Sunday, September 28, 2003...until you've experienced the phenomenon of the "official block party."
I don't mean the kind where a group of apartment buildings decide to throw a massive keg party on a Friday night, and where the police arrive a few hours later to break up the brawls and traffic snafu's. The kind I mean is the one where city tow trucks come at 9 in the morning to clear both sides of the street of all vehicles - good luck finding your car, if you live a couple of blocks away and weren't "in the loop" - and a fat, bald tow truck operator who looks like a short version of WWF wrestler Steve Austin starts yelling at the folks who peek out their windows and find their Toyotas being dragged off to who-knows-where.
"Hey, you gotta problem with that? Go call the cops. There's gonna be a block party here."
He brooks no argument, and your Toyota disappears around the corner. Contrary to what you may think, it was not my Toyota that got dragged off into the Sunday gloom. We are one of the few fortunate enough to have a private parking space immune from the roving tow crews.
Technically, today's event is called the "Edgewater Safety Fair." Starting at noon, there will be a live band, refreshments, police demonstrations and events designed to help local residents learn how to stay safe on our rambunctious Chicago streets. All I have to do is stick my head out the front window and get the full effect.
I think I'll go shopping at Target™, or something.