Dateline Chicago: On a short day in late February curbside snow was melting when my daughter Brookes drove me to see the apartment building that she and her fiancé Jake had recently purchased. Heavy traffic and patchy, iced roads slowed our trip from the current apartment she and Jake share with “Floor,” the cat. It appears to me that many of Chicago’s residents reside in apartments. I base my conclusion solely on the lack of parking on the streets near buildings where people live.
Certainly, parking spaces on Royal Street are not easy to find in the Big Easy, where my lady Turnipseed and I live most of the time. But, there are times when parking spots are more plentiful. For instance, I have noted that many folks leave town when summer arrives in New Orleans. The heat and humidity drive them off. Extreme weather works that way.
Yet, up in Chicago a large amount of folks remain in town through the dead of winter, a fact that defies logic to Southerners like me.
The Windy City is an apt name for Chicago. Take last week for example. That’s when Ole Man Winter showed his cruelest side by sliding glacial winds born in Siberia over the Arctic Circle at the top of the world. The massive cold wave screamed through Canada and advanced across frozen Lake Michigan slamming a monstrous snow storm, thick and quick, right down the throat of Chicago. In an instant snow banks covered street signs and sealed off most of the stairs that led to front doors. Traffic snarled to a creep. Whipping 50 mph winds ripped COVID 19 masks off faces and stripped tree trunks of bark. Parked cars vanished beneath snow dunes.
Tough cookies like Brookes and Jake survive in this environment. I observed the way they do it. Layered clothing: I tried it. It took me half an hour to get dressed and three quarters of an hour to remove them--mostly because of my avocado-hued-rubber-muck boots, ones that rub blisters just below your knee caps. I dressed like Randy, the littlest kid in the movie The Christmas Story so I couldn’t balance in high winds and black ice. I fell over and couldn’t get up. Hell, I couldn’t even roll over.
Let me take this means to thank the Chicagoans who came to my rescue. I had no idea that Yankees could be so kind. I take back all the bad things I’ve ever said about your terrible sports teams.
Chicagoans love it here, including Brookes and Jake. The prospect of a mild spring, a placid summer, and moderate fall keeps them glued in place. Great weather eight-out-of-twelve- months is better than bearable and probably why they named their football team “Bears.”
Better weather is worth the wait. I get that. I’ve been here in August, the month my kid says is the hottest month on the calendar in Chicago. It is always below 80 degrees, breezy and humidity free while folks fry and drip in New Orleans and most points south of Paducah.
August in New Orleans is the worst. Temperatures hover near 100 degrees, hot winds stir up grit and sand while humidity slaps wetter than panting dog tongues. Green bananas brown out in a single day. Travel to a cooler climate should be mandatory for everyone here! Folks who live in Chicago should be required move to New Orleans for the winter. We’ll all move in together! Y’all come! We’ll make room.
This mass movement of people is just what we need to revive the post COVID economy! We simply move people out of distressed weather locales and put them in more tolerant climates. I call this the “Perpetual-Summer-Migration-Program” or PSMP for short.
Think back to the old days! You may recall that, prior to the Damndemic, crowds frolicked on beaches, napped in parks, cheered in ball stadiums, danced on the street at street parties, ate cotton candy at theme parks, threw up after roller-coaster excursions, cursed golf shots, boarded and fell off polo ponies, crashed backyard cookouts, rocked out at outdoor concerts, withered fingers and toes in swimming pools, boarded yachts, fueled up power boats, hoisted sails on sailing boats, skied behind ski boats, drank voluminously on houseboats, paddled canoes & kayaks and straddled Styrofoam noodles.
Why don’t we re-program our economy so that most Americans enjoy these things year-round? Kindly forward your tax-free contribution to the author of this article. Cash only. I will use your generous donation to experiment and personally make sure that PSMP works.
On another important matter, “Floor” the cat is the most spoiled of critters. Twice a day his automatic feeder activates, spilling gourmet pellets of vitamin laden food into a silver tray. It’s apparent that Floor knows how to tell time because approximately ten minutes before his auto-cat-fattening-system activates one finds him impatiently pacing nearby. That ain’t all. Floor’s computerized-odor-eliminating-litter-box detects that a hefty cat has come aboard. Shortly after Floor finishes his business a bladed device skims the litter and shovels the result out-of- range. It’s the best invention since leaf blowers.
Those still reading this should know that I don’t have a death wish. I understood risks associated with traveling to Chicago in the middle of winter but not only did I wish to hang out with Brookes, Jake and Floor, and see their very cool apartment building but I felt called to travel there to see my son, Tucker, before he moved away to Los Angeles. That’s another story. I can only say that he’s heading west with good dreams in his head and I wish him happiness and success. He’s a brilliant writer and actor and he’s going where the action is. Break a leg, kid!
Dateline New Orleans: March is here and I’m home with Turnipseed. It is 70 degrees outside. Rain comes today so we’ll work inside the greenhouse in the courtyard. Spring commences!
But, I won’t be layering my clothes.
Bob May is from Newton. His book, published in May of 2019, is available at www.havefundammit.com or you can email him at email@example.com.