The REAL Magic of Christmas...
It's one of the few things I actually like about Christmas.
Fuck the caroling, sugarplums, illuminated trees, wassil (whatever the hell that is) or fruitcake.
The best thing about Christmas? The Yuppies go home.
Not just the Yuppies, but all the other Chicago transplants who move here post-college or relocate to the big city to make their break in music, acting, whatever, and just end up working at restaurants or tending bar. When the season of flying reindeer comes, they make the pilgrimage back to whatever podunk town they came from to spend the holidays with their families.
And for me and other lifelong Chicagoans, it means a few precious days of actually being able to find a parking space without circling the block for hours buring up that $3-a-gallon gas. It means walking in and out of the stores in under a half hour. It means finding a seat at the bar when you just want a quiet beer or not getting tangled up in the leash of some chocolate lab who's owner leaves it tied up outside while they stand in line for a mocha latte frappechino pino grigio whatchamacallit.
It means the street are normal again.
I had long suspected that Chicago was becoming the Midwest mecca for post-college jobseekers, not that the almost sudden influx of bars flying the flags of other state universities wasn't a tipoff. And as watering holes hoisting the banners of the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, etc. became more prevalent, the streets got more and more crowded and parking in many of the neighborhoods I use to frequent became a like scavenger hunt.
But during this one week in December, when the young urban professionals head back to Spitdribble, Iowa or Chumbucket, Wisconsin, or Squeezebottom, Michigan, to spend the holiday with the very relatives they tried to so hard to get away from, it's like the city is all mine again. I can move with freedom, park with reckless abandon ("Wow, do I want to park on the left side of the front door of the store or the right side? Hmmm, decisions, decisions..."), fit my 6-3, 245 pound frame onto a barstool and feel hemmed in by some douche and his backwards baseball cap-wearing buddies who have never heard of personal space.
Narrow-minded and provincial? Sure. But I'm a narrowminded, provincial guy who can actually find a parking space in front of his building for a few days.
They'll be back soon, though. Who the hell wants to spend New Year's Eve in Chucklebuck, Missouri? No, migration back home will begin just about the time the last turkey drumstick is devoured. And New Year's Eve in Chicago will be a drunken yell-fest as those polite please-pass-the-potatoes voices bellow out "PARRRRRRRR-TAAAAAAAAYYY!!" in alcohol-lubricated ecstasy,
But for now, just this week, I have my city back.