"If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Every winter in Chicago tends to build an accumulation of snow. It can get several feet deep.

I grew up in a suburb south of Chicago. Side streets were always plowed. It was not something that even crossed my mind. I took it for granted.

Until I moved to the city.

King Mayor Richard Daley II, a rotund, intellectually challenged monarch who flunked the bar exam on more than one occasion and is overdue for his coronation, has never bothered to have Streets and Sanitation clear the side streets of snow. Not ever except once every few years. That is, except in elite and special neighborhoods like his own Bridgeport.

As the winter progresses, snow falls. Looks pretty. Then it gets grey and dirty. The ruts get deeper and deeper. Driving is downright dangerous. Then it ices over.

Then comes the fun part. As people dig their way out of a parking spot they somehow believe that they own it. They hoard it! They won't share. Yup, they own the street.

Never mind that everyone has to dig their way out.

So residents reserve their own parking space.

When they drive anywhere, they pull out of their "space" and put a useless or deemed no longer useful piece of trash to hold their "spot". They place tricycles, old ratty cardboard boxes, broken chairs, empty laundry bottles- you name it, they use it!

Dibs 5.png

The threat is implied.

"If you mess with my 'space', I will slash your tires!"

Now most people will not slash your tires. At least, I hope not. But you really do not know who you are dealing with. So you conform.

The Mayor's thoughtful reaction "Everyone does it." Ah, duh!


I'd resist. I'd drive around for an hour looking for a spot as I was too stubborn to proclaim that snow I pulled out of as mine. It was the principle of the thing!


Ah, it usually does not this look nice but I liked the photo.

The most infuriating aspect being that there was actually plenty of parking. People worked different shifts. There was no need for this lunacy and frustration!

Sometimes I'd park at an enclosed hospital lot about two blocks from my house. That was brilliant and well worth the $3. I would not have to clean off some 8 inches of snow from my windshield. Some of the best money I ever spent.

Then their was Gunther. Gunther was the landlady's gopher. Mrs. Hildegarde Spleidermeyer (name somewhat modified to protect the witch; she must have been related to Reichsf├╝hrer Himmler).

Gunther came by pounding on my door, one day all excited, babbling something about how I parked in the landlady's, Mrs. Spleidermeyer's, "spot".

I did not know what he was talking about!

I never parked in anyone's "spot". I did not dare. Where I had parked was full of snow, had no empty container and wait a minute...

"Wait a minute! Mrs. Spleidermeyer does not even drive! Why does she need a parking space?"

White-haired, heavily spectacled, sharp-nosed 76 year old Mrs. Spleidermeyer, built compact like a brick sh*thouse, relied on other people to chauffeur her around. Cheap, nosey and obnoxious, she always turned OFF the heat at 10 pm when she went to sleep. I do not know how many times I called the city on her. They came out to check only in the day when she had the heat cranked up so high, I'd have to open up the windows in sub-zero temperatures. Later I would have my coat and hat on.

Anyway, Gunther was furious.

"Mrs. Spleidermeyer needs the space in case she has company!"

He started threatening me. I told him that Mrs. Spleidermeyer did not own the street and I was going to call the Police as "dibs" is downright illegal.

He left. My tires were fine. Wimp.
My dream was to rent a dump truck, outfit some guy with a machine gun to ride on the back and drive up and down the street collecting the tricycles, broken chairs, bust cardboard boxes, baby dolls.
One early, bitterly frigid Saturday night/morn I came back home and looked for a parking spot. I drove around for about 35 minutes. I was furious but I noticed no one was around. Ah huh! Now's my chance! A dream brought to fruition.

So I drove around and around the block (which was three blocks long or so) and got in and out of my car and started throwing the containers, the tricycles, the broken chairs right back into the snow! I laughed with glee! One of the best times I have ever had. The simple pleasures of life in cosmopolitan Chicago.

No, I parked in the lot that morning. I should have rented a video camera for reactions the next day! I never got caught! ;o) HA!

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