City vs. Burbs

When you move anywhere, you generally have a few expectations, all to do with some aspect of change.  Whether it’s downsizing, up-sizing, cityizing, coutryizing, career changes, etc., it’s all change from your way of life up to that point.  Naturally when I moved to Chicago, ready to seize the theatre scene by storm, I had a few expectations.

Working at a grocery store in the suburbs was not one of them.  Are you familiar with the suburbs?  I was not.  Now I am.  18 months familiar, before I was transferred to a city store – 10 minutes from my apartment, Praise the Good Lord!  And because today marks my one month anniversary of working in the city, I give you a buzzfeed inspired list of City vs. Burbs.

1. Customers
  I feel like I’m watching Gossip Girl, Chicago Edition.  These kids keep me young.










I couldn’t have asked for a better picture.  Thanks, Google.

2. Eye Candy

I regularly see television and movie actors and professional athletes with Chicago Bulls, Sox, and Blackhawks, in addition to a more diverse array of the everyday hotties.  Thanks Google & internet fandom for this gem.

So. many. khakis.

3. The Commute

I get to work so fast.

On a good day?  40 minutes.  On a bad day?  2 hours.

4. The Issues

This was a chilling time for our country, and while the protests may have settled down, I don’t believe it’s over.  I believe we are in the midst of another Civil Rights movement.  What was most chilling for me is the stark contrast between the city and the burbs.  While in my apartment, I could hear the protests – yelling, singing, chanting.  Multiple protests happened at surrounding parks.  I had difficulty walking to my car and finding my way to the highway because of all the people.
Then I made it to work, 20 miles outside the city, and I landed in Pleasantville.  I found it bizarre how no one even mentioned the social issues going on.  Yes, people actually talk about the rain/snow, how long it will rain/snow, the temperature of the rain/snow.  Ahhhh!  I get it.

My buddy in receiving was, at the time, the only black dude working in the entire store.  I so desperately wanted to talk with him about real world issues and listen to his perspective, but knowing it was too deep of a rabbit hole to jump into on company time.  I noticed a change, however, in what we talked about.  He found out I do improv at Second City, he divulged that he raps in his spare time, which led us to talk about music and performing.  When he discovered we both share a love for R&B music, [most] Tyler Perry movies, and the typical Saturday tv/movie lineup on BET, he got SO excited talking to me about it.  (I mean REALLY excited – like a kid, excited.)  After an in depth, phD dissertation discussion about Daddy’s Little Girls, I realized that excitement wasn’t about the topic, as much as it was someone connecting with HIS interests – someone actually knowing and understanding what he was talking about.  He worked at that store for years before I came along, and I wondered how lonely that must have been, listening to other people talk, finding common ground with coworkers about THEIR interests.

The racist ignorance I witnessed from various Caucasian employees and customers never came from a place of hate.  I never met a “bad” person.  These were good, decent people, who genuinely had no clue they were saying terrible things.  (Side note: white people need to stop using the word ghetto, unless referring to an actual ghetto.  Discolored carrots or bruised bananas are not ghetto.  My Reebok High Tops are not ghetto nor ghetto fabulous.)  My favorite comments occurred as the form of “advice” when I was looking for a new apartment.  Ohhh…man.  And while little comments would infuriate me, I am thankful my eyes were opened to the reality of “white flight,” and the segregation that exists in the Mid West.  Growing up in an extremely racially/culturally diverse city, my parents don’t believe me when I explain how coming to Chicago is like stepping back into the 1950s.  If we’re not aware, we can’t help be a part of the necessary change.

And rounding out our top 5 list of City vs. Burbs…
5. The Thieves

This is the one thing the city and burbs can agree on.  You know they have money.  You know they’re not starving.  Yet they choose to steal from a grocery store – usually cosmetic and beauty care items.

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