It finally happened: a solid weekend in the city, partying with my homos. Also, I’m moving out in 3 weeks. (!!!)
I’m almost in tears of relief. I thought this day would never come. And now it has, and it’s time to plan for more important shit like coming out to my parents (should I do it in person? via email?) and not tripping over my elbows when talking to cute girls. And saving up airfare for when Tegan and Sara finally go back on tour in 2016, in case they decide not to hit Chicago.
All of this happened last weekend, but I’ve just now had some time to sit down and breathe. So here goes.
It’s amazing what spontaneous friendships crop up when you’re queer and looking for roommates. I feel like the whole “You’re gay? OMG same!” conversation has more power to unite strangers than any other detail you might have in common. I’ve made about 5 friends this way so far, and all in the last month.
Here’s how it all happened:
My original supposed-to-be roommate, we’ll call her Ella, moved in this weekend – to a “vintage” 3-bedroom unit in Wrigleyville, just across the tracks from that majorly gay neighborhood, Boystown. There’s one other girl living there right now, and when Ella told me she was jumping on that ship, I held back because because I hadn’t seen the place and wasn’t sold on the location. But they’ve been looking for a 3rd roommate and somehow hasn’t found one yet. I told Ella I would come over and help her move in and we could go out to dinner and hang out – because we genuinely connect as friends, and it’s what I would want someone to do for me if I was new to the city and didn’t know anyone. (As it turns out, we’ve both been running into a shitload of people we already know. Everybody lives in Chicago!)
Meanwhile, last week I met Rachel, another potential roommate. We bonded over coffee and coming out stories. There was an instant connection, a feeling of “I don’t know you, but no matter what happens with coming out to your parents/declaring your feelings for that girl you like/navgating the queer world, I’ve got your back.” It was beautiful. (I kind of want to stay on this roommate site just to keep making gay friends!) Rachel told me a few days later that she unfortunately wouldn’t be needing a roommate after all, but that we should still be friends. Then she invited me and Ella to hang out with her and some of her friends the same day Ella moved in!
Yes, it took me an hour to find overnight parking because the entire neighborhood is permit parking after cetain hours. Yes, I had to walk about 12 blocks back to the apartment, and yes, it felt like 90 degrees outside and the window units hadn’t been installed in the apartment yet. And getting past the Wrigley Field vortex is fucking insanity, but so far in a “Wow this is so cool and epic” way.
But it was OK. None of that mattered when I thought about the friendships that were forming. Wrigleyville/Boystown is one of those areas where you can walk down the street and strike up a conversation with someone at Whole Foods about perfect avocados and have that spiral into a deep connection. I feel it in my bones: it’s unlike any other neighborhood I have visited.
So our weekend included:
- Meeting Rachel’s friends, including 2 guys who were a couple and were some of the nicest, coolest people people I have ever met
- Pre-gaming at Rachel’s apartment with several glasses of wine so that by the time we were walking to where we were going we were quite shit-faced
- Sharing coming-out stories
- Six people in one Uber
- A walk-through of Wrigleyville Summer Fest, which the advertisements make seem like a combo of a farmer’s market/art walk but is nothing like that and should be renamed “Pride: Part II” (I was drunkenly delighted to see about 10,000 rainbow flags, same-sex couples being affectionate in public, HRC booths and at least 10 cute women with asymmetrical haircuts who totally checked me out and smiled at me, sending me into a tailspin of stupid grinning)
- Rachel and the girl she liked passing a baseball cap back and forth all night (how very lesbian of them)
- Ordering 2 large pizzas and discovering it was wayyyyyy more than we could eat and giving the rest to some homeless guy
- A dance party at a bar on the west side of town
- The realization that we were still drunk the next morning
- A very hung-over crawl to IHOP
- An appreciation for the glory of Halsted St. and peeking into the Center on Halsted with the same heart palpitations I used to experience when looking into a nicely decorated church, and an urge to cry/dance/hug everybody
- Coming to terms with the fact that living in Wrigleyville necessitates some level of green/hipster thinking if you want to fit in: you do your Whole Foods grocery shopping and you bring your own damn reusable cloth bags. End of story.
- A wonderful (sober) conversation with Liz about anything and everything
After all that, I decided that good roommates were more important than granite countertops, so I told Ella I’d apply for the 3rd bedroom in her apartment. She was overjoyed. (The other roommate is rarely home but nice enough when I met her – I’m going to hope for the best). I was even happier when the landlord called me to say I could set my own move-out date, anywhere from 6 months to a year. So it’s enough to get my foot in the door without being long-term if it doesn’t work out so well.
The next chapter of my life is about to begin.
And before it does, I need to decide what to do with the 20 boxes of stuff from my last apartment sitting in my grandma’s basement.