I’m just back from Chicago, and none of these photos are from my trip. They’re all from a trip I made just over a year ago.
The weather was pretty terrible this time — well, actually, I liked it, it was perfect for my purposes, because what I had to do in Chicago took place indoors, and in yet another piece of evidence of my innate bitchiness, I hate it to be sunny out when I am not planning to be outside. I think it should be sunny when I’m outside and immediately gray and gloomy when I’m not.
So these photos are from my last visit, when I was pleased that it was sunny because I was outside, a lot. But that’s not the point I wanted to make about Chicago.
Here’s the point: I love it there. I love it because reminds me of New York, especially in the Loop, and it reminds me of being an American, because I think Chicago is the most American of all of our cities, but most of all I love it because I can actually see it.
Although I am a New York native, and I love that city in my own complicated way, I have a hard time actually focusing on it. I have next to no photos of New York City, because even when I walk around with a camera, I see nothing there to photograph. It’s the only city in the world where I can walk around for hours with absolutely no sense of my surroundings. I get lost in my thoughts and I suppose in my memories.
I have waved my hand in front of my face, when I’ve described this phenomenon to others, and I have said in an insistent tone that it’s because New York City is like my own skin! You can’t really see your own skin.
But then I look at my hand, and yep, that’s skin. I can see it, but not New York. So what to make of that? I have no idea. At any rate, In Chicago I can walk around and think my thoughts, and still see where I am, and even manage to take a few photographs.
Alison J. Stein
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