Chicago Tough

February 21, 2011 at 11:41 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )


This is my third winter in Chicago and I like to think that I’ve somewhat adapted to the frigid temperatures and bone chilling winds.  Growing up in Indiana, I was around snow and cold but since living up here I’ve realized it’s typically 10-20 degrees warmer at Mom’s house than it is at mine.  Case in point: back in my first winter here, when I still had a car, I once spent roughly 15 minutes with a blow dryer trying to melt the ice off of my car door so I could get in and go to work.  It was like something out of a bad sitcom – I had the dryer hooked up to an extension cord and everything.  I never did get in my car and had to get a ride to work that day.  That’s also when I realized I was dealing with a different kind of cold.

I like to think I’ve managed pretty well in the time since then and now I’m a pro at layering up and going out (the recent ginormous snowstorm also adds to my Chicago street cred).  However, this does not mean  that I don’t bitch and moan about the weather on occasion and lament that fact that now, sans car, I must deal with it a bit more than I used to.   It makes me feel somewhat legitimate though…something about being able to look Old Man Winter in his windy face and keep on walking makes me feel like a badass.  I have no problem walking the two miles from class to work when it’s 20 degrees and I even contemplated participating in the Polar Bear Plunge (the event where a bunch of crazies jump into Lake Michigan at the end of January) but as I was still getting over a cold at the time of the event, I didn’t think participating would be the most responsible adult decision.  However, no matter how tough I think I am, there are people in this city who deftly put my winter handling abilities to shame. They include:

Toughen Up!

  • Hotel Valets
  • Garbagement (and Garbagewomen)
  • Bus Drivers
  • Construction Workers
  • The Homeless
  • Bicycle Delivery Drivers
  • Bicyclists in general
  • The people who try to collect signatures and donations for Greenpeace on the street
  • Taxi Drivers

These people (and many others) deal with the elements on a daily basis and don’t often get relief.  When my cubicle starts to drive me crazy and I itch for fresh air and freedom, I think of these people who might enjoy their time outdoors perhaps 40% of the year.  As Chicago Tough as I like to think I am, I just can’t compete with these hardcore citizens.  Although doing the Polar Bear Plunge next year might be a step in the right direction.

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1 Comment

  1. Mega said,

    Fun Fact: I (that’s right, me) was the one that made the phrase “Chicago Tough” popular amongst my fellow bloggers. However, I originally heard the phrase from Kenny Williams, General Manager of the Chicago White Sox. He said he wanted guys that could handle the city, guys that had a “Chicago Tough” mentality.

    Needless to say, your list is quite accurate. The only bullet point I would add is anyone with an epic mustache.

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