I stopped at the concierge desk. It was nearly 8 p.m. and we had not yet had dinner. “Where’s a good place to get pizza?” I asked.
“Giordano’s,” he replied.
“Is it far?”
“No, easy. Three blocks up to Michigan and then three blocks up to Randolph.”
“Where are you from?” I asked, responding to his thick accent.
I ask everyone in Chicago where they are from because almost everyone has an accent. The Uber driver who picked me up from the airport was from Kakistan. He’s earned his Bachelor’s degree in Moscow and is currently working on his Masters degree at DePaul. The Lyft driver who took us from the library presentation to our hotel grew up in Mexico. “I was homeless as a child,” he said, explaining that he had a troubled mother. It is for those reasons, he has never smoked, never drank. His Muslim faith enables him to heal from all that childhood trauma.