Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturdays in the Chi

I had a helluva Saturday this weekend; the kind of weekend that makes you question your life choices and reminds you how terribly awfully lucky you are to be celebrating your summer in a world-class city with your kick-ass friends.

It all started with a street fest. We went to hear a friend's awesome band play at the summer on Southport fest. If you've ever lived in or visited the wonderous city of Chicago during the summer, you know that it magically morphs into a walking party in sporadic pockets. Walking down the street you can find a totally random fest nestled between bookends of buildings. Burger fest, bacon fest, beer fests- this one happened to be a "our street is awesome" fest. Kev and I happily trotted out around five, grabbed some beers on the closed-off street, and settled in from some truly grungy funk rock. Along the way, I gained a healthy buzz, lost some dignity, had a poem commissioned and written for me after bumping into an old high school friend, and almost drowned a pocket puppy with half a glass of red sangria while trying to discern whether or not it was actually "the fluffiest puppy at the fest." True story. Countless drinks later, our hot, sweaty troupe headed to the bar down the street with live country music. We drank, we danced, and way later in the night, Kev and I stopped for ice cream on our two am walk home.

It is nights like these that make me remember why I live in a small condo in a big, expensive city. Other friends of mine are starting to make their way into the suburbs- lured, no doubt, by the amount of home they can get for their money, less obscene taxes, and a non-traffic snarled commute. And yes, they can still come down for summer fests, but by moving they lose something else: serendipity.

I love this city because it is expensive and unpredictable. Because it is big, and loud, and you have to keep your head about you while navigating. I love that I have an honest to goodness tiny corner bar, with bartenders who know my name and have my icy Crispin and order of guac ready before I even ask. I love the tiny carry out places for late night food, and the fact that I can get ice cream at two am shitcan drunk and the guys behind the counter don't even bat an eye. I love that stopping by to see a band play and have one singular beer can turn into a late, irresponsible night. I love that one day my kid or kids will dance in front of a loud stage to music with wildly inappropriate lyrics while the band members soak them with SuperSoakers. I love the languages on the crazy bus route by my house, and the people that commute on the train who I wave to in the mornings.

A part of me knows that some day I, too, am going to head to the burbs in search of better schools and a yard to put a swingset in. But until that day, I need to get off my butt, get out the door, and give the world the opportunity to present me a day like yesterday: a day where the group kept getting bigger, the music louder, and the night longer. A day and night to remind me that I'm here, it is now, and you don't get memories: you make them. One sangria soaked dog at a time.

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