Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This is Important!

I anticipate making the tigh tright hand turn off of 79th Street at Sangamon into the tight cul de sac pavement that aprons the Leo High School staff and Alumni parking lot. I anticipate up a storm. I can see the chimney of Leo High School before I even get to Damen Ave. and it dominates the eastern skies of the Gresham neighborhood, suggesting welcome, safety, brotherhood and opportunity.  To arrive at that Holy Have requires grit, fore-thought and eyes on the mirrors.

I try to keep my eyes in rear view mirrors, especially to my immediate right. 79th Street is a truck path between the Dan Ryan Expressway and the freight and rail yards that begin west of Western Ave. and continue to trucking and warehouse village of Hopkins in Archer Ave – Rt 171. 

Not only is there a legion of cars, SUVs, vans and hillbilly Cadillacs of all shapes, sizes and wheel fixture, but forty-foot tractor trailers and utility vehicles of monstrous size and intimidation insinuating their collective will upon my lightly armored vehicle and filo pastry thin heart.

The turn, as I said is tight, tighter than the pockets on a fat man’s pants, because 79th Street is a wholly theoretical two lane street with bus and turning lane –east bound and west bound.   I longer take Vincennes to Halsted to 79th Street, avoiding a disasterous left hand turn at Sangamon altogether.

Like the theoretical crossing lanes at each intersection, two lane traffic, with right lane observances to ordinance and good manners, have become an urban venial sin – noted, but largely ignored. Most citizen-workers modestly follow the lane and speed limit; nevertheless, there are Byronic types for whom no law or ordinance stays they need for speed and avoiding the sight of tail-lights –universal.

Since 1995, I have been singularly fortunate to avoid collision on this thorough-fare. At Morgan I merge at at peril - courage helps an undoomed man. Others not so fortunate.  I have witnesses duels between motorists with the lane sober driver speeding up with the corsair driving with no plates. Several times, to my delight, the existentialist got crushed into a parked City vehicle. There are no bicycle enthusiast peddling 79th Street – odd that. Why enter a lion's cage wearing a pork-chop suit?

In response to all of this haste-makes-delays driving and drivers, I have but two words –

“Trombone Shorty!”

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