I’m no Chicago heretic. I won’t deny the pleasures of our summer. When the June sun finally emerges after six months of gray skies, it’s a magic cure for the seasonal blues and a harbinger of the embarrassment of riches of things to do. The next four months are mostly swell—there’s a reason so many of us preach the gospel of Chicago summer to our out-of-town friends.
But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. The season gets so breathlessly hyped as a transcendent, life-affirming force that it’s easy to succumb to the need to stuff a year’s worth of fun between the months of June and September. Boats! Beaches! Barbecues! Baseball games! Farmers’ markets! Movies in the parks! Music festivals! Oh and hey, don’t forget your cousin’s destination wedding, that camping trip to Michigan, and dude—you have to check out this rooftop patio that just opened! Sometimes Chicago summers can feel like New Year’s Eve stretched out for four straight months, minus the stupid shiny hats, subzero temperatures, and champagne in Solo cups, but with all the impossibly high expectations and FOMO.
The nonstop comings and goings eventually take their toll on my mind, body, and pocketbook. By the end of my seventh Bacon-flavored Craft Beer Summer Art Parade Fest Expo, I had sunburned skin the color of Donald Trump’s, I was broke as hell, and—like the changing September leaves—was ready to fall to the ground.
That’s part of what makes fall so sublime. There are still plenty of things to see and places to go, but the calendar isn’t so overstuffed with must-do’s and no one is screaming “Carpe diem!” in your ear. You can just take a deep breath and relax instead. Maybe catch up on a TV show or pick up that book you meant to finish last spring. It’s perfectly reasonable to stay in tonight. ‘Tis the season. v