Thursday, February 05, 2009

Gold Coast Trash

I pulled up behind this experiment in socio-economic human squalor (pictured) the other morning near the intersection of Goethe and LaSalle in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. I couldn't tell if an actual person was buried beneath all the trash inside or if the vehicle was just being used as an alternative composte bin by an eccentric limestone entried resident. But then again, I didn't get that close.

I looked up and down the sidewalk to see if I could match a house or condominium with the vehicle. Nothing meshed. Little if anything in this particular area sells for less than a million dollars even in the worst of real estate markets. Rents hover above $3,000 per month as well. Heck, even garbage pick-up (referred to as 'scavenger service' here in Chicago, can run a couple bills per week for a medium sized condo association). Still, that's no reason to live in it, I thought to myself....

Then I recalled a time in my own life, in a world far far away and long long ago, when my car was too, my castle for a brief period of time. I was in between room mates in college at the time or more accurately, between NDSL student loan distributions. My only credit card was Sears--good for plaid shirts, beef jerky from the Camping Department, and tires, but not much else. Oh, I did have an ATM card too, with a balance of $7.00, but I'll be damned if they ever let me withdraw it whenever I tried to use the machine bolted to the outside Bank wall.

I smugly referred to my roving address during this stint as 1972 Riviera, Slippery Rock, PA. Zip Code...depends. But unlike my slovenly subject pictured above, I made it a point to at least park behind the coin-operated car wash on the edge of town at night so I was always close to a trash bin, slightly running water, and the occasional discarded 'New Car Smell' thingy jiggy you hang from the rear view mirror. After all, Cleanliness is next to Godliness, even in a declining housing market.

Geno Petro

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