Due to my success in my current territory of Ohio and Michigan, I was given the opportunity to expand my territory into Chicago this quarter. I travel frequently to New York City, so I have never spent any time in the Chicago area. I have always felt, “why go to Chicago when I know NYC so well?” When I think of Chicago, I think of high crime, cold and windy weather, and horrible traffic. Much to my surprise, I have started to fall in love with Chicago!
The first concern about Chicago was the high crime rate. I had heard not to go to the south side. Well, my first trip into Chicago was to South Shore, just on the south side. I asked a friend about that area and was assured that if “Shore” was in the name, the entire shore is pretty nice now. That turned out to be not so true.
My first three appointments were in South Shore. The statistics for being robbed or mugged are 1 in 13 in this area. The security guard at the first hospital insisted on walking me to the pharmacy. On the way, he asked if I was armed. My answer was, “With a charming personality”. He offered to walk me to my car. With all that, I did not feel unsafe in the area. I take my normal precautions; I don’t leave anything visible in my car. I do not carry a purse. I carry enough cash to give them something to take. And, I am always aware of my surroundings. I have found the people of all areas of Chicago charming, and the conversations have been fun.
Number two on my list of concerns with Chicago is the cold and wind. I have found so far that it is actually very warm in the summer and the wind downtown cools you off while you are walking. I do not plan to brave the Chicago snow. I am going to try to schedule around the snowy three months of the year. If that doesn’t work out, weather has never concerned me as long as travel is still moving.
My last concern was the traffic. Much to my surprise, people in Chicago really know how to drive. Since there are cameras on most highways tracking your speed, you do not usually see the people who weave in and out of traffic. Most cars tend to leave a lot of room in front of them and take their time. This helps to keep the traffic moving, even if it is at a slow pace. I have found that the app Waze is really your friend in a city like Chicago. There are so many way to go to one place, and there is always an open lane somewhere. The city has really thought out how to keep traffic moving. The entrance ramps and exit ramps alternate from left to right as not to clog up one side of the highway. Even though the pace is slow in Chicago, I can appreciate that the traffic is still moving. I don’t mind driving there.
Give me some time to get to know this great city, and I will post about food and fun in Chicago!