You can park anywhere….except here, here, or here

It’s day 5 in Chicago, so I figured a post was in order.

First thing, I absolutely love my job.  Theatre people are some of the best people in the world.  (They can also be some of the most annoying people in the world, but everything is new and positive right now.)  I’m really excited about the work I’ll be doing (even though I won’t be getting paid).

More importantly, what I am learning: driving in Chicago is not so hard.  Honestly, I was a little worried about bringing my car to ‘the big city’, but I had to get here somehow!  I convinced myself that driving in the city was going to be hard, but it turns out I’m wrong.

Ok, so I did have a terrifying moment on the expressway when Merry and I first drove into town- I’m pretty sure if I had looked closely Merry’s grip on the door handle would have revealed white knuckles- but other than that I can handle it.  Well, I did get honked at today, but there was no way I was going to make that left turn before the light turned red, so just settle down, lady!!

I can get over a terrified passenger and honk or two, but parking is another story entirely.  There’s some secret code to parking, and I just haven’t gotten it figured out yet.  And there are about a million signs that you are supposed to interpret before you choose a parking spot (if you happen to spot one)!  Some places are only available some of the time, and there are arrows pointing to the areas that are ok right next to the places that aren’t!  It’s very confusing.

And I’ve heard horror stories about how fast you can get a ticket if you park in the wrong place.  I’ve almost convinced myself that someone will be waiting for me to make a mistake and jump out from behind a dumpster, or a fire hydrant, or whatever else might obstruct them from view the minute I park in the wrong spot.  And then the ticket they give me will cost me about $10,000 and I’ll run out of money and I’ll have to move back home and my Chicago dream life will be over.  Of course, I might run out of money anyway, since sometimes you have no choice but to pay for parking.  $1.75 for one hour!!  (And that’s in the cheaper neighborhoods)

Of course, I won’t be driving everywhere.  I took the bus yesterday to get to work.  I was a total bus-riding badass.  It was like I had been taking the bus to work for years.  Except for the fact that the driver had to show me how to put my farecard in the machine, but only the front half of the bus saw that.  That means the back half still thought I was a badass….or they could’ve just been waiting for their morning caffeine to kick in….I couldn’t tell.

I just remembered one more hard thing about driving in Chicago.  Intersections.  Not every intersection, but some.  You see, Chicago is set up like a grid….except for the few random diagonally routed streets.  This may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes you have a six way intersection.  Six roads converging at one point.  SIX ROADS!!  (Technically I guess it’s three roads, but cars from six directions….you get the point.)  Anyway, I’m expected to quickly read the signs and interpret which road I’m supposed to be turning on all before the car behind me grows impatient and honks!!  (Being from Mississippi I’m just not used to the angry honking.  Half the time at home, it just means someone is saying hello to their friend walking on the sidewalk)  So you must decide quickly if you are taking the hard, diagonal right or the normal, perpendicular right.  Usually I just take a guess….and usually I’m wrong.  But that’s why we have google maps on our iphones.  Maybe I should get used to the bus.

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