As I said in my earlier post, we spent 4 days in Chicago last month as tourists. The precipitating cause was to go see "Wicked" for Tonks' birthday. Because her birthday falls in the traditional 4 day educator union gathering weekend, it seemed like a nice thing to do.
I noticed some things about Chicago that I hadn't noticed before. One was that it was a really really big city. Which is secret code for "stinky and dirty." We stayed at the Blackstone Hotel right on Michigan Avenue, overlooking the lake, and while the architecture is quite striking, the alleys are dark and smelly in a way they just aren't in St. Paul. So, it turns out, that while I appreciate that a big city provides lots of culture, I just don't want to be in as big a city as Chicago. Who knew?
Another difference I noticed was the street fashion. Admittedly, most of the people I run with tend to dress in "sensible mom" clothes, rather than designer duds. No Carrie Bradshaws in my circles. In Chicago, I saw lots of women who put a lot more effort into their outfits than that, but I'm not convinced that the end result was actually "more fashionable." They certainly tried harder, but I saw a woman pass me in an outfit I swear I used to own, back in about 1985, and even if those styles are back (which I doubt) they did her no favors. Had she been at least a foot and a half taller and weighed a good 40 pounds less, then her outfit would just have looked out of date.
There were a LOT of skinny women in skinny jeans tucked into knee-high black suede stiletto boots. THE Chicago look this fall, I guess. But it is a sign that I am bloody old, because it just made my feet hurt to look at them. In fact, it makes my feet hurt to remember them. Yeah. I'm old.
Maybe I'm just channeling old information, but I think of Chicago as still being solidly, eternally, unremittingly owned by the Democrats. Maybe there is no longer a "machine" per se, but it is no coincidence that the current mayor is named "Daley." Yet, Democratic Chicago is a very different sort of Democratic than the Democratic St. Paul, as measured in Prii.
Prii being the plural of Prius. While I continue to love my own Prius, here at home they're tremendously common--kind of like chips in a cookie. If Twin Cities traffic were a cookie, it would be Prius-flavored, full of Prius morsels. Yet in the 4 days we were in Chicago, I saw 2 Prii. Just two! I saw twice as many as that just sitting at a traffic light. Not even counting mine.
Does this mean anything? Probably not. But maybe I can warm myself through the coming long winter by basking in the warm glow of feeling superior to Chicago.