Monday, August 01, 2005

Back Home Again (from Home?)

Back from a rejuvenating two weeks in Chicago. Nothing better than spending time with good friends and family and eating all my favorite foods. Along with that, the time gave me the opportunity to verify if some of my memories of Chicago that I addressed in past posts were correct. Here's a brief synopis.

Looks: I'm going to have to stand by my observation that people are better looking here in Montreal. It was noticable even between airports. I think there are four factors that have an equal part in this. Genetics (I think it's the French thing), Size (Thinner people tend to look better), Fashion (We all look better when we dress nicer), and Personal Preference.

Size: There's no denying it, people in the US are bigger. We stopped at a Culvers outside Springfield, Ill and the people there really left an impression. A family with kids bigger than they should be. Another family with adults much bigger than they should be. Then there was a woman not much older than myself who needed a walker and oxygen. From the perspective of living here, it really is getting out of hand.

Traffic: Drivers are more aggressive and have less respect for the rules of the road. Some of it can be chalked up to Chicago being a larger and denser city, but there is evidence of it outside the city also. I think some of it is driven by a larger emphasis on the value of time and the change of accepted proceedures over time. There is more urgency to get to the destination at the earliest possible time and some shortcut measures are deemed acceptable by a signification part of the population.

Before you think I only find negative observations of Chicago, my next post will address the positives of Chicago and some negatives about life here.

Update Aug 2, 2005
One thing I forgot about in the Size point. Everything is bigger. The size of cars really struck me. SUV's are one thing, but so many people are now driving trucks the size of the old Suburbans. And everything comes in bulk. Not a one litre bottle of water, but two litres. Food portions at restaurants are getting out of hand (though I ate every bite). If you add appetizers and dessert to that, you've had a full day's meal. I think it may not have gotten bigger since I left, but now with two years away perspective, the obsession with bigger things really left an impression.

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