It’s not officially winter in Chicago until we have a snowstorm near or during rush hour. Driving home was an incredible joy, especially the part where I stupidly attempted a U-turn and almost ended up in the ditch next to Bennigan’s. Assuming I wasn’t dead or severely injured, I would have eaten before I called a tow truck.
I’ll explain why I made this stupid U-turn. Higgins Road is that northwest-southeast street running across most of the image. Route 53 runs north-south and connects I-90 to the 290 extension (which loops around and reconnects with 90 downtown). Notice Higgins has three full lanes. And each expressway entrance has two turn lanes. I’m not sure when this satellite photo was taken, but since, that intersection the Bennigan’s has had lanes painted across the intersection, because everybody knows it’s a total clusterfuck. Imagine, if you will, a group of assholes who simply can’t wait through all that traffic that accumulates in the right or left lanes in Higgins before the turn lanes form. They get into the middle lane, then try to cut up and over. Ninety percent of the time, it works, because the people in the right and left lanes are equally stupid; they just drive more slowly.
And then there’s me, knowing these tricks, knowing the center lane is the only game in town, because I don’t want to get on the fucking expressway; I want to stay on Higgins.
Then a snowstorm hits. And the people who cut up and over actually think this strategy will work during a snowstorm, when traffic isn’t really moving on the expressway at all. What, do they think every car in the right lane stalled? Do they think maybe some sort of magic teleportation device will make it magically reappear on the expressway, ahead of all the stopped cars? These people are the reason the expressway gets backed up to begin with. (Admittedly, I drive like a total asshole, but at least I’m a conscientious asshole…most of the time.)
So yeah, rather than two lanes of traffic moving at a crawl, plus the pretty-much-stopped expressway entrances, and one center lane kinda-sorta moving…no traffic was moving at all past the Bennigan’s. Because the assholes were trying to cut ahead anyway, so there were five or six cars just sitting there, doing nothing, with turn signals on, waiting for the other lanes to move enough so they could squeeze in. What a bunch of fuck-ups.
So I turned around and went a different way, and my boiling rage gave way to the mild amusement I always have when driving in a storm—snow or rain—when the assholes who drive the giant, four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicles drive like the biggest pussies on earth.
It typically takes me 20 minutes to get home; today it took more than twice that. Good times.