How to Chicago: Car Wash

30. Thrive.  Chicago hand car washes, the ones where you pull into a garage and then exit the vehicle and let the bathing begin (the car, not you…..though that would be an interesting concept) flood the landscape. Here’s what I’ve noticed. The one right around the corner run by people of Middle Eastern descent without any cars waiting in line is just as good as the one 6 blocks away run by Latinos with 30 cars in the queue (well, almost). It’s water and soap on metal. Some vacuuming.  You don’t need to wait in line 70 minutes for that. 

One suggestion if you work at said car wash. There is no need to Armor All the brake! Jesus Christ . It’s like stepping on a wet fish when you pull  away. 

How to Drive Chicago: Fender Benders 

29. Drive. You’re inching along in traffic. You’re on the text machine. You get into a fender bender while on the expressway. Use your mirrors to acknowledge each other and then… MOVE YOUR CARS TO THE SHOULDER !!!  Do not, I repeat, do not sit in the center lane waiting for the police to arrive and determine who’s at fault. There is no forensic science in this. Police do not need to see the exact position and location of the cars. You are ruining everyone’s morning by causing a huge back up. People are going to be late for work because of you. They are going to miss their flight because of you. Children will die…because of you. 

Be smart. Use your brain.  And yeah, don’t text while driving blah blah blah. 

How to Drive Chicago: Alleys. 

28. Drive. Chicago is a city of alleys. A great deal of us drive in them daily. To exit an alley and enter the street a car must cross a sidewalk fairly blindly. Do it slowly and cautiously with your head on a swivel. Do not punch your car horn twice and zip on out. It startles oncoming pedestrians and irritates the local homeowners. You may think that you’re doing people on foot a service, but I think it’s lazy.  Hitting the horn is not an excuse to swiftly exit the ally.  Walkers with headphones blaring may not hear it. There’s only 1 prudent way to do this and that’s as slowly as possible. No horn needed. 

We’ve already covered this I guess… car horns are irksome. 

How to Drive Chicago: Merge Guilt

27. Drive. When merging into thick expressway traffic from an on-ramp, pick out a car in front of you that’s trying to do the same thing. Let them do your dirty work for you. Once she’s fought her car into traffic pull in front of her and do the same thing. She just did it so chances are she’ll let you in no problem and you don’t need to deal with all the angry drivers behind you. Let’s call it merge guilt.