As I write this, today is November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving, which was the first Thanksgiving I haven’t spent with my family; and I’ve lived in Chicago now for exactly six months.
Since my “first month” article, I’ve noticed some other interesting differences between life in the Midwest’s greatest metropolis and life in the religious-conservative/liberal-collegiate identity crisis of a town that is my hometown, Springfield, Missouri.
For example, Dunkin Donut’s are everywhere. I remember always seeing commercials for Dunkin Donuts on TV when I was a kid, but there was never one in or near my hometown. In Chicago, the ol’ “double D” is on every corner, usually attached to a Baskin Robins–an equally unhealthy establishment, that would have been equally rare to pre-Chicago Tyler. I haven’t done precise research, but I’m pretty sure there is one Dunkin Donuts for every seven people in Chicago.
Dog walking is a legitimate job in Chicago. When I’ve told friends back home that I get paid to walk dogs for a dog walking company, they’ve all first asked if I was serious. Yes, I was serious. Because dog walking is serious business. These poor dogs, without yards in which to run and freely relieve themselves, are cooped up in apartments and high rises all day unless their disposable income-having owners hire some poor schmuck with an English degree to break into their apartment (with the owner’s permission) while they are at work, and let their dogs experience nature and a little exercise. I picked the job because the hours are strictly between 10AM and 4PM unless I choose to take up extra, and that’s pretty perfect for performing or watching comedy at night.
And, yes, I am a “dog person.” That’s important for this job, because basically I spend 30 minutes with each dog and in that amount of time I walk the dog, refill its food and/or water, and pick up it’s poop during the walk–which are the three worst things about owning a dog all crammed into half an hour. I get along with dogs really well, though I’ve found I generally respect smaller dogs less than larger dogs. I’m a size-ist, I guess. My two favorite dogs to walk are these two Great Danes, and I walk them simultaneously. It’s like being led by horses, which is to say, pretty cool. Some of the other dogs have particular diets, wear sweaters on the regular, and are so small/weak/old that they have to be carried on their walks (those dogs are living a lie!). I still walk those dogs and give them the same amount of care as I would any dog, but I also make fun of them to their faces, which I don’t think they comprehend, sadly.
We are the champions of murder! This year Chicago usurped New York as the States’ murder capital, according to the FBI. Springfield, MO, really doesn’t have that many murders. I guess you lose in this enviable category, Springfield.
Also, way more people online date here. I have oodles of friends who use dating services like OK Cupid or “dating” apps like Tinder. A lot of comics have bits surrounding Tinder and online dating, but I don’t, since I’m afraid of intimacy and I think the internet is a fad, so for you non-big-city readers, here’s a brief and horrifying description of how Tinder works:
On your mobile device, you see the Facebook profile pictures of ladies or gentlemen–whatever you’re into–in your area, and based on whether or not you find them attractive, you swipe them to the right or to the left. If you swipe to the right, it means you find them physically worthy of your time, and if you swipe them left–dragging them into a trashcan icon with your finger–it means their face and/or body isn’t worth your time. If two people “right swipe” each other, they’ll be connected with each other and able to communicate by message, and then from there it is up to them to arrange a date, or some sort of awkward pre-stranger-sex ice-breaking event. Over 2 million matches are being made daily on Tinder, and over 150 million profiles are being rated (or, rather, judged) daily, and also everyone you know has chlamydia.
I’m also different as a Chicago resident. Like, now that I don’t live in Missouri, I’m obsessed with Missouri. I talk about it all the time on stage, and I’m much more interested in telling stories from Missouri than from Italy, Australia, or wherever else. I’m not itching to move back, because I love Chicago, but now that I’m not in Missouri, I definitely love more than ever.
Since my “first month” post I’ve been doing around 7-10 standup sets a week instead of the 5-6 I mentioned back when. Also, my upcoming shows are posted on the left side of my blog pages, so feel free to come to a show in the area. I’ll probably tell a story about Missouri.
Thanks for reading. Here’s to another six months, at least.