We measure everywhere – everything – by the world we knew when we grew up.
That formative time when everything was perfect.
For me, this is Saudi Arabia of all places – in the early 1990’s.
Life was slower. We argued about if we were going to go to the swimming pool or theater for PE. You might play video games at a friends house and then ride to the commissary to buy a Pepsi afterward. Your Cub Scout troop met on the back porch. And a cheeseburger and curly fries from the snack bar is all you wanted in the evening. You went to the park and basketball courts just to see who was out. You dreamt about where you would go to boarding school. And you nearly forgot about going back to the USA.
And my parents would be young.
And everyone I love would still be alive.
For me, Chicago will always be as it was in the mid-1980s. That was the city as I loved it, the world at noon. It was Greek Town and Wrigley Field and beers at the Checkerboard Lounge. It was days at the beach and nights on the toboggan and house parties in Winnetka. It was being chased by the cops and sneaking out and the city in the distance. It was Howlin’ Wolf and red hots at Big Al’s and frosty malts and denim jackets and girls in penny loafers and stone-washed jeans. Every other place is measured against the city when the world was whole. That’s when I was young and my parents were young and my brother and sister were home and we huddled together when the big snows came. When I look at my own children, I am filled with envy. Everyone lives in Eden and everyone gets banished. Everyone falls from grace just for being alive.
-Rich Cohen, Monsters