You Might Be From Chicago If…

Feel free to add your own “ifs” in the comment box at the bottom of the page.  The best suggestions will be incorporated into the main list.

You Might Be From Chicago If…

  • When trying to remember if a particular street has an L stop, you imagine the voice of the CTA guy saying “This is ______” to see if it sounds familiar.
  • When looking for a home, you insist to your real estate agent that it have a view of the lake, the skyline, or Wrigley Field. Not necessarily in that order.
  • Given two addresses like 30 East Lake and 1700 West Garfield, you can estimate in your head how many miles apart they are.
  • You precede every past-tense verb with “had” and think every other verb should be a gerund. “He had been a stock broker and was wanting to live in Streeterville” instead of “He was a stock broker and wanted to live in Streeterville.”
  • Your girlfriend describes every good thing as “amazing.” There are no other adjectives.
  • You don’t bother looking up until there are at least three TV news helicopters circling overhead.
  • You don’t think it’s weird to get an e-mail or text message from a friend telling you to take LSD on the way to work.
  • Even though your city does have an area labeled East Side, you know it’s still the South Side.
  • If you see two or more military helicopters in the sky, you know traffic is about to be screwed up around The Loop, Hyde Park, or both.
  • You saw a baseball game in person but never set foot inside a stadium.
  • You went to a Cubs game and didn’t see a single play.
  • You listen to the news on AM radio even though the exact same program is available on an FM frequency.
  • You actually believe that Old Saint Patrick’s “World’s Largest Block Party” is really the largest block party in the world. Or even the Midwest.
  • You’ve ever been late for work because of a drawbridge.
  • You vocally refuse to go to chain restaurants, but freely tuck in to Al’s #1 Beef, Giordano’s pizza and Portillo’s hot dogs.
  • You keep a few bucks in your pocket because even though credit cards have been around for nearly 100 years, none of the eateries on your block take plastic.
  • 90% of the people in your office are originally from Michigan.
  • It took you a while to realize that “Vote early, vote often” is a joke phrase, and not advice from the Cook County Clerk.
  • Instead of going to your neighborhood church, you go to the Polish/Irish/French/Italian/etc… church that matches your heritage.
  • You actually kind of understand why the city is proposing a ban on Segways along the lakefront.
  • You have a friend who is an actor or actress who has performed in dozens of plays, but has never been to the Theater District.
  • When you see someone on the street arguing with himself, it’s usually crazy, not Bluetooth.
  • You see a tragic gun massacre elsewhere in the country on the news and think to yourself, “That’s just a warm summer weekend in Chicago.”
  • Your 8th grade field trip was a visit to the mayor’s office. (Thanks to Donna Larrabee)
  • You’ve ever used the phrase, “What hundred north is that?” (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You were shocked when CTA bus announcements started pronouncing Goethe in the German manner. And you’ll keel over dead the day they start pronouncing Devon Avenue in the English manner. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You went to the Billy Goat Tavern before Saturday Night Live. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You still think Garfield Goose is the height of sophisticated humor. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You have a pact with a friend from New York: You won’t say “Avenue of the Americas,” and he won’t say “Willis Tower.” (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You still have a stuffed Amalgamonster. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • If you still call the street at 4000 West “Crawford Avenue.” You might be from Chicago and very, very old if you still call it “40th Avenue.” (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You breathed a sigh of relief when Rio got the Olympics. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You’ve convinced yourself that limiting your thick-crust pizza to two toppings makes it a health food. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You believe the rumors that the lessees of the city’s parking meters are actually Somali pirates. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You mentally heckle the geographical errors that inevitably show up in any movie or TV program set in Chicago. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • On your mental map, the North Woods begin somewhere around Fox Lake; the Wild West at the Fox River; and Dixie somewhere between Park Forest and Kankakee. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You know there’s a place called Schaumburg somewhere in the vicinity, but you’ve never been there. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • The Brown Line will always be the Ravenswood to you. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • Olson Rug Park was your family’s Club Med. (Wisconsin Dells? That was for plutocrats!) (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You tossed marshmallows to Mike the Polar Bear at Lincoln Park Zoo. And felt guilty when his teeth eventually rotted. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You’re nostalgic for Chuck Schaden. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You refer to a weed-grown vacant lot as a “prairie.” (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You’d trade the entire Six Flags chain for one summer afternoon at Riverview.  (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You see yourself as a humble follower of the true faith of Giordano’s, but pride yourself on your tolerance for poor deluded votaries of the foul cult of Gino’s.  (Or vice-versa.) (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • You can cogently discuss the relative merits of Two-Ton Baker and Uncle Johnny Coons.  Frazier Thomas and Ray Rayner.  Svengoolie and Son of Svengoolie. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • Your fantasy April Fool’s prank would be to sneak down to Michigan Avenue at 3 AM and leave a half-eaten wildebeest carcass on the sidewalk in front of the Art Institute lions. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • Neighborhoods you would have been afraid to live in not so long ago are now too expensive for you to live in. (Thanks to Alan Follett)
  • The latest ethnic restaurant on Check Please is from a country you’ve never heard of, and which you suspect may be fictitious. (Thanks to Alan Follett)

 You Might be From a Chicago Suburb if…

  • You think BYOB is a sign of a classy restaurant.
  • You go to Old Saint Patrick’s church in the West Loop but you’re not an elected politician.
  • You’ve ever taken a Metra train and not begun or ended your journey at Union, Ogilvie, or Millennium Stations.
  • When you see someone on the street arguing with himself, it’s usually Bluetooth, not crazy.
  • You’ve paid for groceries with a check at some point in the last ten years.
  • The only time you see downtown Chicago is when you’re racing for a cure.
  • You honestly think its O.K. to use a double-wide baby carriage on a sidewalk. Or a bus. Or a train. Or a Starbucks. Or anywhere other than your McMansion’s driveway.
  • You believe that drinking a beer from CVS out of a tiny paper bag on the train ride home really isn’t a sign of alcoholism.
  • You use the swinging door instead of the revolving door.
  • You WALK when the sign says DON’T WALK. City dwellers know this is how muggers spot small town tourists who aren’t used to traffic.  City dwellers also know that you never know when a taxi is going to come barreling around the corner to flatten a jaywalker dead.
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