When I told various friends and acquaintances that I was moving to Chicago, I received one universal piece of advice:
“That’s great, Alex, but watch out for the winter. Seriously. Watch. Out.”
Having already heard about the cruel winter months (though thankfully never having been present for them… yet), I was happy to take this advice and set off on my journey. Armed with the knowledge that the winters here would be unbearably cold, I felt truly prepared to get rid of all my stuff and move across the country. Nothing could possibly happen that I wouldn’t be prepared for, because, after all, winter was months away. I had all the time in the world to prepare. And there was nothing else in this city that I should ever, ever have to worry about.
As far as I can tell, native Chicagoans don’t feel that the summer is too hot because it takes 6 months for their organs to thaw out, just in time for winter to start again. Either that, or everyone in the city has secretly agreed to play cruel pranks on newcomers.
When I arrived, it was a balmy 95 degrees, which felt somewhere around 110 degrees, thanks to the swamp-like humidity. I should mention that I arrived at midnight. Since the sun was down, I can only assume that the heat was produced by some cruel god’s burning hatred for everything in the Midwest. Either that or the hot tears of humiliation produced by all the Cubs fans.
See how acclimated I’ve become? I’m already making Cubs references.
The next few days got, if anything, worse. Multiple days went by where it was well over 100 degrees, which, of course, felt somewhere around the 7th level of hell. If I hadn’t had to go about finding a place to live, I probably could have waited out the heat by barricading myself in a small, air-conditioned room. Or putting myself in a cryogenic freezer for a few weeks. But I had to venture out into the world. And when I did, the world kindly repaid my by instantly bathing me in a mixture of sweat, tears, and any other moisture that happened to be hanging out between ground level and 6-feet-up.
To add to this, there were thunderstorms. Which, one would think, should at least be welcome for lowering the temperature. But that would only be true in a world where divine beings don’t have a perverse sense of humor. Scalding rain poured down to form little puddles, where I’m convinced I saw rats in little towels enjoying an impromptu spa day. Until the lightning started and flash-fried the little buggers. Think I’m exaggerating? If so, it’s only so you can understand the horror.
I have no doubt that, come winter, I will be walking down the street with a mass of frozen snot and tears stuck to my face, cursing the heavens that I should have to endure such terrible fortunes. But, in the noble tradition of all those proud men who came before me, I will fight to subjugate Nature to my will with whatever environmentally harmful technology I can lay my hands on. And work on building my shrine to Willis Haviland Carrier, who apparently invented air conditioning. Thank you, Willis.