The Region, otherwise known ‘Da’ Region, can be quite an interesting place. We can spend Friday in Chicago, have a photoshoot in a cornfield Saturday and play bags while rooting for the Bears Sunday — all while checking our own @RegionRatRants Twitter account.
If you’re not a region rat, there are several things you can do to blend in.
Root for Chicago sports.
Region Rats often claim to be from Chicago before admitting they’re from Northwest Indiana because of the teams they root for. People in the Region love sports, and whether it’s the Bears, the White Sox or Cubs, Bulls or Blackhawks, we’re cheering.
If you meet a sports fan from the Region, you better be able to reference “Chelsea Dagger” or the “Super Bowl Shuffle” as if it’s a second nature. And if your friend is a Cubs fan, you should start learning the words to “Go Cubs Go.”
So, if you want to survive in the Region, it might be time to replace that Andrew Luck jersey with a Mitch Trubisky one.
Get your Chicago accent ready, but don’t forget it’s still Indiana.
Another reason Chicago is home to Region Rats is because of the accent most carry from — the letter ‘a’ that takes the normal pronunciation of Chicago and turns it into something more like ‘Chicawwgo’.
With the drawn out a’s comes the reminder that Region Rats are still in Indiana. That means you will come across the occasional ‘y’all.’ For example, someone may ask you and your friends if “y’all want some pop?”
Learn the slang and where we shop.
When you’re getting your party ready to roll and realize you haven’t bought pop — we don’t use the word soda — you’ll probably need to make a run to Jewel-Osco or Strack & Van Til, because Kroger won’t be there for you.
And when your Region friend wants to grab some food and asks where you want to go, recommend Portillo’s. Not only will they be impressed, they’ll probably get excited, because Region Rats love Portillo’s.
Don’t believe us? Then think about how Hannah’s credit card was stolen last month and used to purchase $40 worth of food at Portillo’s. It’s so Region, you can’t even be mad about it.
Be ready to wait.
If you're gonna fit in with the Region Rats, you have to get used to traffic, trains and construction. Since the Region sits about 45 minutes out from Chicago, that means plenty of Region Rats make the commute to the city for work.
This rollover city traffic combined with the trains and construction sites of small towns means patience will be tested. You'll be sitting with the semi-trucks that drive through on Route 41 and Route 30, and you have the perfect mix for road rage — but you've got to be ready to keep your composure and sing along to the Chicago radio stations while you wait.
The Region is a complex place, but it can be pretty simple, too, if you play it right.
So, put your gym shoes on, grab a pop and let’s play some bags.