Consider an AirBnB rental. Most of the city’s hotels are downtown, an inaccurate picture of everything we have to offer. Museums are never boring and our museums are certainly not. The AIC is the pinnacle, but the MCA is where my heart settles. Our neighborhoods are weird and good. Visit and love Pilsen if you only have time for one. Literally anything to do there will work. Get to the waterfront. You’ll be confused that a lake can seem so vast and impenetrable, but you will like it. In a few months, it will be summer. Try a street festival. They are corny, but they are also very Chicago. Walk downtown. Just reserve an hour or two to feel the buildings surround you. I have traveled all over and only Chicago’s buildings make me feel the weight of my smallness. You will feel the world as it is, all bodies, all lives, all history. Go to Dusty Groove. Just go. Take a food tour: a hot dog from Hot Doug’s, a jibarito from Borinquen, fried chicken from Crisp … there is more, but I’m getting hungry. Go to Smart Bar. It doesn’t matter what night. Any night will be perfect. Take a shot of malort. Any bar should know what I mean. Then take another if you’re especially brave. I think you’re brave.
A diary is yours alone and only you can know what to include in it. But maybe consider: lists of things to accomplish, illustrations, quick anecdotes about the day, a summary of everything you’ve loved and hated thus far, a numerical ranking of hookups, a collection of your feelings over a collection of your activities. I do a little bit of everything.
I lost my job on Tuesday. I was fine, and then I panicked in a way I hadn’t in years. I forgot how it easy it is to be unsure of things. I forgot what it is like to start all over again. You think that it will be easier once you are older because with age comes wisdom, but that is not the case. I am older, but I know now how risky everything is, how nothing is as straightforward and rational as we want it all to be. Things won’t happen the way we want them to…maybe they are not supposed to in the end.
With that said, I took a shot of fireball with my coworker at 5 and knew that change is not always wrong or bad. Sometimes we must be forced out of the situations we find ourselves in. Sometimes our comfort is lacking, but we stay put because it is all we know. I’ve been there with relationships, with friendships especially. We play these scenarios out again and again until we learn from the past. Eventually, we become better and stronger. But it takes time and care. I’m learning to take care of myself.
I was naive to believe we are concerned for each other - strangers and family alike - equally. I was naive to think that we are all strong in mind and body. I was naive to think of anyone but myself. I was naive to try when everything told me not to again and again.