This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster (his non-white, non-dad wife), and their daughter Viva, who is currently pricing homes in San Diego.
Dear Chicago Winter,
You used to be cute. Novel. We were proud of how we managed to put up with you. We called this place “Chiberia.” We bragged about our heartiness to the wimps in D.C. and Atlanta who flip their cars over at the first snowflake. We called you “Bears Weather.” We had an unhealthy romance, but it was a romance nonetheless.
But you’ve changed.
You’re just obnoxious now. A joke that’s worn out its welcome. Like the guy at the party who won’t stop quoting “The Simpsons” even after you told him you haven’t watched it since 1997. Unrelenting.
Somehow you manage to be both mean spirited AND tedious. Like if Kathy Griffin was a season. And if what we read is true – irreversible global climate change – the new you isn’t going away.
At the date of this letter’s publication it’s likely to be almost 50 degrees, but Wednesday, snow. “The final snow of the year.” Mm-hmm. Just like last week. And the week before. I’ve lived here long enough to know that snow in April is far from a rarity, and given what the winter of 2013-14 has been like, I won’t be surprised if my daughter needs a St. Bernard with a rum cask around its neck to help her find her Easter eggs in the yard.
And it’s the children who’ve really suffered, isn’t it, Chicago Winter? The children who couldn’t go out and play because it was minus 45 degrees with wind chill. The children who will be in school until the middle of July to make up for the snow. (And they’ve already given up Pulaski Day, Chicago’s very own bogus holiday!) The children who’ve sat staring out the frosted windows, forgetting if they had ever seen the sun, and wondering if they ever would again. The children who wonder why Daddy won’t stop crying and why empty cases of Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout have piled up by the door into a sad fort of chemical dependency.
You hate children, Chicago Winter. God knows you hate parents.
And you owe me money, Chicago Winter. For the furnace repair. For the plastic on the windows. For the space heaters. For the windshield repair. For the sidewalk salt. For the dry cleaning. For all takeout food because the grocery store is too far away now that Dominick’s closed. (And I’m pretty sure it closed because it was sick of you.) For the gym membership to work off the extra thick layers of winter blubber.
You know what we were using to mark “dibs” in our parking spots in my neighborhood this month? The frozen corpses of pizza delivery guys. True story. We peeled them off of our sidewalks and rolled them to the curb. The top of Everest isn’t so littered with ice-bound cadavers. I haven’t eaten actual groceries since before Thanksgiving.
I think we used to have a garage off the alley, Chicago Winter. I THINK we did, but we haven’t seen it since December – since then we’ve all abandoned the alley, for fear of having to wait five hours for AAA to pull us out through the four foot drifts of snow and garbage to the street. I’m pretty sure the boxes from our Christmas gifts are still back there, trapped in recycling bins pinned under an avalanche of ice and dog poop.
You might be close to going away. Might. But we know you’ll be back, and even if it is not until seven or eight months from now, it’ll be all too soon. So I’m applying for a restraining order. Please don’t come any nearer than the Quad Cities, or I’m calling the police.
In the meantime, I’m going to show my daughter pictures from the Burpee seed catalog and try and convince her that, yes, Viva, there are plants in this world. I’m going to show her the Google Street View pictures of the house from last spring, when there was grass, and smiling pedestrians, and dogs not wearing fleece booties.
There are Cadbury bunnies in the CVS, Chicago Winter. That means scram.
Until next year,
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