Facing Our Fears: Chicagoist's Worst City Nightmares

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 14, 2015 7:00PM

We love our city, but let's be real, there is a lot of scary stuff lurking out there. We've been thinking about nightmarish Chicago situations ever since Crain's recently published their own slapdash list. While we share some of their fears (St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. Shudder.), we knew there was way more to freak out about so our staffers got into a conversation about the worst city-specific nightmares we dread becoming a reality. What are yours?

Transportation Torments

I'm afraid of getting hit by "falling ice." Although I play it cool when I'm walking by tall buildings downtown, I'm terrified. — Michelle M.

I second the ice fear! The first time I walked around downtown in winter I just looked at everyone around me to see if they were as panicked as I was. — Sophie D.

I'll third the ice fear. I've been hit with falling ice and snow from houses, and have had chunks from taller buildings crash down near me. Every time I see some rain down from a building in the Loop, I wonder when I'm going to end up under it. — Aaron C.

Being hit by a car while properly crossing with the right of way is a real fear of mine, and one that has unfortunately been realized. — Sophie D.

Parking your bike outside and returning to find it is still there, but your seat, wheels and lights are all gone. You'll probably have to go to a bike shop to get it fixed, but how will you get it there? — Rachel C.

Getting doored while biking on Milwaukee. Or Wells. Or Lincoln. Or 18th Street. Or any other bike lane that's also on a popular retail or nightlife corridor. Why do they put so many bike lanes right where the taxis always seem to be going? — Rachel C.

Blowing tires on a pothole, which is something that happened to me not once, but twice within the span of two weeks. Related: biting it on my bike on a pothole. — Aaron C.

That my vehicle will be swallowed by a pothole. — Sophie D.

Someone driving a Yukon downtown. — Laura S.

Weather Woes

I fear that we will never have a normal season again and we'll remain in a purgatory that cycles between a wind chill of -20 degrees and a humidity index of 120. — Erika K.

I always fear the no-summer summer. I do not live through months of snow and negative temperatures for a rainy 70-degree summer! — Michelle M.

Considering we've lived through thunder snow and the Lollapalooza monsoons, there is little I fear weather-wise in Chicago—but the notion that we've lost summer to eight months of winter and four months of fall scares the bejesus out of me. — Tankboy

Public Transit Horrors

People standing on the left on escalators, but I'm not sure that's just a Chicago thing. — Danette C.

I agree. Could it be a Midwestern thing? It seems like no one wants to walk up or down the escalator, and the standers look at you like you're being crazy for giving your buns a little exercise. — Kristine S.

A CTA bus that's a couple minutes out according to Bus Tracker, but then suddenly disappearing and the next bus is now 20 minutes away. — Benjy L.

A few years ago, during the morning rush WBEZ briefly reported that due to a massive power outage, the entire CTA rail system was down. In the few seconds before the reporter added "April Fool's!" I had heart palpitations. That's definitely a Chicagoan's worst nightmare. — Rob C.

Falling down the stairs heading to the train. A strange fear maybe, but a real one for me since I am clumsy as hell. — Carrie M.

This might seem odd, but I've always been afraid of being pushed onto the L tracks. That's kinda dark, though. — Marielle S.

I'm afraid of being pushed onto the L tracks, too! — Michelle M.

I'm less afraid of being pushed on them, but definitely afraid of slipping and falling on them, particularly when it's icy or rainy. — Aaron C.

Sports Fears

That the White Sox had left for Tampa/St. Pete in the late-'80s and we're stuck with only the Cubs. — Benjy L.

The Bulls never winning another championship (bring back Steve Kerr!) — Gina P.

I fear that Jay Cutler will play out his entire seven-year contract. (Just six more years to go!) — Rob W.

Getting stuck in Wrigleyville right after a Cub's game because I didn't check whether it was a game day. It's happened before and it's terrifying. — Melissa M..

City Life Tribulations

Windy City street rats—officially known by the alarmingly exotic species name “Norway rat”—can “crawl through holes the size of a quarter, tread water for three days and have the ability to land unharmed after a five-story fall.” Those are some stone-cold, bad-ass rodents—fearless and foul with a hankerin’ for dog feces. Even the signage warning citizens that dog feces “attracts and feeds rats” is anxiety-inducing, with its dramatic red and black scrawl and illustrations of shadowy, oversized rats with weird, curlicue tails. What’s more—Orkin has dubbed Chicago as the “rattiest city in the U.S.” which means I have to pop a Valium every time I take the garbage out to the dumpster. — Tony P.

Something needs to be said for bed bugs. I had a perfectly nice apartment before purchasing a mattress on Craigslist. A month of two later, two of my roommates and I were getting bites on the daily. Sometimes I'd get them on my face! Those were dark times. — Robert M.

Yes! My ex wrote a song about getting bedbugs from a vintage clothing store a couple years ago. Scary stuff. — Rachel C.

Being stuck in a high-rise fire. If you live on Lake Shore Drive, assume I'm never visiting. — Selena F. (Editor's Note: Even after another staffer assured Selena that most modern high rises are built so this doesn't happen, she responded "I never claim that my fears are logical" Wise words, isn't that the truth with most fears?)

A few years back, one of my best friend's girlfriend was living in some crappy old apartment building in Lincoln Park. One day, while she was sleeping at my buddy's apartment, the ceiling over her bed just kind of...collapsed. I'm terrified of that happening to me now. — Jim B.

Uniquely Chicago-Style Ordeals

Someone making me go to Navy Pier. — Jim B.

If I ever leave this city I'll learn to say my "As" correctly and lose my slight Chicago accent. — Gina P.

Chicago’s silver men. The living statues, painted silver, hidden behind sunglasses (they can see out, but you can’t see in), along Michigan Avenue can be a bit creepy, but they’re actually more enigmatic than anything. It’s really the zombie-herd tourists, distracted by anything that shimmies and sparkles, who encircle the performers, slack-jawed and eyes glazed over, who are the true frightmare. — Tony P.

Being spooked by the crazy amount of ghosts that reportedly haunt this city, especially Resurrection Mary. I will have no option but to run her over again if I see her. — Selena F.

I fear the return of Mancow will be successful. — Joel W.

Getting stuck next to jam band fanatics who want to talk to me at a communal table. — Melissa M.

Bachelorette parties in Boystown scare the bejesus out of me. They’re typically disrespectful ("You’re gay?! What a waste!"), they’re loud and their well-intentioned exuberance is as crippling as Kryptonite. Scarier still? Some gay men’s over the top, in your face reactions to these girls. Because no one has time for that kind of cock-block action, oh-kurr? — Tony P.

After the loss of some favorites last year (Club Foot, Hot Doug's in particular) I now live in fear of some iconic Chicago spots shutting up shop. If Superdawg or Rainbow Cone ever close up shop, someone will have to hold me. — Lisa W.

Red Hot Ranch or any good Chicago-style or depression dog hole in the wall hot dog place closing down. — Gina P.

That one day our landmarks will all be completely corporate. I'll still never call them U.S. Cellular Field or Willis Tower or First Midwest Bank Amphi-whatever, and fear it's not the end of the brand bonanza. — Selena F.