Ah, winter in Chicago.... the air is crisp, the scenery gently sugar-coated, and people around the city are losing their minds.
This weekend I saw a guy stuck in a parking space spinning his wheels at easily 40-50 mph. Smoke coming out, the whole deal. I offered to help push, but he cheerfully declined because he felt he had "got it!" OK. Harmless, though.
Couple of blocks later, I see two young couples fighting over a parking space. Men and women, joining together in the Spirit of the Season, to square off over a place to leave their vehicles. Never mind that there were three empty spots maybe a quarter of a block away. It was all about that one.
But one lovely lady tops them all. Heading north on Damen after exiting the Kennedy is always an exercise in patience, due to the extremely awkward triangle of intersections between Damen, Fullerton, and Elston. They seriously should have just made that a 6-way intersection instead of the tightly-grouped trio of crossings that exist today. But they didn't, so what happens today is that you cross Fullerton, then have room for 1-2 cars before the NEXT traffic light to cross Elston.
After inching forward through 3 light changes to get to the front, I saw that though my light was still green to cross Fullerton, the light at Elston some 30 feet ahead had changed to red, and I had zero chance of clearing the intersection (you know... as required by law before choosing to enter it). So I stopped. Everyone behind me stopped, and honked their horns in celebratory manner. The light changed to yellow, then red, within seconds.
Yes, aggravating, but I have a serious pet peeve about these morons who feel that they are entitled to park in the intersection simply because they saw the green light at some point that day. "Screw cross traffic!"
Well, everyone but the woman directly behind me either realized that the extra 10 feet of progress wouldn't really get them anywhere and would actually screw everyone east-west bound, or just gave up. All horns quieted except hers, and then a few seconds later she decided to DELIBERATELY RAM MY CAR. Yes, my 6-month-old somewhat expensive car.
Exercising control that seriously surprised me, I calmly put my car in park and exited the vehicle to go inquire as to her intent. She wanted to know if I realized how long she had been waiting to get through that light. I explained very politely that I did, since I had been directly in front of her the whole time, and had therefore waited just as long. I explained the law about intersections, and the reason for it. I saw she had kids in the car (!!!) and didn't want to scare them, so I maintained an even tone.
Ironic twist here: As we were having our little debate at the red light, an ambulance needed to cross through that exact intersection. AHEM.
I went on to explain that all she did was delay herself further, since I now needed her insurance information. She went into hysterics, and began screaming goodness-knows-what. Her kids start screaming and crying, and she tells me she's not giving me any info. I ask her once more, still politely, and tell her it's illegal for her to leave. She rants on, and starts to try to maneuver around my car.
So, yes... I took a camera phone photo of her license plate, and called 911. The 911 tapes actually have some lovely audio of her following me (after the light changed), and screaming through my window while I was on the hands-free with 911 that she "didn't do anything" before she took off, running a red light in the process. I went to the nearest police station and filled out a report. She will apparently receive a contact from her local law enforcement official and a court date.
...And to all, a good night.