note: this post has the potential to offend those of you who are strongly religious or park in other people's neighborhoods when you go to church. you've been warned.
part of what attracted me to the apartment i have been residing in since april was the ease of parking on my street and the surrounding side streets. sure, i've come home late and had to park a block down or around the corner (gasp!) from my apartment from time to time, but 99% of the time i come home from work and park right by my building. so imagine my frustration when i came home monday evening after a trip to the grocery store with 5 heavy bags and realized that there was NOWHERE to park on my block, the blocks north and south of me or the surrounding side streets. i circled and circled thinking i had accidentally driven into the twilight zone or some weird bermuda triangle where there is no parking. and then i realized that the church on the corner was having some sort of praise jesus prayer session or something because people were streaming in and out, pulling up to drop people off in front and double parking in the area around the church. i saw people actually driving backward down the street looking for parking. bizarre and unnecessary, but whatever. the more i circled, the more people i saw who had come from other neighborhoods and places and had taken up MY parking on MY street. ok, so i don't own the street or a specific parking space, but i didn't like the thought of having to park 6 blocks away and heave groceries and work bags down the street while these people infringed on what i feel is my right as a resident in this neighborhood. luckily, someone must have ditched out early and i stalked them to their car so i could take their space around the corner from my building. grumbling and annoyed i yanked my bags out of the car and headed inside.
tuesday. came home from work after a terrible day at the office and after sitting in the parking lot that is the kennedy expressway to find the same situation. wtf? this was going on AGAIN?! it's not like it was vacay bible school or something, either. you could hear some serious "Praise JESUS!" and "Amen brother!!" and "THIS IS THE WILL OF THE LA-ORD!" going on. whatever. again, parking was a nightmare and again, i had to drive around and stalk someone for their spot. ugh.
wednesday. surely to allah this jesus-fest was over, right? nope. got home again last night after stopping to buy a couple bottles of wine only to find the same parking cluster fuck. yeah, that's right. it's really the only way i can adequately describe it, so pardon my language. i drove around and around and around and finally i screamed. a long, piercing, angry scream. and like moses with the red sea, i turned the corner and the cars had parted and opened a space for me. i hadn't seen it there on my previous 20 laps but there it was in all it's empty glory. so i snagged it.
thursday. i worked from home this morning and then left around 10:30 to catch the train downtown for a meeting. i walked out of my building and was very surprised by the amount of cars parked on the street. normally when i leave later in the morning the street has tons of open space, sometimes to the point that i start to panic and think i forgot to move my car for street cleaning or something. not today. today every single space on my street and the surrounding ones was jam packed. and then i realized. the bible thumping that was going on the last three evenings wasn't just a night time event, it was ALL DAY, ALL EVENING. holy christ on a stick. something in me snapped. i don't know why, but seeing all of those cars lining the streets and then seeing a mother with her 2 little kids and mounds of groceries and shopping bags come straggling down the street to their house from where they parked blocks away with the kids crying and the mother looking haggard and sweaty, i just wanted to march up to that church and demand to see the man in charge. yes, i know jesus himself was not going to materialize - i mean the pastor/reverend/whatever who was preaching up a storm inide. and i wanted to say, "what would jesus do? tell me please. because i think he would take the train that drops off just around the corner or maybe the bus that drops off a couple of blocks away or perhaps a taxi that could pull up right in front. minimally he'd at least carpool with other people! jesus would not want your people taking up all of the space in MY hood and imposing on the residents here. he would tell your parishoners that parking is limited and they should only drive and park in OUR spaces for 8-12 hours each day if absolutely necessary. or maybe you should use the big church bus that has "JESUS SAVES" plastered all over it to go pick people up! that, my friend, is what jesus would do."
of course, they'd probably just think i was possessed or something and try to save me, but at least i'd get to vent. it may seem silly to some but those who live here know what a commodity free street parking is here and i don't like anyone, not even those doing it in the name of the G-O-D, taking that away from me.
luckily, as i was walking back home from the train today i noticed people hauling boxes of stuff out of the church and packing cars. and i finally saw a promotional poster for the event that stated today was the last day. i wanted to do a dance or break into a cheer. i didn't, of course - it was just too hot and humid for that. and just as i was thinking about how nice it will be to go back to easy breezy parking, i noticed the big orange signs tacked up everywhere announcing street cleaning and the corresponding parking restrictions for next week. now i really know what jesus would do - compel the city of chicago to punish me and my rants with street cleaning and give me parking nightmares for another week. well played, big J, well played.