I live in an area affectionately known as the “tri-cities,” for reasons that should be obvious: we are three cities. Okay, the name is a misnomer because, quite frankly, we’re more like a cluster of seventy-niner cities, which means you can’t spit without hitting one city or another. Therefore, we’ve accepted the more appropriate moniker of “Chicago,” which runs about forty miles out from the city and abruptly stops.

That dividing line is called “Not Chicago.”

Everything that happens outside of Chicago is, effectively, “Not Chicago.”

Now, I’ve lived here in Saint Charles for as long as my three remaining firing synapses allow, which means that I’m accustomed to suburbia. I’m not exactly a city girl gone country, because, to be honest, Chicago is the most wonderful city on earth, but I like my wide lawns and mornings without seeing seven or eight people peeing on things.

*shrugs*

Considering the size of Chicago, it’s probably (like most things that make sense to the rest of the world) just me.

(pointless and non-pithy aside: did you know that “East Chicago” is actually in Indiana? That, my dear Pranksters, is a hot pile of bullshit).

After spending my formative years creating a massive carbon footprint, tooling around in my wee del Sol, playing Summer Car,* smoking cigarettes, and getting lost on the long winding roads, driving just to see where we’d end up, I assumed that when I got the job in a town so small I can’t even tell you the name because you’ll be all, “whaaa-huh?” in the same way most people assume I’m from St. Charles, Missouri, which I assure you I am not, that I’d be well-suited to both the locale and the commute.

(holy run-on sentence, Batman)

The commute, well, there’s no better form of therapy than a fresh cup of coffee, a full tank of gas, and miles of open road. I use the time to compose hilarious tweets I never end up sending because I’m fucking driving. This whole “texting and driving” bullshit confuses me. I may be able to make a sandwich, chug a coke, and paint my nails while driving a stick, but texting (or Tweeting) while driving? It both baffles and annoys me.

It’s the locale of the hospital I can’t quite understand.

I walked into my office on my first day and noted that the mysterious filing cabinets had disappeared while a desk had appeared in its place. Win! There was no computer on the desk. Not Win!

The very next thing I attempted to do baffled me further. I grabbed my i(can’t)Phone and went to tweet something about a time-warp and/or my lack of computer making me feel as though half my body had mysteriously disappeared, when I noted something I didn’t even know existed.

Roaming.

My fucking i(can’t)Phone was roaming.

Pranksters, I didn’t even know phones DID that anymore. I’d honestly thought that roaming charges went the way of Friendster. When I mentioned this to my boss, she said, “Oh yeah, I have to stand in the middle of the road to send a text.”

I’m almost entirely certain that I amassed a large collection of flies as my mouth hung dumbly open.

“No…cell phone coverage?”

She just laughed. I shuddered.

Later that afternoon, as I was leaving, I realized the old tank was on empty so I pulled off to a tiny gas station chain that I’ve only ever seen in the deep south. The wind howling outrageously around me (no buildings around = wind blows sharply from the plains), I tried to grab out my debit card to pay at the pump because, well, duh. You have to do that shit here.

It was then that I noted that for the first time in probably 7 years, I had the option to pump my gas BEFORE paying for it. Underneath that shocking revelation, a sign said neatly, “Only In-State Checks Allowed.” As in, you could pay for your gas via check.

And here I was thinking I was the last person on earth to both take baths (which is neither here nor there) and write checks. I’d always thought it was nearing time for my Murder She Wrote marathons, tripping young people with my cane, and chugging a mysterious substance called “Geritol.”

Apparently not.

Apparently, Pranksters, there exists a world OUTSIDE of Chicago that allows for personal checks while banning cell phones.

I also learned that I could buy a shed the approximate size and shape of the FBI Surveillance Van with a free metal roof, which just plain old seems like a bad idea. I mean, metal attracts lightening and shit. Or at least, it does in Chicago. Not Chicago, though, maybe that’s how they cook the wild boars the mens hunt all day long.

All I need is a midget dressed as a hot dog and a diner with a creepy waitress to make this a full-on David Lynch movie.

And the oddest part? I enjoy it.

What.

The.

Fuck.

Happened.

To.

Me?

*A game in which you remove most of your clothes, crank the heat, and attempt to confuse other drivers, who are, no doubt, bundled and shivering from the cold January winter.

Comments are love, or some bullshit like that. Either way, they make my heart happy. You should leave (or at least THINK about leaving) a comment and SUBSCRIBE to my RSS feed or I will send my Chicago "friends" after you, yo.

19 Responses to Like A David Lynch Movie

  • Lovelyn
    Twitter: NebulousMooch
    says:

    No cell phone service! How will you survive? It sounds to me like you got a job in the 1990s.

  • Like A David Lynch Movie http://t.co/ONHLHD8rCd via @@mommywantsvodka

  • Dana says:

    Welcome to Podunk v1.72 (although I’m sure it’s not MY Podunk – we don’t have a medical facility – we’re all cut from the same cookie cutter). We’re really not all that backward out in the plains, and we are a trustworthy bunch that is still allowed to pump before paying AND write checks. Some places out here will take a check, but NOT a debit card.

    Glad to hear you are enjoying the change of pace!

  • penny says:

    i so feel you there. i grew up on the South Side, you know, where you can shake hands with your neighbors out the second floor window and have to fight for street parking. and then i moved to southern IL…where it takes 20 minutes to get anywhere worth going, we don’t even have street lights and no driveway is less that two cars wide. CULTURE SHOCK!

  • nikkiana says:

    The mind boggles…

  • Roxie says:

    And “West Chicago” is seperated from Chicago by 9 towns between them! I’m in Oak Brook , which is west of Chicago and 4 towns closer to Chicago than West Chicago. More boggling!

  • Like A David Lynch Movie: I live in an area affectionately known as the “tri-cities,” for… http://t.co/XDRX1E9l4v via @MommyWantsVodka

  • Grace says:

    One of these days (when train fares aren’t insane) I WILL get you out to my neck of the woods. You can see our ONE traffic light and admire the view of the fields and windmills from my porch.

  • I done wrote -n- shit: Like A David Lynch Movie http://t.co/uzjVxyPbXQ

  • RT @mommywantsvodka: I done wrote -n- shit: Like A David Lynch Movie http://t.co/uzjVxyPbXQ

  • Jolie says:

    Wow. Even in Dantucky you have to pay before you pump. I am impressed! And yes, I too am baffled by the whole “Chicago” terminology. If I had a nickel for every time I’d answer Danville IL and someone would say “Oh, what part of Chicago is that?” I could retire. And bling everything I owned. btw, Danville is about 3 hrs SOUTH of Chicago. Chicago is a city, not the state!!

  • Cindy
    Twitter: WalkerCynthia
    says:

    what. the. everloving. fuck.
    Phones still roam? I just. what?
    I live in the motherfucking swamp and my phone doesn’t roam. What fucking planet do you live on, AB?
    Also, in the swamp, you have to pre-pay for gas.
    How did this happen? What alternate universe have you been transported to? Do they fly in dirigibles there instead of airplanes? Because I totally want to come fly in a dirigible that docks at the top of the empire state building.

  • Emelie Samuelson
    Twitter: AwkwardlyAlive
    says:

    This sounds like an episode of Portlandia! Haha

  • Tracie
    Twitter: fromtracie
    says:

    Maybe you are driving through a wormhole/time-warp/hole-in-the-space-time-continuum on your way to work every day?

  • Pete In Az says:

    TIL I live in “Not Chicago”.

  • Lance says:

    You should make a vlog imitating Dennis Hopper’s Frank Booth in Blue Velvet

  • Alexis Anne
    Twitter: theangelalexistwitter.com
    says:

    I totally empathize with your lack of cell phone service, though my experience was for a much different reason. When I was thirteen, my parents changed cell phone carriers and plans. They had talked about switching to unlimited texting.. The last I heard of it was that unlimited texting was the plan with which they were going. Apparently they changed their fickle minds, or so I found out more than five hundred dollars later.

    In addition to having to pay the overage charge,, my previously functional cell phone (while a dinosaur compared with the I-phones even third-graders are carrying around today, at least allowed me to send text messages and to be in contact with anyone I needed to message or speak with) was exchanged for a preschooler phone with six color-coded buttons that allowed me to call my home number, my mom’s cell and work numbers, my dad’s cell and work numbers, and 911. I tried to keep it hidden from my peers, but eventually word got out, and people who were bigger and stronger than I, which was everyone, would grab my backpack and fish through it until they found the brightly -colored phone and would hold it up for all to see and enjoy. The only student I can remember at whose expense the jerks had more fun was the poor boy who had to wear his shoes on the opposite feet for which they were designed for orthopedic purposes.

    My mom, who was an administrator for my school district, questioned the efficacy of wearing shoes on the wrong feet by the time the kid had reached adolescence. There are doctors who will recommend the practice for pigeon-toedness in infancy and early toddlerhood, but it’s not going to accomplish a thing except to make a kid a social pariah by the time he’s an adolescent. My mother was successful in stopping the kid’s parents from making him wear his shoes on the wrong feet. She rescued him, bit she left me with my baby cell phone and the ridicule that accompanied it.

    So I’ve been through the limited cellphone reception, albeit for a very different reason. I fully sympathize and hope it gets better for you sooner than it did for me. I wasn’t allowed to have an adult cell phone until I went away to college three-and-one-half years later.

  • Melanie
    Twitter: princessedamame
    says:

    I still write checks. They are my disposable paper debit cards. Not for gas, though. That shit’s crazy.

  • Alexis Anne
    Twitter: theangelalexistwitter.com
    says:

    Those here who are “in the know” probably know what’s happening and how you’re doing. As someone who is not one of thr privileged ones, I still think about you and hope and pray that everything is OK.

    Al

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