Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Part 9.5: “1060 West Addison…That’s Wrigley Field” – Jake Blues

Part 9.5: “1060 West Addison…That’s Wrigley Field” – Jake Blues

Around 8:15 AM on Wednesday, August 18 I arrived at the Jeep dealership to pick up my 2007 Liberty, which was in the shop being repaired. Inexplicably, the backseat passenger-side window fell into the door the previous Friday afternoon and couldn’t be closed.

A broken car window would be a nuisance for anyone, but for most Chicagoans it’s a huge hassle since so many of us don’t live in homes with attached garages. I live in a vintage courtyard condominium built when Calvin “Cool Cal” Coolidge was president. And unlike most friends back home in Big D who reside in eight-bedroom McMansions with attached four-car garages (and who paid roughly the same price as I did for my two-bedroom condo), I have to park in an uncovered, $30-per month city-lot adjacent to my condo building. In other words, if I don’t address the broken window my car’s interior would be exposed to late-summer rainstorms, neighborhood thugs, mangy raccoons, rabidly aggressive squirrels, and an army of brown spiders that seems to infest my neighborhood each summer. Subsequently, it was more convenient to leave the Jeep at the dealership, which could safely house it for several days until they repaired the window. Or so I thought…

Anyway, I arrived at the dealership in nearby Skokie, paid for my service and casually walked to the parking lot where my car—replete with a shiny new backseat window—awaited me. A few minutes later, while driving south on Edens Expressway toward the Loop I happened to notice a yellow receipt in my cup-holder. Initially, I ignored the yellow slip of paper. However, after a few minutes, while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the so-called “express lanes,” I grabbed the receipt to see if it was something I left in the car or was related to the recent repair work.

As I glanced at the receipt, I noticed several blue circles surrounding smaller red semi-circles. Upon closer inspection I discovered that these were Chicago Cubs logos, and the heading of the receipt read, “Brown Lot.” The next line, in smaller red letters, explained, “VALID THIS DATE ONLY MONDAY, AUG 16, 2010.” Farther down I noticed the “CUBS VS. SAN DIEGO” notation along with the parking lot fee, “$25.93.”

I hadn’t been to a Cubs game since June, and besides I never drive to Wrigley Field since the Red Line L train is so convenient. Only then did it occur to me that the yellow receipt was only two days old.

So let’s consider the facts: I dropped my Jeep off at the dealership in Skokie on Saturday, August 14 and I wasn’t in possession of it again until today, August 18. Thus, somehow a parking pass for a Cubs game played while my Jeep was in the shop mysteriously found its way to my cup-holder.

After cogitating on these simple facts for a couple of minutes I decided that there were only two possible explanations: 1) someone from the Jeep dealership borrowed my 2007 Liberty and drove it to Wrigley Field and watched the Cubs lose to the Padres 9 to 5 (poor Cubbies—they just can’t catch a break); or 2) someone at the dealership endured the ugly defeat at Wrigley then sat in my Jeep, whereby the mysterious yellow receipt fell out of his pocket and landed neatly into my cup-holder.

Of course, as a movie buff living in the Windy City, I immediately thought of Ferris Buehler’s Day Off. As you may recall, near the beginning of the movie Ferris persuades Cameron to let him drive his father’s convertible Ferrari 250 GT California, and the two of them—along with Sloane, Ferris’s girlfriend—drive to downtown Chicago via Lake Shore Drive (LSD) to enjoy teenage high jinks and ballyhoo. (By the way, does anybody really say “high jinks” or “ballyhoo” anymore?) Once downtown, they leave the car at a parking garage and tip the surly attendants $5 to park the car in a safe place. The two parking attendants, who assure Ferris and Cameron that they are “professionals,” take the Ferrari for a clandestine joyride, racking up hundreds of additional miles on the odometer. And, of course, one of the many iconic spots Ferris and his pals visit that day—while the parking attendants cruise LSD, with wind in their hair and huge smiles on their faces—was none other than Wrigley Field.

And since my mind tends to wander rapidly from one movie scene to another (i.e. at least one third of my brain’s hippocampus region is dedicated entirely to movies and TV, especially films and sitcoms from the ‘70s and ‘80s), I am reminded that Elwood Blues falsified his driver’s license and listed 1060 West Addison as his permanent address. Like the Blues Brothers, every good (north side) Chicagoan knows 1060 West Addison is the address of Wrigley Field. Next, my synapses begin firing and I am reminded of a classic Seinfeld episode in which Kramer and George begin parking their cars in an incredibly inexpensive parking garage only to discover—after George finds a used condom in his car—that rates are cheap because prostitutes are using the parked cars to service clients.

I called the dealership and spoke with Lewis—who manages the service department and looks suspiciously like Sebastion Cabot (a.k.a. Mr. French on Family Affair) with an accent reminiscent of the short order cooks at the infamous Billy Goat Tavern (i.e. you will recall the SNL skit: “cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger, no coke…pepsi”)—and he assured me that my Jeep was inside the dealership garage the entire time. Let’s be honest, I never trusted Mr. French with his thick beard and beady eyes, and the way he glared at Mrs. Beasley, Buffy’s doll, gave me the creeps. Mr. French was always a suspicious character, and quite frankly I feel the same way about Lewis. Of course, I can’t disprove Lewis’s claim since I didn’t check the mileage before departing the dealership.

So at least I found a receipt to a Wrigley Field parking lot rather than a used condom. And it’s no like someone took my vintage Ferrari joyriding—it’s a freakin’ Jeep Liberty, after all. And finally, it could be much, much worse—he could have driven my Jeep to a Sox game!

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