Same Steps, Different Stories

I fumbled for everything in my hand and mistakenly not looked both ways when I crossed onto Belden and Racine. I recently downloaded the MapMyWalk app and by that decision I automatically felt like a hot-shot. By then I was hoping for a wave of new-found purpose in life, but to my dismay it was only a phone app. Much like most of my decision making I spun a couple of times, looking like a fool, and walked which ever way I was facing… and then turned around toward the opposite direction farthest away from people AND BEGUN.

2:20pm — Belden and Racine: A group of pre-pubescent boys getting excited about a water fountain in Trebes Park “Not cuts, no buts, no coconuts”. The educational system has taught them well. Each kid takes their turn, but every time they do they become… territorial? They yell at each other and shove. Oh how I miss being a kid. “Take turns, Josh!” I think Josh needs to learn some self-control.


2:26PM — I took a couple of minutes trying to inconspicuously document this whole ordeal but as you can see from the image above, a small dude made eye contact. Of all my years of abysmal training leading up to this moment. Tragic.

2:32PM — Two ladies sitting outside White Oak Tavern having lunch across the street from where I walk. The one facing towards my direction is getting heated. Is this what I have to look forward to? My feeble imagination thought they were governmental conspirators like most paranoid people do. Anyway, I hope the other lady gets a chance to talk.

2:37PM — Aside from the boys at the park and those two ladies, I have encountered very little people walking in this seemingly affluential residential area. So far I am mostly amazed at this Volkswagen Beetle:

2:44PM — There is so much ADT security. I wonder how many residences actually have the security system as opposed to just having the sign as a dirty trick. Either way, I am impressed. I hear fire sirens.

2:48PM — I see shrubs and trees poking out of the fences and gate and start to have a pretentious, over-analytical thought about society and “containment”. I’m down playing it. Someone please stop me.

2:54PM — I just turned a corner and now I am lost, but that’s okay. I hear a man yelling while he peers into a window of a resale shop. I never see his face. Curiosity is killing me, but that’s okay.

3:00PM — I wish there were more people here so I can eavesdrop. My morals are where they should be.

3:04PM — INTERESTING red door. Looks out of place from the rest of the visible area. I like it. I keep hearing car engines and my dumb camera shutter.

3:07PM — Girl with headphones. She look like she has her life together.

3:09PM — Very white fence. I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

3:13PM — I hear an engine starting… but it took a while for the person to pull out of their parallel parking spot.

3:19PM — I am at a busy intersection and hesitant about crossing. Not only is it super busy, but there was also a loud truck that has intimidated me. I need to assert my dominance if I ever want to make it in this dog-eat-dog world.

3:22PM — N Magnolia Ave — It’s quiet and beautiful. No people around, just me, the apartment buildings, the trees, and the sunlight. It doesn’t feel like I’m in Chicago. It feels small and… historical? Still looks affluential, no doubt.

3:31PM — W Belden Ave — There is a truck riddled with flower stickers. It reminds me of Toy Story 2. I hear a leaf blower. No people. Just the leaf blower. A ghost is among us.

3:34PM — Um… there seems to be an obscenely large amount of people near that building. I’m moving closer.

3:36PM — I’m right across currently behind St. Josaphat Catholic Church in a nice courtyard with a small, quaint fountain.

There is a lot of seating. I guess this is where I begin my actual docuentation.

I mainly decided to stay here because across the street from where I am is where there is a congregation of people in the middle of the sidewalk spanning around 10ft in length maybe more.

There are a lot of kids and adults. I’m guessing school or catholic studies? Easy.

3:37PM — I hear kids screaming in joy. Parents are talking to other parents. it feels nice, to witness something almost wholesome.

3:40PM — I decide to sit down in one of the benches. Across from me, ways away is a man enjoying his time alone as well. He seems to look… fulfilled. I don’t know. I could obviously be off.

Kids are constantly laughing. The sound of them running. They look happy.

3:50PM — “Are you guys going to karate?” said a small girl

“We have swim lessons today! We are going to karate tomorrow though” A nice mother of two replied to the hopeful girl.

4:00PM — After 10 minutes they start to slowly leave and disperse. Gradually becoming quieter.

4:09PM — The man across from me has gotten up and started walking. He goes slow and takes his time. Kids and cars, battling each other for the loudest volume. They’re about the same at the moment.

4:15PM — I leave the courtyard and walk back to the dorm. A kid and her dad walking down the same road in front of me talk and seem like they are having a nice time together. They laugh and she gives him something. She has a backpack that is basically 80% of her body height and width. It’s ridiculous, but amusing.


Does a walk through Chicago’s street soothe you, induce stress, or produce some other emotional response? Why? Are there certain kinds of streets or places in the city that produce these emotional responses? Where, when, how, and why?

When I walk through certain neighborhoods in the city, like Lincoln Park, I do feel… at ease. There isn’t much mental stimulation, but it feels nice to be able to walk through and see the the constantly kept places and be amazed at the meticulous landscaping. In certain avenues there are differences in the ambiance and the character of the avenue itself. And obviously there are certain places I wouldn’t be comfortable walking alone in at a certain time. I believe it’s obviously because of assumptions. I try not to hold those as truth, but it’s hard not to be paranoid of you safety if large groups of people tell you the same assumption and stereotype of a neighborhood. Personally, the positive places in the city are the ones that have many businesses in a small scale building. Where the neighborhood feels like it has accomplished a sort of diversity in its patrons. I like a place with many people going somewhere doing something. I like Diversey and Belmont because there are well know stores but still small independently owned businesses wedge in between like some sort of gem waiting to be found.

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