Friday, February 17, 2006

2006: "That's Enuff"

I have absolutely no choice really, in fighting the bureaucracy, Daley's Dynasty, the corrupt conglomerate of payoffs and buddy systems. It's my city, not necessarily through birth, rather through acclimation, and inasmuch as I tried to run for five years, chasing pipe dreams to Los Angeles and San Francisco, I'm back and in a "good place" in my life. For all intents and purposes, things are peachy: my mind clear, my body returning to its formerly taught state even after five years of drug and alcohol abuse ( ok, so marijuana's not a drug, but I sure as hell found a way to abuse it as one, disappear into an evanescent puff of a solitary reality). I'm finding myself in a bit of a creative slump, head lost in the clouds and tickets accumulating on the windshield of my not so pimped out ride, about $1200 dollars worth. So I finally manned up and called the city parking hotline to figure out whether or not a grace period existed, giving one time to remedy the violation and avoid a mountain of fines. Sure enough there was: "one hour between violations is legal." "One hour," I responded with an incredulous huff, " you've gotta be fucking kidding me."

How many times must one learn lessons to wake up from a state of lazy acquiescence and face their fears, demons, uncertainties? What level of madness or absolute stupidity does it take? Does falling asleep at the wheel on a rainy winter's morning only to demolish half the suspension of a used luxury car purchased 3 months prior provoke this awakening? How about falling asleep at the wheel less than 2 months later and paying off the "victim" with $200 in fresh twenties, only to drive straight to a body shop and flop over worn plastic to a jovial owner willing to install a new hood for the low, low price of $1200? Possibly the above two scenario's aren't enough to break the guise of insight provided by departing from the here and now into a cold womb of substance induced "bliss." It might take 3 pitchers of beer on a Tuesday evening, celebrating a local team's trouncing through playoff games they were never expected to win, and driving 40 miles home, drifting into adjacent lanes, eyes closing and opening split seconds before smashing head first into concrete overpasses at 75 mph. For some masochists, waking up in the morning after the miracle of having made it to the safe confines of a chi-town loft and into a bed whose view is the entire skyline from the Hancock to the Sears tower still wouldn't fulfill the requisite amount of soul food to break outta the funk. For me, it took all of these and $1200 in parking tickets (nevermind the simple fact that the onslaught of fees started in July of '05 and ended with the purchasing of a city sticker in February). And what do I have to show for it but a few lines in a nonsensical paragraph and a credit card statement that's killing me softly with its visceral torque on the rhythms of a broken heart.

I'm definitely sorry, safe but sorry, alive and AWAKE. And now I must pay the last of my debts to this fabulous metropolis: five hundred more dollars accrued for the simple fact that an officer can write a ticket for a vehicle in violation of city codes every hour, every single hour. That's hardly enough time to remedy the violation, but apparently, for them an hour is long enough to send a message to WAKE UP.

J.C.L., Engineer.In.Training