Plan B

Posted on May 7, 2012


Apparently Mike was the only one happy with the moving truck.

If you happen to be either of my readers who were following my blog five months ago and wondered why I abruptly stopped writing, I can assure you that reports of my demise at the hands of some crazy Megabus driver or equally crazy Floridan retiree are exaggerated. For the past month, I’ve been settling into life in Chicago, at a new job and living in a new place.

“What the heck? What happened to the road trip?” one or both readers might ask. I was hoping the trip would be a means to an end — it would give me an amazing life experience but also hopefully help me land a job. It was a calculated risk, but I set a deadline for myself of being out of the paper by the end of February, and I knew I needed to find a new job, whether through the trip or some other possibility that might magically come along. And, luckily for me, that second possibility was precisely what transpired.

In a rather remarkable two-month streak of luck, I managed to land a new job in Chicago thanks to a friend who works at the company, find an amazing apartment and transport all of my belongings in a moving truck without causing any physical injuries to nearby drivers or too much emotional damage to myself (actually the only object I almost hit was a Camaro parked behind me in the lot where I picked up the truck). And, while it might not be the monthlong cross-country adventure living out of backpacks that I was planning, adjusting to life in Chicago is going to be one hell of a longterm adventure.

Apartment hunting in the city is like playing a broken game of whack-a-mole. A seemingly nice apartment might pop up on the market but, after looking at the location, you might not be so sure you want to bring the hammer down for fear of being stabbed coming home one night on the El. Then again, a legitimately nice place might appear on your radar (roof deck, indoor pool) but then disappear three hours later, before you can even make a move. Both instances happened in my case. When it came time to look at the apartment I ended up taking, I knew I had to move quickly if it was the one. I spent a total of two minutes looking around the place (the tenants were awkwardly present) before deciding I would take it.

That decision proved to be one of the best I’ve made in a long time (as opposed to my triple bacon cheeseburger and chocolate shake last-meal choice at Culver’s). I might be a little biased, but I think I have the best location in the city. I’m on a wonderful street, near one of the most vibrant (also, colorful) neighborhoods in the city, Lakeview, and I’m across the street from Belmont Harbor. To go to work in the morning, I have the choice between 30 minutes on a bus that picks up at my corner and drops me off at the door of my office or walking to the El for 15 minutes and taking a 20-minute ride to my office door. Life could be worse.

So I’m happy to be living a decidedly normal life — working a steady job, living in my own place and in the heart of the greatest city in the world. I’ve experience my first CTA-bus-driver-and-bicyclist fight. I’ve had a douchebag in Wrigleyville try to push me out of the way instead of ask me to move two feet so he could take a picture of the Ron Santo statue. Yes, I can definitely say I’m on my way to becoming a Chicagoan.

Posted in: Lakeview