Mommy Wants Vodka

…Or A Mail-Order Bride

Love. Chicago Style.


I sort of feel sorry for anyone stuck visiting me. Not because I’m not a gracious host (and I’m using “gracious” to mean yelling “get your own damn soda” while I lounge about on the couch) but because I’m a wicked bad tour guide. I’d rather tour the dumpster I used to get wasted behind than go and visit some of the more touristy bits of Chicago. Mostly because I find my dumpster more enthralling than the masses of people staring up at the Tall Buildings.

For a city who loves tourism as much as we do, we’re awfully rude about having them. I love nothing more than spoiling a nice snapshot by standing behind the lovely tourists and making inappropriate hand gestures while the shot is taken. I’d much prefer to take you to witness two mob bosses having a fist fight than I would ride the Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier. I’d rather take you to the dumpy pizza place, praying we don’t get diphtheria (AGAIN) while we nosh on the most delicious pizza ever created (even if it is a front for a drug cartel) than tour the Sears Tower**.

But my girl Crys is coming into town today. And while I’d like to be all, “Pranksters, come visit and we’ll go do awesome touristy things while I play World’s Best Tour Guide,” I know myself better than that. Because while she’s probably expecting to see Chicago’s Greatest Hits*, I’m planning to sit on the couch and make her fetch me Diet Coke.

In fact, I’m such a good friend that I’m praying she gets introduced to Chicago the way most of us do: fist-fight in the airport.

Because I never know I’m home until I deboard in Chicago, where everyone glowers glumly as they take off or put on clothes – depending on the season – threatening other passengers with their eyes to not fuck with them. I feel sort of sorry for my California-based friends who have no idea why everyone looks so pissed off until they step outside and realize it’s Balls Hot or Balls Cold.

It’s only then that I know I’m home sweet motherfucking home.

Welcome, Crys. Remember: don’t make eye contact.

*an oxymoron.

**It is not, never has been and never will be the “Willis Tower.”


PS. Am here at the Stir today. Also: here.


Also: are you guys as lousy a tour guide as I am?

32 Comments to

“Love. Chicago Style.”

  1. On September 30th, 2011 at 1:44 pm Brandon Says:

    No no, tell her Chicago is still “Frank Sinatra-esque” where people randomly break into song, and everybody is friendly.

    Wait… she’s your friend. Nevermind. You probably want her to survive the trip.

  2. On September 30th, 2011 at 1:49 pm KJ Collard Says:

    I’m in Springfield. I’ll take you for horseshoes if you take me for Gino’s East.
    Jeesus balls. What I wouldn’t give for a deep dish right now.

  3. On October 2nd, 2011 at 1:21 pm Sara @ Life with the Two Says:

    I would commit a felony right this minute for a halfway decent horseshoe! m

  4. On September 30th, 2011 at 1:58 pm Tracie Says:

    I am the worst tour guide ever.

    When growing up, we lived in a tourist town, and I remember my dad would always take visitors to downtown (which was not exactly touristy) and we would always end up in the very worst part of town and pass at least three late-night drug deals. Drove my mom crazy. I thought it was kind of funny.

    I’ll fetch you some coke in exchange for good pizza, and a good mod fist-fight could be fun.

    Have fun with Crys. I’m only (HUGELY) jealous a little bit.

  5. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:03 pm Dawnie Says:

    I like to take people to the Green Mill and show them the bullet holes in the wall. Then, to the Wild Pug for some drinks served by the prettiest little gay boys who love to flirt with girls who tip well. I’m a classy hostess. Only the lucky ones get to see Wrigley Field and get piss ass drunk with me and then cry over the Cubs losing. AB, if you didn’t already live here you would TOTALLY want to come visit me.

  6. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:09 pm Marta Says:

    As a former Chicagoan (though always in my heart) I feel like you gave us a tad bit of a bad name. Sure we’re not as sunny as the Californians, but we still have enough midwest in us to not be as snarky as the New Yorkers. One thing we know how to do is drive. Damn, my least favorite part of living in Minnesota is all these damn people going the speed limit.

  7. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:27 pm Grace Says:

    I know what you mean! I live on the eastern side of North Dakota, and I hate getting stuck behind cars from Minnesota on the highway!

  8. On September 30th, 2011 at 5:15 pm Melissa Says:

    Snarky is bad?

  9. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:13 pm Cute~Ella Says:

    Oh Aunt Becky, when I come out to visit Chicago next I SO want to see your version of it more. I can see pictures of the “tourist spots” I’d love to ruin some with you.

    After we get boxed wine at Target

  10. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:14 pm Amber Says:

    OMFG. I moved to Chicago (right on LSD!) about… 4 years ago now? At first, I loved walking all around when friends visited, seeing the sights since they were new to me as well. But now? I’m so freaking sick of Navy Pier and Millennium Park (I do dig the Buckingham Fountain, I feel fancy near it).

    Every single time a friend comes into the city I always ask, “What do you want to do?” And I /always/ get the same response, “Touristy stuff!”. Also. While I love me some Cheesecake Factory… there is nothing Chicago-y about it… why does EVERYONE WANT TO EAT THERE AND THINK IT’S ONLY IN CHICAGO!? Go to Portillos if you want some good Chicago food! Italian beef with mozz and sweet dipped. Oh yeah. OOOOOHHH YEAH, BABY.

    I am not, and will never be, Tour Guide Barbie. Have fun with your friend!!

  11. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:24 pm Joules Says:

    I am a kickass tour guide. But I absolutely hate doing it and will resent you with the magnitude of a megaton h-bomb for making me do so.
    Every visitor I had while living in NY wanted to see Times Square, climb the Statue of Liberty and see Ground Zero. All of those things make me see hulk green and want to demolish and destruct.
    There is so much more awesome to be found behind dumpsters.

  12. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:29 pm Grace Says:

    I’m a pretty good tour guide. Sadly, where I live, a “tour” takes about 5 minutes. There isn’t much of anything to see. The tour of my (really cool, amazing old house) takes longer!

  13. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:30 pm joel Says:

    my favorite piece of chicago to show out of town friends is boystown during the olympics. if you’ve never seen a gay man throw a bar stool THERE IS YOUR CHANCE

  14. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:30 pm Becca Says:

    It should be noted that I hail from San Diego, deep in the heart of Southern California. When friends come to visit me they immediately want to go to LA, or they assume I live nearby and see on a daily basis a slew of famous people. It’s saddens me that they leave constantly disappointed and that when they actually wanted to do some sight seeing they didn’t actually want a tour of my neighborhood. SIGH.

  15. On September 30th, 2011 at 2:32 pm Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd Says:

    I see we attended the same finishing school. For my guests, I movie the cat’s shitbox out of the room they’ll sleep in, buy ice cream so that I, I mean they, can make ice cream floats, and then pick out the video game they’ll get to watch me play.

  16. On September 30th, 2011 at 3:53 pm Dianne Says:

    Most of the time when people fly to see us in San Fransico bay area we give them one of our cars and a nav system and say HEY HAVE FUN!!!! Oh and the address in the nav system for home may or may not be the correct one so good luck on getting your ass back here.

  17. On September 30th, 2011 at 4:28 pm Very Rusty Brown Says:

    As usual, another great post, AB. When I lived in Scumdelein, I’d just give visitors directions to the train station. Me, go downtown? Not just no, f*&k no. Ok, maybe I took neices and nephews to Great America, but that was it for me.

    Ooooh, here’s a good one – take Crys to visit the Giordano’s you used to work at!

  18. On September 30th, 2011 at 4:51 pm Eliza Says:

    I live in tourist-heavy Maui – like we are all living here because the tourist industry pays for 75 % of people’s income.

    Do I want to drive / ride with them to Hana? Nooooooo!
    Do I want to go up Haleakala for dawn? Noooooooooo!

    Will I take them to Kahikinui so they can see the least inhabited part of the island, all wind-blown and remote, where the elements talk and the spirits nudge you? You betcha.

    Will I take them to an active heiau (temple) so they can have their soul joy refreshed and renewed? You betcha.

    Dig the ‘tour guide’ boredom.
    Lift a bowl of ‘awa in your direction!
    Rage on.

  19. On September 30th, 2011 at 5:00 pm Steve Rice Says:

    I can’t wait to come back to the City…If I see someone flipping me off through the viewfinder of my camera as I snap a(nother) pic of the bean, I”ll be sure to run over and give her a big hug and yell: “Aunt Becky” …..Unless, she’s a burly man with chest hair, then I’ll just run away.

  20. On September 30th, 2011 at 6:04 pm Steve Bailey Says:

    I prefer “knocking them out” real good….. then when they come too broke and penniless I say…. “Man did you have the wildest weekend ever!” Everybody wins….. especially you!

  21. On September 30th, 2011 at 6:32 pm Stephanie Says:

    My tourguiding is usually highlighted by my getting us stuck in ludicrous traffic or completely lost. And, I also fully expect people to pour their own damn drinks. What do I look like, a maid?

  22. On September 30th, 2011 at 7:33 pm Becca Says:

    There are so many wonderful tourist opportunities in this great city, all you have to do is walk out your front door! Why, over here we have a sleeping and/or passed out and/or dead homeless man who has pissed himself right in the middle of the day, downtown! And over here are some shady looking people hanging out in the subway tunnel, waiting to steal your fanny pack! And over here we have a crack addict wearing one shoe and yelling about the government!! WELCOME TO THE WINDY CITY!!!!

  23. On September 30th, 2011 at 8:03 pm Kate Says:

    Huh. I’m planning a trip to Chicago soon, and this is just how I pictured it: People beating each other over the head with deep-dish pizza.


  24. On September 30th, 2011 at 11:04 pm Kristin Says:

    As long as I get some deep dish pizza when I come to Chicago, it’s all good with me.

  25. On October 1st, 2011 at 12:19 pm Cindy Says:

    I totally want to do Chicago your way. I’m exactly that kind of tour guide myself. Can I come visit you? I’ll definitely return the favor, and take you to see the dumps I frequent here in the ArkLaTex.

  26. On October 1st, 2011 at 8:04 pm Blazngfyre Says:

    My kind of ‘tour guide’!
    I live in a touristy area very close to Niagara Falls.
    Can I just tell you how sick to death I am of “doing the Falls”?
    Yes, they ARE majestic, and breathtaking, and stunning ….

    But i’m over them.

    Now Chicago? I LOVE your city!
    My brother went to college in Illinois, and I spent many weekends there with him exploring the city.

  27. On October 1st, 2011 at 9:30 pm Whitney Soup Says:

    i’d love to take one of your tours! and i still call it sears tower too 🙂

  28. On October 2nd, 2011 at 5:51 am Pandora Nerovsa Says:

    Hi Aunt Becky!

    I just moved to the Chicago area from a tiny town in southern Louisiana. I’ve been here 8 weeks in Crystal Lake and I tend to get a lot of “So…where ARE YOU FROM?”

    Apparently my mid-western accent hasn’t kicked in yet.

    Although I’ve been here an entire two months, the only thing I’ve seen is Sherman Hospital’s ER (three times…I have Crohn’s disease) and the Shedd Aquarium. Not to say my significant other is a bad tour guide (he’s the reason I moved here…we met, um, on World of Warcraft. No shit. He is our Paladin healer and I play a bad-ass damage dealing Death Knight). Anyway, he works from home and is kinda of a big deal concerning all of the North American servers for Chase Bank so he doesn’t have a great deal of time to take me to exotic places like…well…anywhere.

    Any interesting places you could suggest for a very southern girl to visit alone? I love museums, art galleries etc but I have no idea where to even start or which ones are worth seeing and which are crap.

    So here’s my first hello to you from a Chicago newbie. God, now I have to figure out how to do public transportation and actually ride a train into the city. Trains? WTF? In Louisiana we don’t need no stinkin trains…we drive everywhere!

    Much love to ya, Aunt Becky! I’ve been a long-time reader but this is my first post! Have a good one!

  29. On October 3rd, 2011 at 10:07 am Kelly Says:

    I completely agree about the Sears Tower. I will never call it by any other name….

  30. On October 3rd, 2011 at 2:10 pm Denise Says:

    Yeah I suck. I don’t go into DC if I don’t have to so guests are on their own.

  31. On October 4th, 2011 at 7:45 am Satan Says:

    i love your idea of a tour about a bajillion times more than any touristy shit Chicago could come up with. damnit, i need to come and stalk visit you…

  32. On October 20th, 2011 at 3:54 am Kathleen Says:

    I lived in Washington DC and in some of the surrounding towns. For over 30 years. I still haven’t done the White House tour, Congress, or any of that crap. I have gone to the Smithsonian Museums, but not with people! (Wait, I did go to one of them with my late husband, once – does that count?)

    I did, however, take folks on a tour that sounds a lot like yours – my favorite hole in the wall restaurant, my apartment, that sort of thing.

    And, if they didn’t ask nicely, I would misdirect tourists.

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