I never thought my love affair with Chicago might wane. But it has. The dirty snow, gray skies, CTA service cuts…they’re getting to me. Even though it’s been warmer and sunnier than usual, I want to stuff myself in an envelope and be mailed to a new city.
Perhaps I’m not annoyed with Chicago. I’d like to think I’m inspired by two recent visitors—Ms. Flat Stanley and Mr. Flat Stanley.
I had never heard of the Flat Stanley project until she arrived at our door all the way from Lanesville, Indiana. I say she because Flat Stanley arrived sporting a stylish bob and pink tank top. As part of my littlest sister Alexa’s second-grade class project, Ms. Flat Stanley was mailed to me and several other family members to explore the places in which we live. We were asked to take photographs, send postcards and write about our city and the things we did together. Not into the touristy sites, Ms. Flat Stanley was privy to a day in the life.
We played in the snow.
We rode the bus downtown.
We saw the John Hancock building hiding in the snow.
We ate Thai food.
We sought fashion advice from Nia on Ms. Flat Stanley's new warm weather gear. Approved.
Ms. Flat Stanley and I had a great time during her visit, but like all good things, her visit had to come to an end.
A few weeks later, I received a call from my childhood babysitter Tracy, asking me if I’d help her daughter Ally with her Flat Stanley project. Tracy was in high school when I was in elementary school, and of course, I thought she was the coolest. She listened to Guns ‘N Roses and Mr. Big, took me to the mall and let me tag along with her high school friends. I said yes to my childhood mentor, and Mr. Flat Stanley arrived soon thereafter.
Mr. Flat Stanley wanted to see the sights. So we did.
He's totally into art, so we went to the Modern Wing at Art Institute.
We toured Millennium Park
We waved at ourselves at The Bean.
He challenged Cash to a wrestling match. Cash won.
Hosting both Flat Stanleys encouraged me to be a tourist in my own city for a few days. And the part of me that loved being a pen pal as a kid was giddy.
However, I still want to crawl in an envelope and be shipped somewhere else until summer. Luckily, Barcelona is around the corner.