Reasons I hate Chicago:
1) I hate cities.
2) I hate suburban sprawl.
3) I hate hate hate the traffic.
4) I hate how Oak Park has turned into traffic-calming condo land.
5) Being at home with family can be stressful (uh, hi mom, hi dad, love you!)
6) Natalia lives far from me and is too busy working her high-powered law firm job.
Reasons my day in Chicago made me, for the first time ever in my life, actually consider living here someday:
1) I actually know where the hell I am going, unlike the 8,256 other places I have been in this country in the past month.
2) I got to go to the Green City Market., where only regional farms that do sustainable/organic farming sell their produce/freshly home milled grains/yummy cheese/fabulous prepared food, etc etc.
3) Getting locked out of my car... oh wait, not so much that. Although AAA came in 15 min and I got to sit in Lincoln Park across the street while waiting.
4) My favorite store in the entire world (I do not exaggerate), Village Discount! The one I normally go to was closed, so I visited the one on North Clark St. Village Discount, you see, in addition to being the most fabulous and cheapest thrift store in the history of the world, also has multiple locations in the city. And, if it is even possible, this new location is about 10 times better than my old favorite... starting with the fact that the floor is actually finished, instead of the rather medieval nonlevel concretey affair in the Halstead store. And it was air conditioned. And I might actually consider bringing my purse into the store with me. (I had it stolen out of the Halstead store before... still my favorite store, I swear!) See below for more on VD. Yes, yes I am still talking. I love VD.
5) I got to frequent the Lincoln Park Whole Foods, which has the best bulk selection ever. I'm going to have the best homemade trail mix I-90 has ever seen.
6) Taste of Chicago! Happening at the same time I'm home! Food as far as the eye can see, teeming masses, severe heat and humidity, what's not to like? Actually the masses were much less teeming than ever, and it was shockingly cool out this evening (yes, 80+ is considered cool by Chicago summer standards). Again, see below.
7) Unloading presents on my parents and showing them all 318 of my road-trip-so-far pictures.
Things I bought at Village Discount, for a total of $18.50. And nothing was half price, which it usually is: 4 pairs of pants, 1 dress, 1 skirt, 4 shirts. All looking like they came off the rack yesterday, all from such places as Old Navy, Ann Taylor loft, etc.
Things I ate at the Taste (and no, I did not gorge myself to the point of immobilization as in previous years, which Richard no doubt will be shocked to hear.):
Rice pudding with persimmons and cranberries
Red beans & rice with plantains
Plantains with garlic sauce
Corn on the cob with celtic seasoning
Frozen chocolate covered banana
In conclusion, Chicago = using its power mostly for good rather than evil, me = rambly and should be packing to drive back east early tomorrow.