Big City

We took a short vacation to Chicago last week. Despite the record heat, we had fun and saw and experienced some amazing things. We saw our own veins under a special lens, saw Peter Pan soar through the air over our heads, viewed 4 states from the the 94th floor of “big John,” rode in the worlds fastest elevator, were face to face with a Siberian tiger, ate out-of-sight food from a world renowned chef, were rescued for the extreme heat by handmade Mexican paletas, and were moved by the art in the US’s largest museum of Mexican art.  It was definitely a break from the “norm” for us.  After 2 days we were itching to come home.

I am a country girl to my very core.  The last day, the heat “broke”  (low 90’s compared to the previous days highs over 100 and heat index of 116) and we spent the afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  The taxi driver dropped us off at the farm part of the zoo (actually outside the zoo grounds) and it was a sensory feast for me.  There was a beautiful teaching garden and I was transfixed by every crop.  I could have stayed all day.  I watched a sow with too may piglets to count, take a break and get a shower before going back to her piglets.  This was an attraction because such scenes are exotic to city dwellers.  To me, this is my backyard.  I am incredibly blessed.

I can’t help it.  Big cities strike me as an intricate and well-directed play.  The 4 inch stilletos and fancy suits are costumes and the huge buildings are the overblown set.  What are all these people doing really?  It’s a pageant.  I feel like life is passing them by.  Life in the city is so much about the appearance of things. Meticulous primping and positioning to win a horse race with no real prizes.  I also see the huge rift between the haves and have nots.  Those who were delivering the food, driving the taxis, cleaning the rooms, and stocking the selves were so much more real to me than the “important” people prancing around in their beautiful plumage.

Nowhere was this rift between real life and pageantry more evident than American Girl Place.  Many of you know what that is, but for those that don’t–it is a HUGE store filled with American Girl dolls and every possible outfit and accessory you can imagine.  You can have you and your dolls hair done there, have a meal or tea with your doll, and get your picture taken with your doll.  Lily was so excited to be there (for the first time), and I felt a bit bad for her having gotten saddled with a mom immune to all the doll hysteria.  There is no part of me interested in her having matching clothes for her and her doll or talking about the intricacies of which outfit is the best. As we checked out, I chatted a bit with the young lady at the register.  She was obviously an immigrant and I asked her how bizarre this was to her.  She kindly agreed that it was pretty strange, careful not too betray her workplace.  Shelves were being quickly stocked and everything was being kept in perfect order by a team of Latina ladies. Imagine coming here because you have no other way to support your family and end up working in a giant store selling outrageously priced dolls to overdressed kids and their parents.  How bizarre.

So now you know.  I have little interest in a life that is mostly pageantry and I think these city people are fools.  I think they have been there so long that they are all drunk on the kool-aid.  They are stars on “The Truman Show” and don’t know it.  Real life is happening around them and they are worried about accessorizing.  I am being too harsh probably, but it makes me sad.  Chasing brass rings gets you nowhere.  It is an artificial world and getting caught up in it is such a colossal waste of time.  I guess I am glad they are drunk on city pageantry.  No way would I want all those people invading my nirvana.

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