Thursday, July 31, 2008


I saw a Hummer driving down the sidewalk a few days ago. Yes, I said the sidewalk.

He was driving his giant silver Hummer between a large condo building and the parkway. By necessity, his left wheels were on the parkway, since his behemoth of a vehicle wouldn’t fit on the sidewalk alone. Everyone on this normally dull and quiet residential street stopped and stared. While we all stopped short of rubbing our eyes roughly with our fists, we did exchange looks with each other after he, eventually, made it off the sidewalk, back onto the street and drove away: Did we all really just witness that?

I don’t know why or where he ventured off the road and onto the sidewalk. Perhaps he only transited from the alley, turning right onto the sidewalk instead of the street because he got lost. Or confused? Or he was in a terrible hurry and the street was busy? I think the most likely reason is he thought, “I drive a Hummer and I can drive it wherever the hell I like, because who’s going to argue with me?”

It’s no secret I don’t like Hummers, unless they’re being driven by our troops. It’s the ones I see in the city here that I’d like to see hit by roadside bombs. People who drive Hummers are selfish. They scream, by virtue of their vehicle choice, “I have a lot of money and I don’t give a crap about the environment or anyone else.” Driving your Hummer down the sidewalk in a residential neighborhood absolutely confirms this attitude. I honestly don’t know why I’m so surprised. It seems it was only a matter of time.

So what’s next? Hummer’s driving over other cars in the drive-through lanes at fast-food restaurants? A Hummer driving through Millenium Park to get a better look at the Bean?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the joke, "If you don’t like how I drive, stay off the sidewalk." But it chills me to wonder what would have happened if someone’s child had run out the front door of that condo building Unfortunately, I didn’t have the presence of mind to get his license plate number. I don’t know if anyone else managed it. I sure would have liked to see Mr. Hummer get a ticket, but that sort of justice seemingly only happens in Hollywood. I’m sure the second I tried driving my Camry down the sidewalk, a cop would be right there.

Maybe someone out there who drives a Hummer could explain it all to me—the bravado, this irrational sense of entitlement. Perhaps you would tell me you’re expecting Armageddon any day now, what with the economy and the war and the terrorists and all. You might soon need your bulletproof gas-guzzler to get across town in order to loot the grocery store. But why wouldn’t a regular old gas guzzling SUV do? Because you wouldn’t look so grand driving down the sidewalk? I guess I can’t answer that one—having never seen a Lexus 350 making it’s way through the chalk drawings and Baggo sets of Wolcott Street. Watch out! The new phone books are here! Wouldn’t want to run over the petunias on that front porch stoop. Or would you?

It’s weird and sad and not a little bit crazy, and it just makes me go Hummm.

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