Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valet Parking Available?

Don't Even Think About It!

My son and his family live in Chicago, and we get to visit with some frequency owing to the fact that it's a short drive and/or that another son works for an airline and we can fly virtually free any time we want to. We are constantly being bombarded with the "you should move here to be closer to us" comment. Granted, Green Bay is not exactly a hub of excitement in the upper Midwest (though I will take our football team over that one in Chicago), but the concerts, the restaurants, the clubs and the Magnificent Mile are all really cool things to do and see. Millennium Park provides a wonderful afternoon, splashing in the water with the grandchild (or by myself), and I have yet to find a hot dog that I like better...even Nathan's in Yankee Stadium was not as good as the red hot I had at Hot Doug's, complete with duck fat could only be better if it were bacon! But there is a factor that reminds me every time I visit that I would not live there on a bet: parking.
Mind you, I'm not talking about living in the suburbs...I'm talking about living in the city where nobody has a garage. One can either rent a space out back for $10,000/yr. or park it on the street, subject to birds and dings from both the front and back as people squeeze into street-side parking (or, as my daughter-in-law says"Bump, bump, bump. That's how we do it here.") There is not a pristine bumper anywhere in Chicago, I swear. And, of course, there's street cleaning day when everyone has to find another place to park: never an easy task at best. I have driven around the five-block area surrounding his domicile for more than 20 minutes on a Friday night just praying for a parking spot to be open: bump, bump, indeed. Oh, and did I mention that one has to pay almost a thousand dollars for the privilege of parking on the street? But when it snows heavily, it's even worse, if that's possible.
Since the streets are so narrow, snowplows are an impossibility. Front-end loaders simply go down the middle of the street and clear a path...leaving cars at the curb imbedded in a snowdrift up the the windows, and even higher if the wind is blowing. So, it's time to shovel the car out. Hours of labor expended only to have somebody pull in just as you leave? Not in Chicago, as a rule. The tradition of "Dibs" is practiced: Having dug out the car, drivers are allowed to place a chair, safety cones or crates in the spot, claiming it for themselves upon their return. Having thus called "Dibs" is supposed to be on the honor system, but just last week after a big storm, my son dug his car out, placed the requisite chair in the spot, then drove away only to find that upon his return, not only had someone parked in his shoveled-out spot, they had stolen his chair! Imagine the thoughts that would run through your head at that moment.
I'm glad it did not happen to me.
I'm glad I live here...for the parking, at least. I've got Dibs anywhere I want.


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