Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Okay, Seriously?

I should become a travel writer (I say that as if I, a stay at home Mom with a high school education could actually score such a glamorous job).

Because once again, I find myself completely enchanted with this new and interesting corner of the world, and I feel compelled to share it with you.

Chicago. Everybody knows about Chicago.

Everybody recognizes the Sears Tower and Wrigley Field. Everybody knows about Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier and Lincoln Park. Everybody knows about The Art Museum and The Museum of Science and Industry. Everybody, but everybody, has heard of the Blues Brothers and the House of Blues.

These are all wonderful and fascinating places to be sure. Any visit to Chicago should include one or all of them. But in any city, tucked away out of sight and usually known only to locals or the extremely well travelled, are little pockets of urban charm; neighborhoods bursting with culture, vibrance and heart.

Lakeview is one such place.

Now, Lakeview is known as one of the largest and most widely known gay villages in North America, (each year they host one of the biggest gay pride parades in America)and it's true that it's diversity is part of what makes it so appealing.

But it's much more than just a haven for gay and lesbian city dwellers. It's a community in a way that is increasingly rare in the modern day interpretation of what the American Dream entails.

From the perspective of someone who lives in a homogenous, staid and sterile suburban enclave where we are isolated and divided by zoning laws and urban sprawl, the allure of Lakeview is undeniable.

First and foremost, Lakeview is abundant in visual charm. This is no small thing, because it is this that first draws you in. The homes are architecturally interesting, historically significant and gracefully majestic. Even in the newer construction, the attention to aesthetic details is evident.

The tree lined and sun dappled streets are evocative of my childhood, and perhaps that is why I was immediately filled with an incredibly odd and yet thoroughly comforting sense of having come home, though I was, in fact, almost a thousand miles from the place where I lay my head every night.

In my neighborhood, I can go for days without ever laying eyes on another human being. It can be a terribly desolate place, particularly for a young stay at home mother with no social affiliations through which to form friendships and make desperately needed contact with the outside world. For a lot of years, I was profoundly lonely here.

But in Lakeview, there are people out and about at all hours of the day night. There are dog walkers, library goers, shoppers, exercisers, and families. This is due to the fact that anything you might want is within walking distance.

And contrary to the area in which I reside, where independant merchants have been all but extinct by large chains and the relentless march of suburban progress....small, independantly owned establishments are abundant. We found everything from funky vintage clothing stores, to headshops, to used book stores and shops featuring handmade goods such as jewelry, handbags and accessories.

The larger chains are there; Trader Joe's, CVS, Starbuck's...but they do not completely eclipse the unique, the interesting, and the unusual. There are not a hugely pervasive presence the way they are here.

Then of course, there were the many neighborhood theatres, which I regret that we did not get to patronize. On my next visit to Chicago, I will definitely take the time to attend a production in one of those darkly thrilling little stage venues.

And it is clear that the residents of Lakeview take pride in their neighborhood. It is clean and well manicured. There is no trash lining the streets. There are baggies for disposing of pet waste at every corner. If it wasn't for the timely rumble of the el every ten minutes or so, you would never know that you were deep in the heart of one of America's biggest cities.

It seems a shame to me, when visiting a place, to stay in a cold and sterile hotel room which tells you nothing about the city or the people who live there. Lakeview tells a compelling story, one which I am very glad to have taken the time to discover.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the guesthouse where we stayed. The experience was so wonderful that I will gladly provide the owners, who were equally wonderful, with as much free advertising as I can muster with my modest little blog.

7 Comments:

  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    You really SHOULD! I can't wait to read the next installment!

    welcome back, btw.

     
  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger Natalie said…

    If you are ever back in the area I'm going to have to show you Edgewater, Rogers Park, Andersonville, and Hyde Park. I think you will fall in love with the city completely.

     
  • At 4:24 PM, Blogger Mamma said…

    I can't believe I was that close to you (at BlogHer) and didn't get a chance to stare at your beautiful cranium. What I wouldn't have given to meet the person attached to this beautiful writing.

    And as for the no high school diploma? I'm guessing they just couldn't challenge you. You absolutely could be a travel writer!

    So glad you had fun.

     
  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    We lived in Chicago (Evanston, actually) for six years. And yes, Lakeview is lovely. And Hyde Park. And...and...and...

    Sigh. I miss it. Particularly because I was a graduate student and thus working so hard I didn't get to explore it the way I really wanted to.

    Such an evocative post, thanks.

     
  • At 6:12 PM, Blogger jen said…

    you do realize we could have passed each other in the streets and not even known it? in fact, there was that one time i passed a gorgeous and lovely woman and felt a warm breeze. THAT WAS YOU. I just know it.

     
  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    The next time I go to Chicago I'm taking you along with me. I'd love to see that city again through your eyes!

    And it kills me that we were so close this weekend but never met!

     
  • At 7:21 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    I've spent much time in Chicago (when I lived in Detroit there were many times I *needed* me some city...you do it justice.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home