Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things I Hate About Living Downtown in a High Rise

1. You see a lot more buses downtown. Have you ever been on a Chicago city bus? It's like Bellevue on wheels except cheaper and you don't need a court order to get out. On the back of these buses is a large, disconcerting advertisement for something called The Wendy Williams Show. Wendy Williams looks like the love child of Star Jones, Tyra Banks and Julia Roberts if all three were transvestites.

2. Approximately every three hours a large, loud THUD comes from outside one of our various windows. As soon as I hear it I go whipping over to the originating window and nothing. My theory was we are being attacked by kamikaze birds but there are no remnants of feathers stuck in bird guts or similar so I'm rethinking that position.

3. The weirdos in the elevators. Are all elevator-riding people this weird but I never noticed because I don't tend to converse often in elevators? When I worked downtown I took an elevator up to my office but I never made eye contact. Now that I have two children with me it gives disturbed strangers an opening. And I've learned things I never needed to know. Like one woman's daughter-in-law is pregnant with identical twins and she'd love to go help out when they're born but her daughter-in-law is one of her migraine triggers so she doesn't think she'd be much help while lying in bed. I'M NOT KIDDING.

4. The tourists. If Chicago is so goddamn miserable and stressed and awful (per Forbes) WHY DOES EVERYONE WANT TO VISIT?

5. The weekly maid service. Yes, only I could complain about free weekly maid service. But she just sort of walked in and I had no idea she was coming and I still had to shower and I asked her (nicely) if she could come back and if she comes the same time every week and next week I'd know to expect her. None of this seemed to fly well with her. She ignored me and started collecting towels and sheets and I left the apartment un-showered. Not that that in itself is all that unusual. The not showering part I mean. Not the part where a woman busts into my home and starts cleaning for free.

6. The parks downtown are what is politely termed "grittier" than what I'm used to. For example, a man with several large, suspicious duffle bags with no children in tow whispering, "I'll bring you down, motherf#$%er!" to nobody in particular. He sort of looked like a deranged, unbathed, balding, obese version of Robert DeNiro. Maybe Bob is in town practicing for a part? I heard he's one of those method acting types.

In summary, I'm over the view. It's nice. Laundry within 20 feet of my person is nicer.


  1. The elevator is the worst. I'd shuffle through my mail for 1-4 minutes in order to avoid riding with another human. And what's up with those ppl who talk endlessly about their boring lives with the doormen? I always wondered if the doormen appreciated the "friendliness" or found it as creepy and depressing as I did.

  2. Uggh. The laundry alone would have killed me! While we lived in Manhattan, we had an almost identical man who would wander the streets of our neighborhood (the ghetto of the upper east side). Although, he would wear these gray sweatpants that were light enough for everyone to see the dark urine stains running from his groin area down. Very nice view for my 2 year old twins at the time! I feel your pain.

  3. Yeah, I had a lovely (as I remember it anyway) little studio apartment in downtown Minneapolis. It was the only time I've ever lived alone, and it was exciting! The homeless "artist" who collected signatures on the mattress he wheeled around in his shopping cart really was incredibly nice, if obviously troubled. And the noises in the hallway at all hours were always interesting! But I was single at the time, no kids. If I went to a playground, it was probably only because I was using it as a shortcut to get somewhere else. Now--I would die if I had to live there with my kids. That or kill one of the strangers who felt the need to share all the inappropriate details of their lives with all of us.

  4. One of the (few, trust me) advantages of surviving and retiring to the Sunshine State is that most of the new high rises here have private elevators.