Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ain't no tourist no mo!

Well, I feel as though I am officially no longer a tourist. That's right, last night after my Mom and Dad left, Rach and I drove up to the city. We drove right past the Cockaigne of gluttony and crowds of people and enormous flocks of birds shoveling bits of fried food into their faces and beaks at taste of Chicago, and straight on to the north side of the city. We decided to pick up a Chicago Moleskine. I've been wanting one for a while, but we have to be super uber careful when it comes to purchases. So we have been fretting and debating whether or not we should spend the frivolous $15.00 to buy the Moleskine. Finally, irresponsible frugality-be-damned won over, and we drove out to get one.

Artist's rendering of a Chicago Moleskine

We parked at the front of a line of parked cars, fed the meter, and walked down the street to the store. The store was sooper cool. It's called P.O.S.H. and it's just a really great little store. I'm not one for lingering around a store and looking at stuff, but I enjoyed browsing the few shelves there were in here. While we were there, Rach stumbled across a mug for $8.00. We decided since we were throwing our budget out the window, we'd go ahead and spend an extra $8.00. So, we bought the mug.

Artist's rendering of Rachel's new mug killing a bug... uh, near a rug?

We wandered around the store a little more, dillydallying for Lord-knows-why, looking at all the things in the store. We left, and went for a very short walk down State Street, and decided to head back to our car.

On the way back to our car we saw a city biker's Cockaigne. A crowd of bikers were doing what they call a critical mass. (Basically, loads of people crowd the streets on their bicycles effectively shutting the streets down. No traffic can drive while so many people ride their bicycles down the street.) We watched, stunned, for a solid two minutes, while bikes and bikes and bikes rode past. Then, we turned the corner for our car.

Much to my surprise, and elderly Polish man came out and started yelling for me. I turned around and he said "I'm sorry. Me no English, only Polish." I said "That's ok." He pointed to where our car was and said "Towing."

Yes. He said "Towing."

Turns out, our parkingspot was a Parking Cop's Cockaigne. The seven or eight cars that were parked on the street were all illegally parked and the Chicago Transit Authority, or whatever hegemon it is that decides to tow vehicles, took fault with our car, and only our car. None of the other vehicles were ticketed, and mine was the only one towed. As if to add insult to injury, there was still 20 minutes on the meter.

Artist's rendering of the City Transportation Hegemon towing our car.

So, Rach went to Starbucks and I went into Fed Ex Kinkos to see if we could find the number for the city pound. The girl I spoke with was ultra nice, and got me the number from the city's website. I dialed and went into the Starbucks where Rach was on the phone. Then, I became homocidally angry when the city pound's phone message spoke only spanish. Rachel calmly spoke to some other woman while I, in an uncontrolled rage, went into the street and tried unsuccessfully to murder forty-five parking meters while thousands of bicycles continued to stream by.

We finally got the address, and walked fifteen blocks to the city pound (located conveniently underneath two overpasses and next to a huge hole in the earth where a sky scaper used to be) to get our car.

So, now I am the proud owner of a $270.00 Moleskine. And I have a court date on Tuesday. We aren't tourists anymore.


Tim & Deane said...

I want to come back to Chicago. I miss you all. And I miss that dog that says yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Anonymous said...

oh man Josh! That sucks!! sorry you had such an ordeal getting a moleskine! I saw one of those bike things (critical mass? why do they call it that?) in Seattle this weekend. It was insane. I saw two bikers hit by cars, and another by a bus. And a shirtless lady. and a man threaten to kill another. It was scary. Hope Chicago's was a little more tame!

Joshua said...

@ Mom: I can mail that dog to you if you want. I can even pack it in a little dog coffin for you.

@ Alex: They call it Critical Mass because they try to build up enough bikes so that they cannot ride in single file. The law says that bikes cannot obstruct traffic unless there are so many bikes that failure to obstruct traffic proves dangerous to the bikers. So, they try to get as many people as they can. When we stumbled on it, there was a steady stream of bikers, and they kept riding past us for about 20 minutes. (No exaggeration.) The whole thing seemed really tame and peaceful. Chicago seemed to expect it and just let it go. Apparently they do it every final Friday of the month. I think Rach and I may go next time.