Unleash the Tourists


Let me preface by saying, for what seems like eons, our family packed up the Nissan Altima and the Acura Legend to venture to Chicago for a summer outing. Our destination was always the same: The Westin. And we rarely wandered off the Michigan Avenue path. We took public transportation once to my recollection (down to the White Sox game) and rarely crossed south of the river (just for the aquarium). I also love traveling and being a tourist in others’ cities.

Tourists drive me up the wall. I’m not sure if it’s the visors, the high socks, the gum smacking, the poor clothing choices made for the day (they never seem to dress appropriately for the Chicago weather), the loud way they scream at each other or their need to say over and over “We’re visiting.” Either way, I can’t stand ’em (say it in the Lena Lamont voice à la Singing in the Rain).

Por ejemplo: After hopping on the 151, I descended into the city with one mission: Trader Joe’s. While driving past the Lincoln Park Zoo, the inevitable happened: tourists. After they finally figure out that after boarding a bus you’re supposed to walk to the back, the bus ride begins, as does the gum smacking and loud shouting to various party members.

“KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIM, What’s the stop?!”    “Ontario!”   “Ontario? We’re not going to Canada!”   “I meant Ohio not Canada.”

Promptly pull out my book and begin reading, which only invites my nearby tourist to begin a conversation.

Deranged Tourist: “Oooo with this tote bag, you must live here right?”
Hanna: “It’s a market tote and yes. I’m going grocery shopping.”
DT: “Kiiiiiiim. This gal’s going grocery shopping IN THE CITY. Can you believe it?! So what kind of things do you buy there?”
Hanna: “Ummm food.”
DT: “Heavens. That’s crazy.”
Hanna: (inside the mind: what a concept, buying food at a grocery store)
DT: “We’re not from here. We’re visiting from Nebraska.”
Note: I usually would pipe up with “I went to Kansas”, but I didn’t want to instigate this any further.
Hanna: “Oh nice, well enjoy your time, this is my stop: Canada!”

I get that tourists are good for our squandering economy and that because of them I get to enjoy “Chicago Resident” admission prices at museums, but gosh is it quite the price to pay. I wish everyone stuck to the “Single-Mom-Does-Chicago-With-Two-Kids” trip itinerary my mom used.

I can’t wait to see what The Taste brings in!

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