Why I Hate Chicago
1. This sign. I hate Chicago because I hate this sign. It’s everywhere in winter in Chicago. Talk about paranoia. You are going to die! Any second! From an icicle hurtling down from above! It would be funny if it weren’t so TRUE. This sign (and falling ice) is one of the main reasons why I hate Chicago.
2. Sidewalks of ice. Wednesday morning, on my way into work, I bit it HARD on the ice and found myself face down on the pavement, left knee bleeding, lovely (and not cheap) Wolford tights ruined. I had to turn back home, fix up my knee, say goodbye to my tights (replacing them with vastly inferior M&S tights, which I still love, but they’re just not Wolford), and get to work 30 minutes later than I wanted to be. Some people are good about salting and/or sanding their sidewalks, but so many are apathetic. It drives me crazy. (Later, I bought these ice grips for my shoes to prevent this from happening again.)
3. Khaki trousers on men AND women. I went to a friend’s Christmas party last year and wore a cocktail dress and there was a woman wearing khakis. On the one hand, I appreciate that she is being herself. On the other hand…mix it up a little! It’s a PARTY. I bring this up because this is very common in Chicago. I really think women should ditch the khakis entirely. Basically, in my opinion, there’s a lack of individuality in Chicago that alarms me sometimes. I just wish the city was more stylish.
4. The traffic! Especially North Avenue on the weekends between the river and Halsted. Total chaos. Too many cars. Not enough parking. No bike lane. Everything is moving at a snail’s pace. This street is just not wide enough for everyone going to Whole Foods. (2nd runner up for the worst traffic in Chicago is Elston & Diversey by Target.) It’s really hard for me not to think “I hate Chicago” as I’m siting in traffic on a precious weekend afternoon. (And hey, I am not a car person. I’m talking public transport or Uber here.)
5. Down coats. I feel like the Michelin Man. Yes, my down coat keeps me warm. But I look silly. I don’t want to look silly. And try stuffing 20 extra people in down coats into a car on the Blue Line every morning. Ridiculous. The fact that we even have to wear these. Drives me crazy. I really just don’t want to be cold.
6. Chicago taxi drivers. My grossly unscientific study says 75% of them are on the phone while driving. Do you see me back here? Do you? Because I’m your passenger and your job is to get me from A to B without incident. Don’t act all surprised when I barely give you $1 tip while you’ve been fighting with your ex-girlfriend for the last 10 minutes. (Update: Obviously, I’ve switched to Uber since writing this but when I do take a Chicago taxi, the same thing still happens.)
7. Macy’s. I hate Macy’s. And I’m from New York. I want Marshall Fields and Fields Days back! Thank God you haven’t taken down the Marshall Field’s signs, Macy’s, or I’d never step foot inside you again. (But thank you for keeping the Frangos.)
8. Furniture Parking Space People. You know who you are. You dig your car out of the snow and put two lawn chairs out with a broom and expect the whole block to stay away. “Dibs” my ass. Sorry dude. Life doesn’t work like that. Next time, buy yourself some karma instead and dig a stranger’s car out too. Make the pie bigger!!!
9. Potholes. Come on Streets & Sanitation…you could put a hot tub in some of these potholes. I nearly lost my bike seat riding north on Milwaukee back in November when I hit one I couldn’t dodge because of traffic behind me. Thank God for the guys at Bike Lane, who fixed my seat super fast and then told me I didn’t have to pay. (They might make my list of 10 things I REALLY LOVE about Chicago.)
10. The entire month of January. Probably why I hate Chicago the most. (If you haven’t sensed a theme here.) I have forgotten how bitter you are. Coldest month of the year. I cannot wait until you are over. Next year, I will make sure I send myself to Brazil or something in January. Somewhere where I don’t have to wear a down coat or dodge potholes or icicles. Somewhere WARM.
11. The lack of decent public transportation. Before you jump all over me…Chicago transportation is okay and with all the new bus and train tracking devices, it’s gotten better. But I hate waiting 12 minutes for a Blue Line train. Also, the Ashland bus can be a little scary at times. I just wish everything ran more frequently. (And smelled nicer.) If you want to get anywhere on time, you really cannot rely on Chicago public transport, or you need to add an extra hour. Again thank God for Uber, or else I would really really hate Chicago.
12. The obsession with sports. I am not a sports fan. I’m kinda not into baseball or football or anything really. (Except maybe a little Chicago Fire.) When you’re one of the few non-sports fans in a city of sports fans, it’s tough. (One Sunday, I was at a bar and everyone was wearing the same thing — blue football jerseys — and I asked why!! LOL.) The only silver lining? Easy to get a brunch reservation at a hot new spot. when the Bears are playing!
13. Wrigleyville on the weekend. Too many drunk bros. Honestly maybe this should be the #1 reason why I hate Chicago.
14. Santacon. Stay home and lock your doors on this terribly depressing day when every 26 year old in Chicago dresses up as Santa or Mrs. Claus (or “Slutty Elf”) and gets completely wasted.
15. St. Patrick’s Day: Since when did Slutty Leprechaun become a thing?? Another day to stay home.
16. The shootings. Do I need to say more?
17. The guns. OK, this is really why I hate Indiana but still. It’s separate from the shootings because you can be mugged with a gun and not necessarily shot. Just the prospect of so many guns is another reason why I hate Chicago.
18. Deep dish pizza. This New Yorker says…not pizza.
Why I Left Chicago
After surviving the polar vortex of 2014, I said to myself, “I hate Chicago. I need to leave.” I moved back to London and donated my down coats and snow boots to Goodwill.
Word to the Haters
This post is pretty true — I have no desire to really spend any more time in Chicago — but keep it in context with this post.