It’s 9:50 right now, so let’s see what I can come up with in 10 minutes. Friday nights are usually my night for relaxation. I get a Starbucks, the one food luxury I really allow myself, plop down on my bed, fire up Google Earth, and pick somewhere to go. It may sound dull and uneventful to some of you, but I really enjoy myself. I don’t have a social life, and even if I did, I don’t like alcohol, so I wouldn’t be spending my Friday nights in a bar or club watching other people get drunk. As such, I enjoy a nice quiet evening at home listening to music, slurping my overpriced chocolaty coffee drink, and flying through Google Earth. No, this isn’t an advertisement for it, though I love it dearly. I have no money, and on top of that, I’m deathly afraid of flying, so this is really the only way I’m ever going to see places that are either way too far away to drive to or require some other form of transportation to get there. If the Yankees are playing that evening, I’ll listen to the game instead of music, which is what I’ll be doing tomorrow night, as they’re in Boston for the last three games of the season. If they’re not playing, and I don’t want to listen to music, I’ll listen to the Mets game if they’re playing. Either way, I’m listening to something.
So far, one of favorite places to explore, other than New York City (which I talked about in the last Ready, Set, Done challenge), is my hometown of Chicago. I haven’t been there since 2002, a year after we moved away, so it’s been fun to see what’s changed and what hasn’t. For starters, my high school is gone. As is my grammar school. They’ve both moved buildings, and the latter changed their name entirely. I found where my dad grew up and where he went to grammar school/high school, both of which are still there. My mother, incidentally, grew up south of Chicago, not in the city. I also like to test myself if I can remember the routes I’d take on the CTA to get to school each day, or what streets I’d take to get to the mall, things like that. I still remember everything, even where the former corner store used to be where I’d stop and get a bag of chips and a soda on my way home from grammar school everyday. I also like to see if I can remember where certain buildings or businesses are, places I used to frequent when I was a teenager. Not much has changed in that respect, in the sense that I haven’t been gone long enough for things to shutter and disappear. I probably spend as much time there as I do in New York, the place I’d really like to be able to see for myself, feet planted firmly on the ground.
I miss it, though I certainly don’t miss the winter weather. I’ve gotten spoiled living south of the Mason-Dixon line these past 13 years, that I don’t know if I could handle a Midwestern winter again. I suppose that’s the thing about hometowns; you take it for granted when you’re there, then miss it like crazy once you leave.