I had plenty of time to think up this list this morning, as I had to spend 2 hours waiting in traffic court to contest a completely unnecessary parking ticket (which was dismissed - WOOT!). Although I LOVE this city, enough to get it's flag tatt'd onto my arm, there are plenty of things that fucking suck about Chicago. Here's a list, which will be followed up by another of reason why Chicago RAWKS.
Last year 510 people were victims of homicide in this city. If that's not awful enough, 21 students have already lost their lives, in 2009 ALONE. Many of whom were senselessly murdered in or near schools. With the economy in the shitter, and crime growing, this number is likely to increase this year. Sad.
Obviously, living in a big city means that your cost of living is going to be higher than living in the suburbs, but Chicago takes this trend to the next level. We even beat New York City with our sales tax, which presently is 10.25%. Fuck. Don't even get me started on tobacco taxes. Yesterday I used a $0.75 off coupon at a 7-11 for a pack of smokes; the total was $7.58 after the discount. Double Fuck. Chicago even taxes bottles of water to the tune of $0.05 per bottle (on top of the general 10.25% sales tax). That's some really fucked up shit.
3. THE WEATHER
Don't get me wrong, when it's nice here, it's NICE. But the other 11 months of the year mean living in sub-Artic and/or gawd-awful Humidity, sometimes within the space of 24 hours. I've adjusted to living without air-conditioning, but I don't think it's humanely possible to get acclimated to wind chills of -40 degrees. It's not a matter of comfort; the winters here can KILL you and the summers are capable of melting your mind. There's usually a few nice days in May though.
Technically this is an adjunct to #3, but still warrants it's own Bitch-Out. I understand the concept of freeze/thaw that forces the asphalt to expand, crack and open up a Buick-sized portal to hell. But I can't help to think that if the road paving industry wasn't totally FUCKING SHADY, perhaps the potholes wouldn't be as numerous in quantity or size.
5. THE WHOLE NORTH VS. SOUTH SIDE THING
If it's not already totally apparent, I am a North Sider (i.e. Cubs fan/frequent cell phone user/college educated), and proud of it. But I don't understand why I should be. Maybe it's because anyone I've ever met that identifies as a South Sider wants to remind me how much of a pussy I am or how "gay" the Cubs are. Still, I was happy for the South Side when the Sox won the world series in 2005. Not "hey let's torch that fucking car" happy, but pleased nonetheless. If the Cubs ever win a world series (which I doubt that hey will within my lifetime) I imagine the city would BURN TO THE FUCKING GROUND. Again.
6. THE CHICAGO FIRE
Outside of the total devastation and human loss caused by the firestorm that engulfed Chicago in 1871, it's legacy is one of absurdly strict fire prevention measures, namely a fire hydrant every 10 FUCKING FEET. Argh. Anyone that has ever circled Lakeview looking for parking spot on a Friday night knows how annoying it is to think you found a spot, only to glimpse the lonely fire hydrant surrounded by 15 feet of yellow curb. Oh, the loss of all that original architecture sucked too.
7. ROB BLAGOJEVICH
I don't think I need to go into detail about this one. I will say though that considering he lives near me, I've shown considerable restraint in not taking a dump on his front yard (yet).
8. THE POLICE
Most of my interaction with Chicago's finest have been great. Although when I had to file a police report when my car got sideswiped, the Sargent was a total DICK. Oh, and apparently getting run over by a car doesn't result in a police report (or at least one they can locate). Also, STOP WITH THE FUCKING PARKING TICKETS ALREADY.
9. "SECOND CITY" STATUS
Citizens of Chicago...despite it's faults you live in a world class city. There is no reason to apologize for not being from New York. It's a nice place and all, but this cow town has plenty of attributes. How about some civic pride people!
10. PARKING METERS
In an effort to stave off financial disaster (I think the budget deficit was around $500 million for this year) Da Mayor elected to lease the parking meter's to a hedge fund. Meter's that now cost $0.25 an hour and only need to be paid from 6 or 8PM, will soon increase to $0.25 for 15 minutes and will need to be feed 24 hours a day, including Sundays. Such bullshit X 10!
11. NAVY PIER
Easily my least favorite part of the city. I'd honestly prefer sipping on a 40 near the burnt out ruins of an AMC Pacer on the West Side at 4AM on a Sunday, than to spend time at this tourist trap. Yes, the view is nice, particularly from the Ferris Wheel. But the rest of this slice of pseudo "Disney on the Lake" can sink as far as I'm concerned.
12. FATTY FOODS
OK, this is kind of a good thing, but potentially a suck-y thing. Friends, there are none rarer pleasures in life than consuming a cheese-laden BRAT while drunk on shitty beer. At least for me. But if one isn't careful, you're liable to blow up like a fucking balloon. There's a reason why Chicago is a perennial fixture on the Men's Healths' "Fattest Cities" list (according to MSNBC we're #1! WOOT! COUGHCOUGHCOUGH). And that reason is called "ghetto fries".
13. THE KENNEDY
It often amuses and even more often-ly disgusts me that we would choose to name a cluster-fuck of an "expressway" after one of our most celebrated presidents (perhaps a result of Daley J and/or the Mob getting JFK elected?). Ever been on this road on a Friday afternoon in the Summer when both the Cubs & the Sox have games occurring? UGH X 10! I've been stuck in such bad jams that I was worried my bladder might explode. Not fun!
14. THE "LIVERY" INDUSTRY
If there is one class of people to universally dismiss with extreme prejudice in Chicago, it's the dreaded/certain to be a prick Limo Driver. I have a theory that they are actually taught to drive like such ASS-FUCKS; how else would one explain the driving dynamics of a Croatian piloting a 50' foot long Hummer through the Viagra Triangle? [BRAIN-FREEZE]
15. THE VIAGRA TRIANGLE
Speaking of douche bags, Chicago sports it's own take on "hell-on-earth", which in local parlance is pronounced "Rush Street". Imagine great floods of over-dressed/muscled gray haired guys trying to hook-up with 19 y/o Blondie girls. It makes Boystown look downright classy in comparison. I propose we burn it all down and begin anew.
16. SHITTY WATER
My faucet is at the business end of the Lake Michigan, one of the world's finest bodies of fresh water. For that I am blessed. However, in the few days when the weather permits it, the beaches (yes, we have those here) are typically closed far often then they are open. The reason? Too much POOP in the water. Thanks Milwaukee (our neighbor to the north routinely dumps un-treated waste water into the lake which travels south to us!).
17. THE COMCAST MONOPOLY
Anyone who has ever dealt with Comcast customer service can testify how bullshit it is to even think attempting to reason with this corporation. I feel bad too because I usually get a very nice/friendly person to answer my call(s) and they are tasked with giving me stupid information that make me want to break things. BUT...I have no choice. There is only game in my particular part of town; it's a necessary evil.
Call me sentimental, but when Macy's took over Marshall Fields, I got all kinds of pissed off (see #9). Not for the chain (whatever) but in particular the main State Street store. My Mom used to work there in the 70's and I've been wearing shit from there ever since. My last purchase was a Calvin Klein suit. Now I refuse to walk through the doors. PssssssssssssH.
19. THAT ASSHOLE THAT PREACHES IN FRONT OF OLD NAVY ON STATE STREET
Citizens of Chicago know EXACTLY who I'm referring to. For those that are not aware, we here have had a very vocal presence telling us how we are ALL going to hell (whether you're a homo, a non-Christian or a drunk - fuck I'm all 3!) on a daily and very LOUD basis for at least 10 years. I've asked many people why he hasn't gotten a ticker for loitering, and no one can give me a straight answer.
20. IT'S A SWAMP!
The word "Chicago" directly translates into "onion" in certain Native American dialects (namely the Potawatomi). The idea to build a major city on slowly sinking land resulted in some cool engineering feats (Caisson foundations anyone?) but the fact of the matter is that the soil beneath my building is as porous as a collection basket at a baptist tent revival. Kind of "un-settling". OK - that was a poor attempt at soil humor.
21. TASTE OF CHICAGO
Ever wanted to eat a piping hot piece of deep dish pizza in 98 degree weather while surrounded by 500,000 of your "closest" friends? This event occurs every June and never fails to fuck up traffic for anyone within a 15 mile radius. Did I mention it's expensive too? And requires the purchase of tickets (which you always, always end up with extras) which means a third line to negotiate/sweat in? Not fun. AVOID.
22. THE WIND
Although this is NOT actually the windiest place on earth, it's still windy as FUCK. If I'm walking down the street in the winter, and wearing eye-glasses my right tear duct has a tendency to act up and spew tears forth-ward. It makes me look totally EMO, like I'm just walking down the street and crying at the very sight of puppies or newspaper boxes. I always find myself pulling a "Chandler-From-Friends" in that I'll randomly ask no one "could it BE any colder?"
23. DID I MENTION TAXES?
24. AL CAPONE
Last time I was in Europe, I was last asked "oh - Al Capone! rat-rat-rat?" (coinciding with dual gun-fingaz) by some vagrant in Frankfurt. Asshole. Another time I was in London and some dude trying to sell me weed said "don't worry! we're not you people here - we won't shoot you!" Thanks. Yes, Big Al was a large presence in terms of popular culture, but unbeknownst to some people that don't live here, us Chicagoans are not all 100% packing heat in the form of a Tommy Gun at all times (just sometimes).
25. ASSHOLES LIKE ME!
Though I'm not good at describing my attributes or lack thereof, I am certain that I am a certified ASSHOLE. Having said that, I think it's fair to say that I'm a certain breed of asshole, one who is actually a nice guy at heart (but a dick just the same) who will hold the door open for you, just as easily as I'd shut on your person.
WOOT! That took FOREVER. Tomorrow or the day after I'll write the follow-up, "25 Reasons Why Chicago RAWKS WIT IT'S CAWK OUT". Consider yourself warned!