So people want to know what it's like in Milwaukee, especially as an expatriate suburban Chicagolander. The first thing that strikes me about the place, at least in the hospital, is that there actually are a lot of other expatriate suburban Chicagolanders around here.
You often discover this secretly, in a discussion on sports, for instance. If the other person doesn't talk about the Green Bay Packers with a reverential deference, you begin to wonder...if the person doesn't know anything about the Badgers, you become almost certain, and eventually they'll say something that will seal the deal - "didn't the Bears have a great season last year?" Of course, as turncoat Green Bay fan, I just nod and smile.
Many of us in this secret society of people from Chicago often refer to Milwaukee as Chicago's northernmost suburb, a designation not really favored by the locals here for some reason. Some people I've talked to here think of Milwaukee as a big "small town" but it seems to me the people running Milwaukee are more interested in making it into a "New Chicago" than a charming bucolic throwback to the days of yore.
One thing everyone can agree on: don't speed in Milwaukee, or Wisconsin generally. If you do, you will get a big, fat ticket. This fact is so well known and understood, that I routinely see people driving the speed limit. This is an unheard of practice in Illinois.
In fact, on Illinois highways one can safely go 70-75mph despite a speed limit of 55mph. In Wisconsin, with a speed limit of 65mph, people drive no faster than 75mph. The daring few in the left lane may push it to 80mph but even then only when safely out of the stretch of highway between Kenosha and Racine, which is one giant speedtrap.
There are even billboards that advertise this fact - I saw one that said, "Speeding is a Big Ticket Item" and another one for Cousin's subway sandwiches that says, "It's worth its weight in speeding tickets."
So I guess it's safe to say that life is slower here...
There are also some random connections back to Chicago even up here. News Radio WBBM 780 from Chicago comes in quite clearly up here and I often listen with special delight when they give the rush hour traffic reports in Chicago.
There is no such thing as 50 minute delays here in Milwaukee. Even with a massive highway construction project, it takes no more than 15-20 minutes for my commute, a blessing I can hardly describe to you in Chicago.
But there are prices to pay for this life of ease. We do not have nearly the selection of relatively cheap, but good, Indo-Pak or Arab restaurants out here. One place that is pretty good that I've been to is called Ujala, which makes some great naan and chicken karahai.
That's it for now on my notes on M-town...if I get time, maybe some stories from my month in the ER...