Monday, February 16, 2009


About me.
Q1: Where were you raised?
A: Naperville.

Q2: Where did you grow up?
A: New York City.

Q3: Where are you from?
A: Chicago.

Q4: Why do you say you're from Chicago?

Note to self. Pause and differentiate questions one and two. They are not the same, though most who ask do not mind the semantic differences. In #1, the verb tense is past and passive. Passive like, the raising happens to us. In general, Naperchilds are not the agents of this action.
Responsibilities?? What are those??!
I might never utter the sentence, "I grew up in Chicago," ever again. That is, if I intend to answer the question honestly and meaningfully. These last two sentences bring back fond memories of agonizing over Grice, British philosopher of language.

I should add here that I'm not actually from the Second City. I dislike saying "Windy City" because then my neuroticism compels me to explain that it's not actually renowned for its windspeeds, which are in fact, at a 10.3 mph annual average rate, less than New York City's 12.2 mph (

We live a 30 minute drive out from the city; you'd think there would be a certain semblance in the way and pace of life because of this proximity. But really. No. Naperville's one homeless guy camps outside of Barnes and Noble surfing his laptop and Blackberry.

I'm not from Chicago, but Naperville brings you up in such a small and insignificant way that who actually wants to explain that she is from a Northwest suburb of Chicago that is in fact the epitome of suburbia, complete with "globally renowned public schools" and an award-winning public library from whence I blog (Nichol's I have missed thee), and replete with kids who insist that they are not sheltered, who got nicer limos for junior prom than their parents had for their weddings?

So we claim to be Chicagoans instead. And this claim does not just belong to the 15% of the city's demographic that happens to be Asian-American and also happens to like saving face (NB: correlation does not confirm causation). It is common to all 4% of the population that has left the city limits... JK, really. That can't be true what with the semi-annual vacations we take. I write in jest. I am not (that) ashamed of Naperville, for it is a blessed provision of God for all 150,000 people who live there, first to the privileged white people who inherited large estates from circa when Naperville was a quaint farming town but now especially so to the influx of yellow families flocking to its high schools and high property taxes.

Money magazine lists Naperville as #2 on its 2006 list of America's best small cities to live in. Naperville takes third place for 2008 probably because it was a tragic year that saw the loss of such down-to-earth occupants as Joshua Liu, Rebecca Wei, Anna Gui, Jerry Lin, Mallory Baysek... (Insert fond winks and twinkley eyes). Did you know Naperville, population 150,000, is the fifth largest city in the state after Chicago, Aurora, Rockford and Joliet though? I'm learning so much new today; how was my previous existence here so insular that I now have to Wikipedia the place where I lived for a decade, where we all supposedly came of age... Supposedly.

But I digress. More later.

Believe me I have lots to say. And I will try to be less snarky. No guarantees though.