Part of the charm of Philadelphia is it’s ability to constantly remind you of the past. The city has snapshots of it’s history scattered like leaves around the city, found on nearly every street, corners, taverns and ice cream shops. There are streets, right in the middle of the city and in areas that have heavy traffic- that still seem perfect for a horse and are shitty for a car. You’d think a modern America city would have changed that by now- that they’d have long found a way to expand these glorified horse paths and make them normal, passable and perfectly acceptable city streets.
But no, the streets are still there. They’re brick, slippery when wet, and just passable in a smaller SUV thanks to the high wheelbase.
The city has some great benchmark events and the Philadelphia Marathon is one of them. Derek is running in it and yes, I warned him about the dangers of losing control of his bowels and/or tripping. I also told him to turn his phone to airplane mode because he’s most definitely the kind of dude who’d respond to a text or an email while running a marathon.
The past couple of years, the marathon only affected me if I was trying to go north of the neighborhood. But last night, with the Honeymooners down at the Shore, I had spent the night in Manayunk. Just a dudes night with The Dugan. Dude kept butt-checking me off the bed. He’s got these big ol’ swaggering hips and he likes his space.
It’s not cute.
This morning I was heading home and quickly found myself re-routed because of the marathon. Looking down though, it looked more like a parade of slow moving fat folks with digital cameras. Philly closes off streets without much advance notice and when doing so- simply close it. They don’t bother to suggest alternate routes. They just wave you along and then you’re on your own.
I found an out after few circles and funky turns and was heading down the hill and down to 76. I was talking to Ma Dukes on the Iphone, which has about a day or two left to prove itself or I’m shipping it out, and passed a cop. Seconds later this cop was all up in my business, saddling up beside the Blazer, partially blocking traffic on an already congested street.
You can’t talk on your phone, she said.
I didn’t know this was a law. I told her this. She said that it went into effect on November 1st.
It was this point that I quickly hung up and tossed the phone onto the passenger seat. The officer was still explaining to me why she should be giving me a ticket. Apparently I started to get frustrated. She asked me to not get frustrated with her.
It’s not with you, I said. I can’t get out of this neighborhood. That’s what I’m frustrated about. I’m over this whole cellphone thing already.
She started giving me directions to 76. Even though I knew how to get out of Manayunk by this point, I was possibly dodging this ticket because I had told her I wasn’t from here. I listened and again tried to explain I wasn’t frustrated or trying to give her attitude. She was twisting her curls with her fingers and traffic was struggling to get by. Four or five vehicles passed with drivers talking on their phones and she didn’t notice. She just kept talking, saying the same words over and over again. November 1st? I watch local news and hadn’t heard anything about this. I remember something about the idea of it a few months ago and it’s illegal in Jersey and most other northeast states. I don’t even care. I really don’t like talking on the phone anyway and it’s just another instance where I have a definitive reason to not do it.
I just wanted to get out of Manayunk. I wanted to take Ridge Ave like I had originally planned and I wanted the taste of coffee out of my mouth. I wanted to watch football and put my laundry away. I didn’t want to drive around in circles and then to be told to not be frustrated when I was kind of frustrated and for some reason, someone telling me to not be frustrated when I am frustrated tends to make me that much more frustrated.
And there wasn’t anything good on the radio.
If it were any other day, I wouldn’t have minded. But with Sundays, you hope for positive steps and good starts to whatever you’re working on. For the most part, things had been all right except for the bad coffee and the thin sports section. Having clean laundry is always great, but it’s all about the exit. You want a clean exit and a good re-entry back into your normal life. I didn’t have that. Ridge was closed.
You can’t talk on your phones while driving, Buzz Bissinger is blaming the lost of the big regatta on Nutter, and I wish rehearsal was at 8 tonight instead of 7 so I could watch the whole Pats game.
But kudos to Philly. They’re going to make you figure things out on your own. A Midwestern city or New England town would provide you with a detour. Even New York City has detours and arrows. Not Philadelphia, though. No way, dude. Just a closed street and officer waving you on. Anything else? Well not today and probably not tomorrow.
Now pay attention. There’s a huge pot hole in the road and it’s likely to rampage your under carriage, brah.