The deja vu of Chicago’s tree-lined streets

I had an appointment after work, so instead of getting off at my usual L stop and walking down the tree-lined street that leads to my house, I got off at a different L stop and walked down a different tree-lined street. Chicago has a lot of tree-lined residential streets. Many of them look quite similar.

After walking a couple of blocks I suddenly became disoriented to the point of mild panic. It took me a few seconds to realize what was wrong: For a moment I had forgotten that I wasn’t walking home and became disturbed when what I presumed to be my street didn’t look like my street.

Chicago tree-lined street
This is not the street I live on…or is it?

I quickly recovered and went on my way, but what had I just experienced? It was over quickly, but for a few seconds I was overwhelmed. Is that deja vu?

Webster’s dictionary defines deja vu as “the feeling that you have already experienced something that is actually happening for the first time.” That’s not quite what I felt though. Mine was more a feeling that something unfamiliar was actually something familiar then being disoriented by the fact it’s actually different. What’s that called?



Chicago’s tree-lined streets are lovely, but they can be uncanny. Try not to get lost.

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UPDATE: Michael at Mysteries of Life suggested that I edit this so it would be more than 300 words, so I added this. Ha!

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