Monday, September 2, 2013

Real life in Chicago: it's not all pretty pictures

Let me introduce Kelsey...


... this sophisticated specimen of young adulthood, whom I am lucky enough to consider one of my best friends.  I introduce her because she is the inspiration for my post this week.

In response to my usual plea for visitors (a strategic combo of guilt tripping, physical threats, and occasional blackmail), Kelsey told me that she felt like she "is already living Chicago" through my blog and Instagram.

And while that is the point, I also realized that it isn't completely true.

Take this weekend for example: Derrick and I went to go see the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  On my blog, I'd normally start with a short introduction highlighting the afternoon and follow it with some big, pretty pictures...





... that make it look like Chicago life is grand, that it rains strawberry margaritas and people here poop out unicorns and stuff.  But what people don't know is that for every Wrigley Field brochure worthy picture like this:


There are twenty more pictures that look more like this:


So you see, while everything I put on my blog is 100% true, it's not the whole truth.

But can you blame me?  I mean Pride and Prejudice isn't popular because it tells about Elizabeth Bennet's personal hygiene.  People want the interesting stuff, not a detailed description of your flossing habits.

And plus, blogs make it so easy to sugarcoat real life.  It'd be a piece of cake to write about the perfect afternoon weather and our exceptional view, add some artsy photo...


... and call it a day.  I could wrap it up without even mentioning me bumbling over the people in row 142 while trying (unsuccessfully) to make a smooth exit, or Derrick's expression after my completely unwarranted fist pump of enthusiasm as I was "trying to get into the game."

You wouldn't hear about the pushy Budweiser vendor Doug, who was under the impression that 30,000 people had congregated that afternoon just to try his Bud Light, or me moodily trudging 3 feet behind Derrick on the walk home, moaning dramatically about my poor, overworked little legs.

So what is life in Chicago actually like?  For the most part, it's probably not a lot different than the life most every other 20-something is living.  Take Friday, for example:

I get up and run, shower, and go to work.  The occasional bus driver rookie mishaps aside, it's pretty standard.  After work, I get home, take off my shoes, and generally throw myself around my various pieces of furniture until Derrick gets home from coaching.  I then stop floundering and we go to Walmart to buy some food.

Even here, photo editing and blogging sites make it easy for dinner at home to seem extravagant...


... while in reality, it's me trying to figure out how I'm going to fit 3 sweet potatoes worth of fries and green beans into my Easy-Bake sized oven and Derrick going to work seasoning the chicken while I follow him around with Lysol wipes (because that's what college microbiology courses do to you).

We then spend a bit of time admiring our domestic skills before digging in.  Through the rose-colored, Chicago living blog glasses I've put on you all, you might think we discuss something important over dinner, dissecting America's foreign involvement strategy or the impact of its changing same sex marriage policies.

But really, we just talk about my Fantasy Football team.

We then clean up and go out for some treats.


Don't get me wrong; I'm not at all trying to downplay the absolute perfection of a waffle covered in mashed-up Teddy Grahams (i.e. Speculoos) and pistachio gelato from Baladoché (according to Derrick, and I quote, "I never want to eat dessert again and this not be it.").

My point is, it's not like we finish dinner then go watch circus performers in sparkly unitards throw money into the crowd.  Chicago life is real life, not a Disney movie.  There have definitely been times when Chicago life is full of random excitement or movie scene worthy adventures; I'm just saying that they don't happen every day.

And I think that that is totally OK.  I like excitement but a lot of times, I'm happiest just putting on my Grandma pants and spending a Friday night with a good book.  World-class food is great, but so is discussing Flacco's strengths and weaknesses over homemade sweet potato fries.  If you're going to be happy, you've got to learn to enjoy the ordinary moments, like Derrick covering his frozen fried rice with aluminum foil because we don't have a lid big enough.


Moral of the story: if you want to know what Chicago life is really like, you have to come visit me to find out.  (And Suzi will tell you, I'll have a very agreeable air mattress waiting for you.)

Enjoy your Labor Day doing whatever it is that makes your life yours!

NOTE:  You may have noticed that today is Monday.  In the past, I've been posting on Sundays.  I don't know how many of you rely on my consistent blogging schedule to dictate your lives, but just in case: I plan on posting on Monday (and sometimes Thursday or Friday) mornings from now on.  Mom: take note.  Rest of the world: carry on.

NOTE #2: If this is too much remember, you can follow me with this awesome site called Bloglovin.  I use it to look at some of the blogs I follow regularly (like the Lean Green Bean, Smart, Pretty & Awkward, Madelynne at Pretty and Whole, and Andrea's site of weekly musings) so that I can eliminate that extra 5 seconds it takes to type in each web address individually.  Hooray, laziness.

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