Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sweet Home, Chicago

I know you know this; I am not *from* here. Utah, here. I was born in Northern California but I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I have Midwestern values, speak with an unidentifiable accent, except when I say "Da' boda yas", and am generally unconcerned with fashion trends, tipping points, and politics, except to smirk and remark blandly, "He was on the take? What a surprise..." If that makes no sense to you then I won't even attempt to explain the "Daley Machine."

So, I am not *from* here. This mindset got me deep in the kitty litter when I lived in Missouri, where I also was not *from*. See, I say I'm from Chicago. That's just for da boda yas that are not from Illinois (the 's', by the way, is silent). If I was in Illinois, I'd say I was from Des Plaines, Lake Villa, or Wheeling; places I lived. So I found out the hard way that when you ask someone from Kansas City, Missouri if they are *from* there, meaning the greater KC area, they believe you are asking if they are *from* the exact spot they are standing on when you ask them the question. So, take my advice, be specific when you ask because the words you speak immediately following their reply might get you in deep doo-doo.

But I am *from* Chicago, and I am going back to Chicago (and Algonquin, and Arlington Heights, and Twin Lakes, Wisconsin) in a couple of weeks for a couple of weeks to see my family, friends and attend my 30th High School Reunion.

Feel free to puke now.

I missed my 10 year— at that point 10 years was not nearly enough time between school and me. Now, the 20 year, I did that one, but I don't think I did it well. Although I got to see some people that I keep in touch with but just don’t see very often, I saw a lot of people who I don't remember, but that's not unusual for me; it was the 70's. I also saw a lot of people who really really liked me, or at least that was the impression I got. But they could have been realtors or Amway members. I don't know. It's kind of a blur now, but I know I went because I have a picture.

For my 30 year I figured, "F*ck it." I will not wear a nice dress/suit. I will not wear heels. I will wear what I wore all through high school—

Levi's, tennis shoes, and a t-shirt. I might throw a blazer over the top just to show I'm a grown up. Slave Driver snorts…

My close friends all know what I do for a living. Most of them, upon finding out would remark, "That job is perfect for you." The ones I knew in school but have not seen for ten to thirty years, (wow that so sounds like a prison sentence…) have no idea and I'm sure will either think it's great or gasp and wonder how I ever could have sunk so low. Others will marvel that I have managed to stay out of jail for all these years.

But I don't care. No, I never became a captain of industry or a mogul of some kind. Hell, I never even finished college. But I have a great life, enjoy doing what I do, and have no major complaints, other than my continuing fight with gravity.

And the thing about gravity is this: It's not just a good idea, it's the law.

And a word of advice: If you are ever in Missouri and ask someone if they are *from* there and they say "no" meaning (unbeknownst to you) that they are not from the exact spot that they are standing on but instead are from the surrounding area, do not follow up your question with the comment that "The people you have met *from* here are some of the stupidest people you have ever known."

Not a good impression. Or the fast track to making friends.


BCB said...

TWIN LAKES? OMG! The Dog's Favourite Person used to live in Twin Lakes. His dad lived there until he died a year ago. Been there many, many times. My oldest sister lived in Chicago area for years. Been there many times too. Ever eat at Lee's Chinese? Can't remember where it is -- northern suburb most likely. Glencoe? Awesome take-out. Wonder whether it's still there...

I've never been to a HS reunion. At first because I'd moved away from MN and it wasn't convenient and then because, well, I figured if I wanted to keep in touch with all those people, I would have. Hope you have a GREAT time up there!

Anonymous said...

After the fall of Saigon, we started getting a lot of immigrants from SE Asia. If you said, "Where are you from?" they would tell you the last place they lived or were transferred through. I noticed the same thing with Indians, who generally reported that they were from Canada, rather than saying "I'm from a small town outside Bombay (Mumbai, now)."

My neighbor says of Detroit, "It's not where I'm from, it's where I've been."

I guess different cultures have different ways of looking at origins.

Great post, as usual. You have a great time at that re-union. Show 'em how it's done.
HINEST: mid-western royalty