Thursday, December 08, 2005

I told you to stop snowing, er, smoking

We are in the midst of a major snowstorm, which normally wouldn't be a big deal except for that plane skidding off the runway into traffic and killing a child. Sad.

So is the city's punitive new 24/7 parking ban on major arteries, which goes into effect whenever there are two inches or more of snow on the ground. For those not in the know, FIVE HUNDRED MILES of streets fall under this ban -- basically it covers the entire city -- and of course I live on one of them.

So I moved my car to a safe spot (which I will have to shovel out tomorrow morning and then relinquish to my lazy neighbors, because I am not willing to mark it with a crappy old chair in the grand old Chicago tradition of calling "dibs" on my "spot"). Then I trudged my ass to class through the snowstorm.

The first thing I saw during my long winter's trek was a young male professional on a mountain bike, riding in the middle lane of my very busy street. He was dressed entirely in black, including the shorts he was wearing. No helmet of course. I saw him blow through a red light. In the dark. In several inches of snow, with more falling so hard it was going sideways. No wonder motorists hate people on bikes.

The second thing I saw was one of my favourite Windy City winter sights: A fat man with a moustache stepped out of his store and haughtily sprinkled a boatload of salt onto several inches of snow on the sidewalk in front. Why shovel, when you can salt?

Not one bus went by during my entire walk. And only one person showed up for class*.

Besides the snow ban the city has a new smoking ban that starts January 16 and goes into full effect in two-and-a-half years. It covers every indoor space except private homes and clubs, tobacco stores and a quarter of the city's hotel rooms.** Even folks caught smoking within 15 feet of a nonsmoking establishment can be fined a C-note, ouch.

But it's still more expensive to get ticketed and towed in the snow.


*This is a class which I am giving up as of tonight, because I'm paid by the head and I've tried for two-and-a-half years to get people to come and still no one does. The one student who came tonight was kind enough to give me a lift afterwards. Talk about going out with a bang.

**Which reminds me. Neck Tattoo, whose host likes to smoke in our lovely, carpeted stairway and stink up everyone else's apartment except his own, has reappeared. I saw him getting out of a car the other night, and he saw me too. I did not look away. He also got an eyeful of Dorian Black, who drives a big old pimpmobile and looks kind of imposing from afar.

I'm also somewhat flipped out about this bit of Mysore entrepreneurialism, which somehow it brings to mind the $3 chai from last spring's SKPJ workshop. If only I'd thought of it first.


  1. Anonymous9:36 AM

    You poor mislead city people, what you have to deal with in a snowstorm is terrible, whatwith saving your parking spots with old chairs and other brickabrack.
    It's really amusing to the rest of us that have huge driveways for many many cars.

    Does having a neck tattoo make you automatically a badd ass, or just a dumb ass for getting one?

  2. Anonymous10:48 AM

    Now this is a real ass-hole bike rider>
    Bike bomber kills seven

    Netrokona - A suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in a crowded Bangladesh street on Thursday, killing seven and wounding at least 45 people.

    Bangladesh authorities have blamed the attack on Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, a banned Islamic group believed to be behind a wave of blasts killing 21 people in the past two weeks.

    Police had safely detonated another bomb found abandoned in a building, moments before the blast in Netrokona, 130km north of Dhaka.

    Among the injured was another bomber, who police said had failed to detonate his explosives.

    A police officer at the scene, Ali Hossain Faquir, said a handwritten leaflet warning police to follow Islamic law and stop protecting "man made" laws had been found near the site.

    Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has expressed shock at the bombing.

    A Bangladesh home ministry spokesperson, Khondakar Monirul Alam, said the attackers had "adopted a new tactic, and targeted innocent people".

    The previous attacks had targeted government buildings.

    A police official said the suspected second bomber was under police guard in a hospital.

    A police bomb expert said the bomb officers had managed to diffuse before the attack was "a small, not powerful bomb", probably used as a decoy to attract people.

    The second bomb, however, was packed with high explosives and iron balls that tore through the crowd.

    Of the 45 injured, nine are policemen.

    About 400 people had gathered in the narrow street, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bomb police had just defused.