I left Chicago in 1999 after a significant snowstorm. I had the coolest loft apartment with those big industrial floor to ceiling windows with the metal hand crank that let’s you open a square portion of the window for air circulation. And exposed duct work, and a great glass elevator. Anyway, I recall looking out the window during this snowstorm (it must have been New Years 98/99) and where I would usually find my car was the equivalent of a jar of marshmallow fluff dumped on a match box car. I eventually dug my poor little retro beemer (funky but old and uncomfortable) out with a broom and a bucket. I was thinking about that today because I got an e-mail out of the blue from someone I went to high school with who asked a lot of questions about what I had been up to. It all makes me think of Chicago and what I miss and why I left. My 20th high school reunion is this year. I haven’t yet decided whether I am going.
I also remember the hot and humid summer in Chicago. You had a choice: stay inside or stop giving a damn about what you looked like. I tended to do a little of each; stay inside much of the day and then go out when the sun went down and the city breathed a sigh of relief. I can practically taste those last few summers and I’m not really sure whether it makes me happy or sad to think about it (is that what they call melancholy? It’s confusing and I don’t like it much). I miss Chicago, but all the work that went into trying to be cool (and cool) was truly exhausting. I think I mentioned that my twenties sucked but I’m not sure whether my teens were any better or worse. They just came with more glittery eye shadow and a soundtrack compliments of U2, before they got all commercial, and some Reebok high tops.
And this brings me to today where, in my backyard, the thermostat reads 95 degrees. On the hot days like this (so few of them) I stay home rather than go into the air conditioned office because my house gets really hot and I feel sorry for my dog; we tough it out together. At the first onset of heat, he goes outside to lie in the sun. Then when the novelty has worn off, he starts shifting around to different places, looking for that one place that’s going to be comfortable. It doesn’t exist. Right now (5 PM) it’s 92 inside and I decided that the temperature where it starts to have an impact on my mood is 89 degrees in the house with no breeze. I’ll admit that perhaps my blood has thinned and that half of the reason I am writing this blog post is that when you are subjected to such heat, the best remedy is to whine about it. And there’s nobody here to listen but you.