March 24, 2007

Life in the Big City, circa July 1995

Monday night. Lakeview.

Female cop crosses a quiet residential street corner, strolls once around a parked beater, flips open her ticket pad, starts scribbling. Pauses only to wave a now-approaching tow truck into position.

Before the truck can reverse, a heavy-set, barefooted woman trudges off the sidewalk and plants herself between the tow and the car, Tiananmen-style. Tow driver lumbers out, barks, "You gotta move." Cop is busy scribbling. Tow driver fishes a cigarette from the pocket of his stained blue shirt and when the barefooted woman asks for a smoke, he hands her one. Even lights it. Then barks again: "You gotta move."

A big guy, wearing a white shirt and dark tie, shuffles onto the scene, walks smack into the hood of the parked tow truck. Briefcase flaps open, sheets of paper cascade onto Paulina. Big guy yells, "You hit me!" Tow driver growls, "I was parked!"

Third guy, a younger guy, almost a kid, hurries down from some apartment building, scrambles into the old beater. Cop presents him with the finished ticket through the driver's side window, explains about not parking on baseball nights.

Big guy restuffs his briefcase, staggers on. Barefooted woman, still smoking, wanders off. Cop climbs up beside tow driver. Kid in the parked car cranks his engine, waits for the tow truck to rattle away down the street, then cuts his motor and runs back upstairs, leaving the car parked right at the corner.


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