June 22nd, 2002

more observations on Chi-town

I'm not a talented musician or Jay-z; can I call it Chi-town anyway?

I love flying. This was only my third time flying, and the first one doesn't count because I was five. It still is exciting to me. To some people it's no more interesting than riding a bus or something, but I love it. I could sit at the window seat and look out the entire time. Oh wait, I did.

It's amazing how quickly the ground drops away when you take off. How quickly the cars and buildings are smaller than toys. I also dig that I can make out landmarks in areas with which I'm familiar. I also love looking out at the wing. I think it's cool to look at the wing and not really be able to see anything, but to know that the physics of what's keeping you aloft and alive are happening right out there above that wing.

Probably no one besides me will give a crap about this part.

I saw a lot of cars which I would consider relatively nice cars that you don't see much of in Wichita. A lot of Audis, particularly A8s and TTs. I had as many TT sightings in 3 days in Chicago as I've had in Wichita since that car became available. (I love TTs.) Also saw a lot of Volkswagens, particularly Jettas and Golfs. And a lot of the Golfs were GTIs. To me this is cool. One thing I didn't see in Chicago was a Focus ZX3. Not a single one.

In fact, I was going to say that I hardly saw ANY beaters, almost ALL the cars I saw were relatively new and nice. That's really in contrast to here. Wichita is such a WT town. There are so many people who drive shit cars. I was going to say that, until...

We got lost in the hood
That's right. My dumb ass decided upon leaving the downtown area to just drive West. I figured we'd hit Glen Ellyn eventually. Well, eventually, we did, but not before getting very nervous. We found Cicero, and we found the place where the freaks come out at night. It was intimidating. We saw an ambulance with NO cops around, with a group of people all gathered around someone who was on the ground. We didn't bother to stick around to find out what had happened. Eventually we made our way to 290 and got the hell out of there. I guess it was the neighborhood of Chicago Ave and Pulaski where we realized we were in the wrong neighborhood. Garfield Park area. Anyone? Comments?

I thought a lot about engineering on this trip. From the Radar at the airport to the mechanics of flying to the numerous drawbridges to the absolutely huge buildings and fantastic architecture. Humanity is really a pretty cool thing to be a part of. The fact that we've developed the ability to create all these things is pretty awesome. Of course, seeing all those skyscrapers reminds me of something I heard once which amounted to "skyscrapers are man's tribute to his own greatness" or something. Shades of the Tower of Babel.

I went to four places for beer. Uno's pizzeria (the original one downtown), Hard Rock Cafe, the bar in the hotel, and the cheesy bar at the airport. ALL of them had Sam Adams, and THREE of them had it ON TAP. TWO of them had Summer Ale on tap as well, and ONE of them (Uno's) had like four kinds of Sam. This impresses me greatly. It's nice to know that there's a town where GOOD beer is the norm, not ASS beer like it is here. Chicago = good beer town.

Other miscellaneous Chicago observations, and how it's different from Wichita

  • I was watching a Cubs game on TV in the hotel lobby. It was odd to think that this Major League ballgame was not happening in some city far away, but rather that it was only a few miles from where I sat.

  • The neighborhood mixture is fascinating. Tall narrow houses next to commercial areas next to industrial areas next to retail districts next to suburban looking areas. All very close to one another. You don't get that so much in Wichita.

  • There are SO MANY tall buildings in Chicago!! We only have like TWO here, and they're not even close to each other, and they're really not even tall. Only like 25 stories or something pathetic like that.

  • Downtown, during rush hour, they have to put traffic cops in the intersections in addition to the lights. The only time you see a cop directing traffic in Wichita is if the power is out at an intersection.

  • Chicago has a lot of limousines.

  • Chicago has a lot of sirens. (I like that)

  • Kansas City doesn't make me feel like a yokel, but Chicago did. I felt like a small-town redneck boy, all in awe of the "big city" and stuff.

  • There were really NO white trash people that I saw. All the poor people were like...well, other ethnicities.

  • I now understand the term "Urban Canyon". That's all downtown Chicago is. It's gorgeous. Man's conquest of the wild Earth.

  • Driving/traffic in the suburbs in Chicago is like driving in the city here in Wichita.

  • Driving/traffic in the city in Chicago is like nothing we have here. It's insane. It sucks.