What People in Chicago Say, and What They Actually Mean

Even in the cold of another Chicago winter, there’s a lot of hot air blowing through the Windy City. Since there isn't a Google Translate app for local BS, you’ll need this handy guide to find out what people really mean when they’re talking to you.

“I live in a garden apartment.”

Translation: I am a creature averse to sunlight and human contact of any kind. I subsist in a dank subterranean environment on a steady diet of beer, pizza delivery, and Netflix. Approach with caution.

“Want to hit up Beaumont this weekend?”

Translation: I have no idea how to party. This is the first bar I’ve ever been to. 

“Should we grab an Uber?”

Translation: It’s a three-block walk. Sure we could walk, but why the hell would anyone want to do that?

“OK, fine I’ll meet you out... just for one drink.”

Translation: You know that person that’s been peeing in your neighbor’s gangway at 5am? That’s me. 

“Wanna go to happy hour?”

Translation: It’s winter in Chicago and it’s dark by 5pm. What the hell else do I have to look forward to on a Wednesday? Mike & Molly?

“We had an awesome dinner at this cool new place in the West Loop.”

Translation: We just waited over two hours for a table and spent so much cash I nearly cried. But at least I got a poorly lit Instagram out of it.

“I live in Wrigleyville.”

Translation: I just moved here.

“I was at the first Lollapalooza... before all these kids ruined it.”

Translation: I am an old curmudgeon and desperate to cling on to any sort of semblance of edge, even though I just drove in from Winnetka in my Mini Cooper.

“Can we eat at a table outside?”

Translation: It’s the first sunny day in weeks, so it must be spring-drinking weather. Even though it’s 30 out.

“Can I rent this trolley for our bar crawl?”

Translation: It’s been too long since I last forfeited a security deposit.

“I’m on the L, I’ll be there in two minutes.”

Translation: I’ll be there in 45 minutes, with something definitely sticking to my pants.

“I live in Logan Square.”

Translation: I am super cool. You are nowhere near as cool as me. Did I mention how cool I am? 

“I work in finance.”

Translation: I’m a bank teller.

“Let’s get drinks at the Signature Room.”

Translation: My parents are in town.

“Let’s get dinner at Pizzeria Uno.”

Translation: I am a tourist. 

“Where are you from originally?”

Translation: I know you’re from Ohio. I just want to hear you admit it.

“I love Chicago winter.”

Translation: I am a liar. Do not lend me money.

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Jay Gentile is a Thrillist contributor and you should totally feel free to lend him money. Make him an offer: @innerviewmag.