Being a student of psychology, I hate to use labels and psychological terminology. But having lived and escaped from Oak Park, I swear I experience some sort of Post-Traumatic Stress whenever I come close to this town or have to drive through it. For those who may think that statement goes too far, I beg to differ.
My heartbeat accelerates, my eye begins to twitch, I sweat, I curse, and my anger is stimulated. All of this, as a result of living in Oak Park. They say that life experiences can change you. Well living in Oak Park changed me. And not for the better.
For as long as I can remember, living out south in my youth, I always looked at Oak Park, through the lenses of an immature child. The full trees, along with the manicured and immaculate lawns, almost always drew me in. Well until I actually stepped out of the car, and begin to walk and experience the streets of Oak Park.
If the stress of avoiding dog poop, like landmines that are almost everywhere are not enough, try living near elderly white women who approach other’s like it is their duty to direct the village. Or how about digesting on a daily basis the name of Ernest Hemingway or Frank Lloyd Wright, whom this town utilizes in every marketing ploy imaginable.
Having had the opportunity of living there, I also experienced the lack of parking (I had to move my car at least two or three times a day to abide by the various parking restrictions), news reports on individuals from neighboring towns (the west side of Chicago) coming to this “precious” area to break into homes or cars, or businesses opening up one day, to be shut down the next (damn I miss Falafel).
It is not the hippie-loving easy going atmosphere that I presumed it to be. It is overly congested, overly populated (with people and dogs) with know it all’s that embrace a very sheltered form of living.
The idea of “vintage” is actually a management’s office way of not updating the apartments. From my experience, painting already chipped “lead based” walls is not the same as updating the apartment. But if you like to use the word “vintage” like Oak Park almost always does, keep in mind you may have old broke down living arrangements. Thanks “Green plan management”!
There are many other great suburbs or towns to live in, that are not far from downtown. After living in Oak Park, I opted out for one of these calmer cities that do not evoke my anxiety to levels of rage. You may want to do the same or at least consider it if you are thinking “No Park” I mean “Oak Park” is the way to go.