Call me naïve, but I get out when it snows and judiciously clean the sidewalks bordering my house. I’ve done so for over thirty years and always thought that if I didn’t clean them I might get tagged because there’s a city ordinance on the books that sidewalks have to be cleaned within 24 hours of a snowfall.
Funny how ordinance guilt works on me, but as far as I know, not for a good many people as the ordinance has never (by my recollection), ever been enforced.
So I clean the sidewalks and accept thanks from those who walk to work, to the grocery store or with their children to school.
Then the Public Works plow drivers hove into sight and plow everything from the street up onto the sidewalk along one side of my house. I get out and two hours later have the sidewalk cleared again.
No sooner is that done than a trio of plow driver’s return to strip every last inch of snow off the street and onto my sidewalk. Now I’m angry. Make that pissed off, very pissed off.
Two more hours of back breaking shoveling again clears the sidewalk. And with every shovel full my anger increases and a question comes to mind: why does Public Works discriminate against those who: a) have to walk to work or school; b) choose to walk around town; or, c) like my wheelchair-bound neighbor, absolutely need clear walkways by continuing to block sidewalks and prohibit a, b and c from getting around?
In doing so, Public Works forces pedestrians into bike lanes or makes them trudge through banks of snow. Why? Because Public Works sole emphasis appears to be on clearing streets for motor vehicles. It’s as if the attitude at the City and Public Works is screw pedestrians, they don’t have a place in our plans or in our community.
And that in and of itself is discrimination saying that if you don’t drive, you don’t count. Now my friends tell me that I’m tilting at windmills. That by standing in the bike lane in the street along one side of house waving a shovel and making it so the plows don’t put any more snow on my sidewalks that I am nuts, or worse courting disaster.
Of course, the plow drivers got their revenge for my small display of revolt coming back and making sure they plowed every scintilla of snow from the street onto my sidewalk. I got so paranoid about their assaults that I envisioned them running their plows up into my yard and demolishing my car, garden and trees.
And when one of the plow drivers had an encounter between his blade and a mailbox stand down the street, it made me wonder when are they going to really do significant damage and cost the city a lot of money by way of lawsuits and subsequent damages.
I know it’s a fight I’ll never win but I’ve devised two plans of attack. One is the Royko option; the other is the MMA option.
The Royko option is named for the late Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko. It was Royko who came up with a novel plan to get back at all the people who came from the suburbs to downtown Chicago for a Bears or Cubs game and after drinking a lot of beer at the game, relieved themselves between cars in the public parking garages.
Royko suggested Chicagoans follow some of the suspects out to their suburban homes and urinate on their lawns by way of payback.
In my version of the Royko plan, I load up my pickup with snow and dump the contents in the driveways of Public Works officials.
OK, so that’s not a good idea. My other one is to stage a MMA cage match between myself and the director of Public Works. If I win, he has to clean my sidewalks after every snowstorm for one year. If I lose, I have to run for a City Council position and if elected start a probe of Public Works and its plowing policy.
Gotta say, even though I’ll spot my opponent in this proposed match is probably 30 years younger than me, I suspect I’ll be the winner due to the amount of muscle mass I’ve been building up moving tons of snow this week.
Also, I got a dog in this fight.