Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snow makes everything infinitely more impossible.

For the past 48 hours everyone in Chicago has been talking about the massive snow storm we were about to get. And now that it's here, I've officially commenced what we'll call the Season of Complaining.

I've lived in Chicago all my life, so I consider myself a hard core Chicagoan. I say "Ma" instead of "Mom" and drink Old Style like water. I know the grid system, hate the Kennedy and can tell you who has the best Italian beef in the city off the top of my head.

But no matter how many years I spend in the city, no matter how many pounds of snow I shovel off my car year after year, I still become a little whiny bitch for the first few weeks once that first snowflake hits the ground.

This is how it usually goes down:

It will take me longer to dig my car out of the snow than it normally does to make the full trip to work. After pulling the reverse-drive, reverse-drive until smoke literally envelops my car, I will dejectedly get out of my car and begin to dig my wheels out with my hands. And this will all be transpiring on Lincoln Ave., one of the busiest streets in Chicago where people will continue to drive past my hunched over figure, spraying snow from their back tires into my face. Thanks. Really. And of course I won't have a scraper or a brush, which are both kind of necessities in dealing with Chicago winters. What can I say? I'm an asshole.

After you sufficiently freeze your ass off on the street, it never fails that once you get on the road, highway, expressway, etc. that your windshield wipers somehow get covered in ice, even though you cleared them out not once, but twice before you left. And obviously you get stuck behind an oversized Vienna Beef hotdog truck that continuously spits up dirt and sleet right onto your front windshield. Let me just get rid of that, you think, but then you fire your wipers up and they tear across your dry windshield, with huge ice chunks grinding rock-sized grooves into the glass.

So then you'll do what any normal person would do and open your driver's side window, still trying to maintain the 75 mph you were cruising at and heave yourself out just far enough to grab the wiper as it comes back up. Only, maybe you grabbed too hard because now the wiper is in your hand, but you're back inside your car. DAMN IT. You just broke your wiper blade right off. MOTHERFUCKER.

Swearing and squinting, eventually you'll make it to work an hour or two later. You'll park, ride the elevator up to your floor, sit down at your desk and without fail, the office douchebag will stick his big fat head into your office and say, "The roads are a mess today, huh?" then laugh that goofy ass laugh that drives you nuts and walk away. And he'll be wearing snow boots.


You'd think I'd get used to the freezing cold winds that even the warmest coat can't break, the slushy, five seconds away from spinning out of control every time I change lanes morning commutes, the slow and inefficient way in which the Chicago DOT responds to the weather report. I know all this, and yet I still complain. Why?

Because that's part of being from Chicago. We complain.

We complain about the Bears, we complain about Daley, we complain about the expressways. We complain. That's what we do.

I know that winter means I'll walk around for about two months with the cuffs of my pants soaking wet. I know that it means once Dec. 1st hits, I will have about only one 6x6 area of street that I can actually park on that's not now considered a "Snow Route". I know that instead of turning on the heat in our apartment, I should just plop a big metal garbage can in the middle of my living room and burn my money in it homeless person style. ComEd you can kiss my ass.

I know all this and I still choose to live here because once that first crisp, white snow falls, all the dirt and grime and muck we've become innoculated by every day is washed away and I all at once remember that I live in the greatest city in the world.

Happy first snow storm Chicago!


Peter said...

Oh, man, the old reach out the window while you are flying down the highway, grab the windshield wiper and give it a thump move.

A classic.

Before Xmas this year we already had as many storms as we've had in entire winters in the past.

dmbmeg said...

Posts like these make me miss the Midwest. For serious.

country roads said...

You are brilliant.

I've tried to grab the wiper before and only ended up hurting myself...

sam said...

The coldest I have ever been was in Chicago. It was -2 and the wind was blowing 35 mph off of the lake, brutal. I was interviewing for a job out of college, this boy couldn't get his ass back to Texas fast enough. By the way I played golf yesterday in just a sweater.

Anonymous said...

You make me laugh. Though I don't usually comment, I'm adding to your complaint list. As I am also a chicagoan my love of the fact that NO ONE shovels there sidewalk makes my commute just as much fun. As I rely on the lovely CTA to get to work I want to mention that walking through however many f'ing inches of snow 8 blocks to the train made my day so much better. Really.

And then it will melt and freeze, making the walk a new and exciting way to almost fall into traffic.

Yeah, sorry to respond with a complaint, but like you said, it's Chicago and we like to bitch. To be fair, though, your bitching was a lot funnier and more eloquent than mine. Enjoy the pretty winter.