A Guide to City Navigating

Being back in Chicago reminds me of why I love the city so much. The diverse population, awe-inspiring displays of culture and exploring the numerous and assorted shops instilled a sense of wonder and pride at how much affection and amazement for my hometown.

With that said, maneuvering the sprawling metropolis that is “Second City” can be a maddening experience. Thank the humans that inhabit it, particularly the downtown Loop area: citizens, tourists and motorists alike manage to drag down the experience by their human-like behavior. DAMN THEM!

To counteract the flaws that being human in a city can bring out, here is a list of things to consider when visiting any large urban area — and I’m not talking “urban” like how marketers and racists use it to describe Black culture and clothing. This applies to everyone, and may just change your life.

1. Walk on the right side!

Sidewalks have a function, which is to provide a safe area for pedestrians to navigate without walking/biking/rollerblading/naked-skipping with/against traffic.

With a limited amount of space to walk, you are sharing the space with people heading in the same in opposite directions. People seem to lose the plot at this thought, thinking that the sidewalk is their location to walk two-to-eighteen people in a row and/or play chicken with oncoming walkers — oblivious to the world around them. That is more selfish than the dude at the strip club who watches the lap dance a little too intensely.

It’s not asking much to respect the space of the city. Stick to your side of the street like gravity is pulling you there. If you were on a highway engaging in this behavior, you would be putting people in danger — though Hooper provided that reckless and drunk driving can be carefree and hilarious. Unlike Hooper, though, being selfish just means that you’re an asshat with little sympathy for others.

2. Having conversations on the sidewalk

Even worse than the narcisstic people who take up valuable real estate on the sidewalk are those that decide to stand in the middle of them having conversations.

I understand that running into someone and chatting is socially positive and befitting of a person that has a grasp on human connection. But see where a storefront is? An empty alcove surrounding a doorway? A bench to sit down? All of those are infinitely better than blocking foot traffic that is coming and going, not to mention tremendously un-jack-assery.

Unless you’re negotiating a land deal with Donald Trump or Lex Luthor on a whim, sidewalks are NOT the place to debate who Lindsay Lohan is dating or why “Dane Cook is HILARIOUS, BRO!” And if those are the topics of choice, maybe being mowed down by a biker would be doing the world a favor.

3. Loud conversations

While on the topic of asinine dialogue, I wonder why people feel the need to broadcast it to the world around them while on foot. People, for reasons only known to their therapists, gab on their cellphones and with others about personal subjects that would make Satan blush. I guess discussing that mysterious rash, the quality of sex with your girl on the side, or how much you hate your mother couldn’t wait until you were in the privacy of work. But it must not be that important if you don’t care if random strangers now know too much info about your personal life — especially if you’re shouting it like the drunk moron that needs to find an AA center ASAP.

Friends don’t let friends look like a toolbox.

And it is ten times more annoying if you are having said conversations with a Bluetooth headset. While wearing the device is a good alibi for hiding your craziness, 95-percent of the people who use them are not important enough, nor busy enough, to not have to hold a phone when talking about how much of a douchenozzle the shift boss is at Blockbuster.

4. Bikers/Rollerbladers/Stroller-walkers

Same rules apply to maneuvering on the right, unless there is a dedicated “bike lane,” which I would then recommend using. If you knock me over unexpectedly when I am observing the rules of the sidewalk, I am not responsible for my actions.

5. Pets

Keep them on leashes, please. And clean up after them. kthnx

6. Cab drivers

Cab drivers must have special rules of the road that other drivers or pedestrians are not aware of, like membership into Yale University’s Skull and Bones or how Paul Walker is allowed to act in movies. Cabbies will cut off pedestrians who have the right-of-way in the sidewalk, run red lights like they’re in a The Fast and the Furious qualifying race, or lay on the horn to test their hearing.

Yo, you gotta problem with me almost killing you?

They pose a bigger threat to public safety than AIDS and Kate Perry’s music, and yet, like the viruses they are, are allowed to survive on sheer tenacity and annoyance factor alone. And until we get a cure from them, we’ll have to protect ourselves.

7. Wearing clothes for attention

A scarf in the middle of the summer — SERIOUSLY?

8. Drivers blaring loud and dumbass music

Rule 3 applies here, as the need for one person’s attention to their car and self is equally sad and frustrating. I don’t need to be knocked over by how loud — and buzzy — your subwoofer’s bass is, your lack of hearing, or your shitty taste in music. If genteel musician John Legend saw and heard you blasting the awful dance remix of “Ordinary People,” he might just beat your ass for polluting the airwaves.

“This techno mix of Norah Jones is AWESOME, BRO!”

If you follow these simple tips, you might not catch the wrath of someone who is simply trying to enjoy the qualities of the city. Some would say these are common sense, but in this day and age of political correctness, pancake-wrapped sausages on sticks and The Jonas Brothers, we need all the help we can get.


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