A thing that is true about me is I get particularly annoyed when people have an irrational competitive positive team-spirit attitude about the city or state or country they are from. So part of me wants to identify this Chicago winter we are now knee deep in as specifically worse than in other regions of the country. But that isn’t true. There are other places that have it worse. But it is my tendency to do so.

I’m from Iowa. Growing up there, we talked endless shit about it. We hated the towns, the country, the geography, we hated the weather, the people, the economy.  We had no love.

But when I moved to Minnesota, and people would scoff at me for being from Iowa, (I would get the condolences of Minnesotan strangers when I told them where I was from) as if Minnesota is better… I wasn’t expecting that. My attitude could best be described as, I can say what I want about my brother, but don’t YOU say anything about my brother. Also, their arguments against Iowa weren’t valid. It was stuff like, “Ya’ll fish in the ditches, don’t ya, cuz ya’ll are stupid,” and “Ya’ll don’t drive so fast, huh.” Minnesota is geographically identical to Iowa.

But it made me appreciate Iowa more. We don’t give a fuck where you’re from. We’re gonna be nice to you or silently judge you. We don’t have this forced bullshit love of our hometowns that other places seem to have. We don’t sing our school fight song when we get together. That’s not a thing that happens. What does happen is we will visit our hometowns or our college towns or places we liked once, find the one thing we liked about it, and hold onto and savor that one thing until the juices have been sucked dry. And then we will mourn the loss.

When I moved to Chicago, they didn’t have the same attitude toward Iowa that Minnesota has. And no one is really from Chicago, anyway. If they’re not from the suburbs, they’re from other states and don’t care about Iowa anyway. It’s just another place that fills in the blank of “where are you from?” when making small talk at parties. There’s not a competition.

Though there was this attitude of “Don’t you love it here? Isn’t it totally awesome here?” which wasn’t really how I was feeling then. I didn’t know anyone or know my way around and I was sort of just waiting to start sticking basically. So any enthusiasm I had for it at first was forced. Though, obviously, since being here I have created nodes and different niches and found things I loved and began to surround myself with those things. And it’s gotten to the point where I can’t realistically imagine moving anywhere else. It would be a great sacrifice. It has everything I could ever need.

But where I wanted to go with this is… Chicago winters are goddamn cold. They are not more cold than your winters. But goddamn. It’s cold. And my tiny apartment is doing this thing where the ceiling area will be really hot, and I will be sweating on top and have to remove a layer. But my feet are fucking freezing. Like. They are in pain because they are cold. And if you touch the floor, you will need to get up and wrap yourself in a blanket.

Which is oddly enough also how my microwave is. I will cook something and part of it will be burnt to a crisp, black and splitting, and then another part will still be cold. And there’s nothing I can do.

Anyway. Just an observation.


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