I realize that this is probably not a new thought, but: I find that living in the city is like living in a multi-dimensional work of art that takes many forms. It's poetry, music video, film, short story, painting, and performance art all rolled up into one.
I love overhearing snatches of conversations as I'm hiking 25 minutes across the loop from train station to my office. I love seeing so many different kinds of people: students, corporate types, shabby types, parents, children, old and fragile, young and sturdy--all different colors and styles of skin and clothing and hair. I try to catch someone's eye, and smile, just to see if they'll smile back. (Don't you love it when a stranger smiles at you, for no apparent reason? I do.)
I love (and I know this might sound crazy to some of you) hearing the sounds of traffic and construction and the el. I love watching a ginormous hole in the ground gradually turn into a building. I get a kick out of craning my neck back and looking up to see steel and concrete scraping the sky. I act like a tourist in my own city.
I love looking in shop windows and smelling the restaurants. There's always something going on here--I love to check out what's playing at the Goodman or the Oriental, and who's doing a concert at the Legendary Chicago Theater. I haven't even mentioned the lakefront and the parks yet, but they're part of my urban love affair, too.
Of course, there are things not to like. I'm not Pollyanna, and I'm not completely ignorant. I know there are many people who are desperately poor, homeless, or mentally ill. It's mind-numbingly stupid that the people elected a comatose president of the county board, and that inDUHvidual voters keep on electing party hacks, and that our honorable politicians keep on nepotizing. Chunks of our city government thrive on patronage and corruption.
Whatever. I can't help myself. I still love the city. I'm glad I live here, and I'm glad I'm raising my kids here.