earth shattering, trust me when I say that it is. We have parks and green space.

We aren’t stuffed full of homeless people. We don’t all run on the lakefront. Not all of the white people live in neighborhoods with too-high rent bursting full of douche bags. We don’t all go to the gym. Not everyone goes to the museums everyday.

Just because you do it every single time you are here, doesn’t mean we do. Usually the only time we do any of the boring shit is when your here – it gives us great perspective on living here.

Rid yourself the preconceived notions about city living and give yourself a chance to live in one, at least once in your life. Yeah, it’s not for everyone, but everyone should try it.

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What its really like to “live in the city”

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December 14th, 2010