I was on my way to Northern Liberties, a neighborhood just north of old Philadelphia, when I got involved in some classic Philly driving.
Let me set the scene. I was headed north on 7th Stree, behind an enormous maroon Durango, one of those SUVs that are so big they look like some kind of prehistoric cow made of metal, the kind that’s so wide they almost take up a lane and a half.
I don’t know why people buy these things for city use. The cost of filling up the tank must be a fortune, and you can never get the vehicle up to speed simply due to the characteristics of urban driving. But there he was in front of me, leaving just enough room for traffic in the right lane to squeak by. We were at a stoplight just before passing under the entrace to I-95 when I heard the distinct shriek of a police siren, and saw the lights in my rearview. It must have been a real emergency, because that car was making a TON of noise.
So, like all the other drivers, I pulled over to the side to let the cop get by. Well, like ALMOST all the other drivers. The SUV didn’t move at all. It just sat there. The cop blared on his horn, flashed his lights, but nothing. Finally, I leaned on MY horn, and the driver’s head popped up. Realizing he was blocking the cop, he FINALLY pulled off to the left. The cop hit the gas and sped by.
As we continued up 7th, two more cop cars shot by, lights and sirens in full display, followed by ANOTHER car. Big times up the street to be sure, and as we crossed Spring Garden Street, the cops had amassed at the Edgar Allen Poe housing project. [and may I add here that, historical figure or not, the name “Edgar Allen Poe” conjures up images of horror and murder, why would you name a housing project after that?]
One car had blocked access to the cross street, Brown. Cops were heading north on foot, into the project. A federal homeland security van pulled up alongside us and parked. Meanwhile, a policeman was waving the line of traffic through.
Unfortunately, the maroon SUV had other ideas. Instead of moving along, the SUV just sat there taking up a lane and a half. People started honking, but the driver wouldn’t budge. There was no way to get around him without damaging the federal van.
But finally, very very sloooooowly, the SUV moved to the left, just enough so the rest of us could go on our way. He pulled up onto the curb, his ass-end blocking the cross-street like he was an unofficial deputy.
As I passed the behemoth, I saw that the driver and his wife were staring out the window, watching the activity up the street with their jaws dropped. Yes my friends, they had decided that traffic be damned, here was an actual crime investigation taking place, for once it wasn’t on the teevee, and by gum, they were gonna watch the fun.
I hate Philly drivers.