The characters working at the nearest Cook County Jewel are more clearly defined to the eye — that is, when compared to the characters working at the nearest Lake County Jewel. There's something more cramped and haggard about that nearest Cook County Jewel, something less ordered and more spontaneous in the arrangement of things and people.

In Lake County, while the selection is more diverse and abundant, the character is more homogenized and punctilious; and while the produce is fresher, the spirit is weaker.

At the Cook County Jewel, I feel more at-home or more at-ease. In the parking lot, my car blends-in better. But somehow I find myself more frequently lodged between the Escalades and the Navigators parked before that Lake County Jewel; where I find myself wearing my heavy suede coat — the one you can't sneeze on without ruining its velvety nap. It keeps me warm, it doesn't weigh down my shoulders, it looks and feels expensive, it matches my hair and it matches my eyes; it sticks out like the forefinger and the sore thumb pinched against that silver-spoon I've got jammed into my mouth. At the same time, that heavy suede coat, I love it and I hate it.

At the Cook County Jewel, I'll blend-in, but only if I'm cloaked in my ruined leather jacket. It used to be black but rain and snow and possibly poor manufacture caused its dye to run; and rain and snow and possibly poor manufacture has stained it almost muddy-green. For all its cracks and flakes, go ahead and blame Time, too. It weighs heavy on my shoulders and if I wear it too long it gives me a neckache and a headache. But in all the other ways that matter, for me, my ruined leather jacket, it feels the most fitting.

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