Friday, September 13, 2013

On Trying to See it All

A common question I’m asked is “How do you like Chicago?” I’ve lived here over two years now and still everyone asks.  I love the question, because I’m certain I light up as I start extolling the virtues of my new hometown.  One of the things I routinely point to is that there’s so much to do.  How many times in Birmingham were there nights where there was not much to do that interested me, so it’d be the same old routine?  Don’t get me wrong, the routine usually involved a lot of beer at Rojo with fabulous people, which ain’t bad.  But frequently I was looking for something…else to do.

Cut to Chicago, where there is a lot happening.  No, I mean a LOT. As in, just perusing the usual sites and keeping up with the very basic entertainment info, I find there is so so SO much more happening at any given time than I could possibly do.  This phenomenon has reached critical mass.  Just to fill you in, here is what’s going on in the next month (that I know about, I’m sure there’s a lot more out there) that I’d like to experience:

Theatre: (Note that these are all either local professional productions or first company tours.  For attempted brevity I did not include the community productions.) 9 to 5, Book of Mormon (I have seen it twice but I want one more…), In the Heights, Mythical Proportions, Next to Normal, Evita, Once, The Normal Heart

Concerts: Shovels and Rope (Tickets purchased!), Avett Brothers, The XX, Radical Face, RiotFest (Too many bands to list.  But it is a KILLER lineup.), Debbie Reynolds (Yes, THAT Debbie Reynolds), The Wood Brothers, Suzanne Vega, Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone, Franz Ferdinand, Audra McDonald

Movies: Parkland, Don Jon, Gravity, Kill Your Darlings, Carrie, 12 Years a Slave, plus pretty much every big summer movie except Iron Man 3 (I saw that one on the cruise).


This causes me a lot of stress for many reasons.  For starters, a lot of this happens at the same time, so choices have to be made, and schedules have to be coordinated, Tetris style.  Sorry XX, but I gotta see Shovels and Rope right now.  In case you were wondering, theatre productions in Chicago do not run that long.  I would have thought since it’s such a big city and there are so many people, the shows would run longer than 2 or 3 weeks.  Ha HA! Nope, not even, so trying to find time to catch these incredibly limited engagements becomes a task. 

Also, I do have a job and a dog and a house that should be cleaned more often and a myriad of other grown up responsibilities, so time becomes a more valuable commodity.  Also, I am apparently old.  I can handle one or two things during the week and a few on the weekend. But ya know? Most Tuesday nights I just wanna go home, walk Toby and veg out.  I have friends who are go go go all week and weekend and I just don’t have it in me to be that active every day of my life.

Then there’s the financial factor.  The cheapest thing on this list is one of the movies, and I’m kind of picky about theaters I frequent, so I go to the nicest one in the city. The crappy ones cost $15 too, so why waste my time anywhere but the best? There are no $1 movie theaters anywhere in the area, which, WTF is THAT about? So I go to the one with the loan desk by the box office. I am signed up for all the cheap ticket sites, and I know the rush policies for the bigger shows, but that involves me killing a couple of hours waiting in line, which, thanks to the previous point is not a great idea. I’m certainly not on the brink of financial collapse, but the approximately $2000 it would cost to do all the above in the next month just isn’t in my budget.  Sigh.

And finally, we haven’t even discussed the eleventy billion other things I enjoy spending my free time doing.  I mean, it’s football season, I like to go out to eat, the weather is perfect for a bike ride, and I need to get off my butt and lose 40 pounds. All of these are ways I can spend my time blissfully for hours at a time.

So I have to pick and choose carefully, which sometimes leads to analysis paralysis and I end up doing nothing, missing it all.  It helps to have different groups of friends who want to do different things.  That way I can spread the love and time spent with different people, and maybe get to see some of this cool stuff while I’m at it.  There is a feeling when you’re new to a city that you MUST do it all, but after a while, that changes.  I look forward to the day when I can be not stressed / bummed about missing all the really amazing stuff going on around me.  It starts this weekend, as I say to heck with all the Chicago stuff.  I’m going to Cedar Point.

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