Fear of god is the first step towards wisdom


Despite have laid my head, for one length of time or another, in at least five neighborhoods in this city (i am counting east hyde park as a separate neighborhood from hyde park, incidentally), I’ve never actually understood the appeal of living east of Michigan Avenue, in what the street signage refers to as Streeterville. From what I’ve pieced together about Streeterville, there was a guy, sort of a rascal, named Captain Streeter, who didn’t really respect the property-rights dong and built a weird shanty town on the sandbars north of one of the original mouth(es) of the river, and said shanty town had a population of weirdos who refused to join up with the rest of the city, until it became a sort of moot point when the rest of the city swallowed their shanty town whole (not clear how shanty-ish it was by that juncture), but the area maintained a kind of raffish air for a while but then downtown grew up the branch of N. Michigan Ave and the whole thing got liquified into a bunch of boring glass towers with not very much street-level commerce or even like human activity, except for rich people leaning out their car window periodically. Yet people insist on living there? I don’t get it. The Gold Coast, par example, is also pretty much exclusively for rich people; I don’t mean that there aren’t a good many middle-class people packing the bars on and south of Rush and State on any given weekend night; it’s more that they identify with the rich people who do live on the Gold Coast and approve of how they present themselves as rich: expensive bars, flashy boutiques, big restaurants where you can see that at least $.05 of your food dollar went to bleaching napkins or acquiring a second 45-foot solid maple bar fixture or something. Streeterville, on the other hand, seems to cater to a different brand of rich person, who doesn’t actually give a shit whether or not you can do anything other than walk around the corner to get a cup of coffee. I’m not that sure why I’m worried about it. All I know is that I wound up wandering through an area that gave me a headache from thinking about it this afternoon.

I was only down there to get fitted for an activity-monitoring bracelet for a sleep-cycle study at the hospital. Now I have to write down whenever I go to sleep and if I nap, and I have to take the bracelet off if I engage in anything so strenuous as a game of pick-up basketball, on account of the bracelet being semi-valuable, at least to sleep researchers. I’m starting to worry about whether or not wearing this for a month is going to get old. Too late for that, shithead.

Some other notes:
1. What, if someone can help me out here, is meant by the slogan “America’s Most European Supermarket”?
Are there, in an american sense, that many supermarkets in Europe to establish a European style of of supermarket?
Why are you compelled to say this about your supermarket, since it doesn’t remind me of anything other than a dirty Publix? Also, why do all your stores smell like something in between wood glue, urine and elderly pets? Maybe this is a subtle commentary on how Europeans do shit. I got to freak out a cashier today by walking up to the counter nonchalantly twirling a box of tampons on my finger Globetrotters-style and then remembering to ask “do you sell pet food, like for cats specifically?” Also it helps if you know I am a beefy, prematurely balding man with glasses and sunburn. Yes, beefy.

2. another one in the same vein, what is meant by the following, as the catch-phrase for a big-band-themed cocktail lounge: Chicago’s Valentine to the New York of the ’40s
Why do people think this is appropriate. I will allow that New York in the ’40s was probably a special moment in time and space (our energy would prevail) but I bet Chicago in the ’40s was very similar, except with maybe fewer Italians, which isn’t a value judgment either way. Maybe this makes me a provincial or just a wang (too late to save me), but you can put that saying on a bar in kansas city, or even a big city with a less identifiable culture, but it seems weird and retarded to put it here. this is why we can’t have nice things here.

also, some proposed theme bars along the same lines:
Chicago’s Get-Well Card to ’40s Stalingrad
Schaumburg’s Love Letter to 1917 Paris
’30s Algiers’ tribute to future Toronto

4 thoughts on “Fear of god is the first step towards wisdom”

  1. Worse yet–there’s a pricey-looking apt complex on Fakeshore Dr (or thereabouts) called “The New Yorker.” Which no matter your reasons for living there makes you look like an asshole. It’s like calling your apartment building “I Like Maseratis, and Wish I Had One” or “I Am Seeking a Trophy Wife But Probably Won’t Actually Divorce My Current Wife.” Plus if you can live there (schmancy building in Gold Coast) I’m suspecting you could just live in New York, if not as well, asshole.

    Alternately, an apartment called “The San Franciscan” or “The Bostonian”: I could support that.

    Liz is reorganizing our books by publisher. Come out to Oak Park and drink, jo.

  2. My understanding is that Captain Streeter claimed that area for himself because his ship got stuck in, like, all the silt or something and he couldn’t sail anywhere, so he declared that part of the shore an independent thingie.

    People move to Streeterville for lake views, don’t forget.

    “Most European market” probably means most/most expensive/most unusual cheese.

  3. I haven’t seen much of Europe, but the supermarkets I’ve been to (probably exclusively in Vilnius, Druskininkai, and Punsk, on the Poland/Lithuania border) certainly suggest that there’s nothing particularly good about European supermarkets. You have to pay extra for bags, the food all looks crazy, and pasta sauce is ketchup with parsley. But, you can buy beer in 2-litre plastic bottles. I think I have to go all the way to the Beer Store in Windsor to be able to do that otherwise.

    And there are advisories that the vodka you are buying is actually possibly pirated moonshine put into respectable looking bottles.

    Give me a fricken Dominick’s any day.

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