Somehow I have been living in Chicago for almost seven years.
How the hell did that happen?I remember being in New Paltz, NY for a while…and then I vaguely remember moving a bunch of shit out of a tiny little apartment…I remember a truck…I remember really scary, pink, lobster bisque somewhere in the middle of the country….and then I remember driving into town along the lake.
Somewhere, seven years have gone bye-bye. And I turn 30 this year…which means I’ve been here since I was 23 and that just doesn’t seem possible. Because I moved right after graduating college…1998….hrm..well I guess maybe the math DOES add up. It’s never been my strong suit after all.
So seven years. In one place. In one of the few places I ever thought I would end up…EVER. I think I swore on a stack of bibles once a year until I was 23 that I would never leave New York. Then, though, something happened and New York became too much for me to handle. Maybe it was the crowds. Maybe it was Disney taking over Time Square. Oh, wait…I REMEMBER what it was. It was the cost of living! That’s right.
Believe it or not, people who graduate with B.A.s in English don’t make a lot of money straight out of college. In fact, we tend to starve, or seek employment in unrelated fields.
And sure, maybe if I had found a job right out of college and stuck with it, instead of floating aimlessly across the Midwest wind currents I might be making more money right now but, boooo, how dull.
So, here I am, avoiding the expense of NY, trying to eek out a living and a nice apartment here in The Second City and what do they do? They raise the cost of living! Right here! In Chicago!
WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?
To be fair, it’s not the cost of living so much as it is the cost of getting from one place to another. It’s a fare hike. A cruel, poorly thought out, detrimental to all walks of society, fare hike. (Ooh, see now the beginning of this sentence seems like it might be a funny pun. Let’s go with that shall we?) Apparently it’s not enough that we pay $1.75 to get on a train that doesn’t even have straps to hang onto. It’s not enough that in the dead of winter (which is most of the year around here) you have to stand outside and wait for busses that sometimes take an hour to show up.
*My favorite part of trying to catch a bus is when you’ve been standing at the stop for about 40 minutes and way in the distance you think you maybe see a bus. But, you are wrong. Not because there is no bus. In fact, there are 4 buses…an armada of buses if you will. Where have they all been? Where are they all coming from? Were they having tea and crumpets somewhere?*
Now they are talking about either cutting service that already sucks or raising fares…on service that already sucks. Any day now it’s going to be cheaper to own a car and deal with all of those hassles than it will be to be a conscientious commuter trying to do my part against global warming trends and exhaust pollution.
Also, have they even thought about what this is going to mean when all of the amateur drinkers are out on weekend nights? This city already sort of indulges the drink and drive set. Too many bars have parking lots and valets. One would think they would host more cab stands than valets but…whatever. I am just a mortal pedestrian fearing for her own safety and the safety of those around her. See how conscientious I am?
OK so we’ve got the possible fare hikes. We’ve got the possible service cuts. We’ve got a busload of angry commuters and all of the drunk drivers.
Sick, but New York is beginning to look appealing in comparison.
And no, this had nothing to do with weddings whatsoever. So sue me.