I went out of town to take a walk.
Before I fell in love with New Orleans, Chicago was my favorite city in the world. Having interned there in the summer of 2005, it holds a special place in my heart as the only place outside Ohio I’ve ever called “home.” I’ve made a few quick jaunts to the city since 2005, but never during the summer. And listen. Chicago is magical in the summer. Overdue for some Summertime Chi, I visited my friend and Chicago native Ashleigh while she worked a two-day astrology conference; giving me two days of solo wandering around downtown Chicago.
It was perfect.*
Chicago is a grid. I remember this. But passing time eroded my sense of direction. After some Google Maps trial and error, I stopped fucking around with turn-by-turn walking directions and went with “I know this street crosses that street so I’ll just walk this way until I find it.” That worked. I found my way to the Riverwalk, Navy Pier, and ended up at Jane Addams park, listening to Ben L’Oncle Soul’s “Feeling Good” and sitting by the lakefront, watching a stocky, thick-shouldered man (I named him Billy) shirtless tan.
Side note: I adore the Riverwalk but forgot They-Mans-in-Chief has a hotel prominently placed there. There’s something creepy about a high rise baring a sitting President’s name in bold, silver capital letters letters. Felt very dystopian/authoritarian government. And no, I didn’t photograph it because fuck that dude.
Walking to Navy Pier, I eavesdropped on a woman talking about her divorce. She married one of the smartest, kindest men she’d ever met and it turned out he was an addict. “Good for you, getting out. I know that couldn’t have been easy,” one of her companions said.
“It got to a point where I had to ask myself if I was a victim or a volunteer,” she replied.
Because roaming museums is my jam, spent a couple hours touring the Museum of Contemporary Art. I usually find contemporary art too “out there” and prefer the classic stuff, but Chicago’s MOCA had some dope exhibitions. My favorite was “To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again” by Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga.
Leaving the museum, a tall, slim light-skinned gentleman stopped me. “This is gonna sound weird,” he said, “but can I cut your hair?”
It took a second to ascertain that he was a barber. “I don’t live here,” I said. “And besides, who cheats on their barber?”
If Saturday was about the skyline and lake views, Sunday’s walk was about letting the towering buildings swallow me up. I strolled aimlessly for hours, Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” on repeat, staring up at the architectural marvels around me. This is my version of not letting the elevator bring me down.
Want to see more shots from my Chicago visit? Check ’em out here.
[*] Perfect, EXCEPT for all the fucking Chicago Cubs paraphernalia triggering me every time I looked up. Couldn’t even purchase a bottle of water without a stupid Cubs logo on it. (I left that water where it was. I’d have to be choking like Joffrey at the Purple Wedding before I ever touched that shit.) #RollTribe