Living in a city can make you paranoid. I often find myself ignoring perfectly kind people on the street because they are strangers. I usually walk with my head down, not making eye contact with anyone. If I am in a coffee shop or a library, I never leave my things unattended.
While Chicago is a major city and there is definitely crime here (just like everywhere else), it’s also a very welcoming and friendly city. People are helpful here and say excuse me when they step on your toes on the bus. Most Chicagoans believe this because we live in the Midwest. But I’m an East Coast girl at heart, so I still don’t know exactly what being a Midwesterner means.
I know it’s not healthy to live in paranoia though, so I’m trying to find ways to lighten up and I was given a perfect chance to put this new attitude into effect on Monday.
I had arrived at work on a morning that I was not scheduled (yeah, that sucked), so I decided to take the morning and do some journalling and reading in the student center on campus. There weren’t that many people milling around, seeing as it was 8am (did I mention I thought I had to work at 730am? Yeah, that really sucked), but I was still nervous to leave my bag unattended to run to the restroom.
A woman was studying across from me and I thought, “Screw it.” So I asked her if she would watch my bag for a second and, being as I live in a nice city, she said yes. I went to the bathroom and hurried back, worried that she would leave and my bag would be a prime target for a bag-snatcher, but I came back to see my belongings exactly how I had left them.
The small event reminded me of my need to pull my head out of my ass and see that people are nice and kind for the most part. I’m the jerk who won’t talk to anyone.