Welcome to Chicago, a place so caught between Midwestern politeness and its weird particularities that for newcomers, figuring out how to acclimate can feel like a steep uphill climb. Here are some basic rules.
Us Chicagoans are mostly an honest bunch—in that straightforward, very Midwestern sort of way—but every once in a while, we just can't face the music. Whether we're wholeheartedly trusting the CTA bus tracker, casting hopeful prognostications about the state of our weather, or making plans to catch friends do amateur (read: impossibly bad) improv at Chicago comedy clubs, sometimes we stretch the truth a little bit. Will we ever learn from our mistakes? Who knows! But in the meantime, here are all the lies we continue to tell ourselves.
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1. "I'm definitely not going to take an Uber tonight." Alas, two buses and a train ride to get home only seems manageable when you're sober.
2. "Malört tastes good." ...it doesn't, folks.
3. "I totally have money on my Ventra card." And then the turnstile is like, "You! Shall! Not! Pass!"
4. "This is probably the last snow of the season." Never forget: Winter isn't over just because it's late March.
5. "Sure, I'll go see my friend's amateur improv show." Joke's on you for agreeing haul yourself to a comedy club at 11pm on Thursday—now the real improv is how fast you can figure out how to cancel.
6. "Maybe I'll start biking to work." Hah. Okay. Maybe you will.
7. "Everyone would agree Chicago is better than New York if they just visited." Yeah, Chicago is great, but good luck convincing those "I New York Tourists."
8. "The lake is warm enough for a swim in May." Nothing like a bracing dip in 58 degree water to remind you that summer hasn't quite arrived yet.
9. "This is my last time ordering takeout this week." That late-night pad see-ew just hits different.
10. "The bus will be here in, like, five minutes." Suddenly, it's nine minutes. Then 14 minutes. Then 25 minutes...
11. "I'm too old for a four-hour waitlist." Next thing you know you've got friends visiting from out of town and they just have to try *that* burger.
12. "Yeah, I actually listened to Chance the Rapper before he made Acid Rap." Awesome flex.
13. "It's so nice out, I won't need a coat today!" Those 45 degree February days really make you act out sometimes.
14. "Dating someone who lives on the other side of the city isn't an issue." A 50-minute commute on the Red Line? For a hookup? It's never worth it.
15. "Only [insert absurd distance here] away? That's walkable!" Just because something is technically achievable doesn't mean you should do it.