Monday, March 10, 2014

No Savsies
With ten years in Philadelphia behind me I think it's fair to say I'm local, so I think it's equally fair to believe there are some Philadelphian institutions that I will never, ever understand, and that lack of understanding can no longer be blamed on my status as a transplant: I'm here, I'm local, and I just don't get it.

I'm not talking about City Hall, SEPTA, the city wage tax, or any of the urban demons that come with every major city from Boston to San Diego. I'm talking about those uniquely Philadelphian quirks, either beloved or tolerated.

Wawa: I don't care for it. Crab Fries: Where's the crab? And saving your parking space with various pieces of furniture: You're overestimating how much I care about the finish on my car because I will gladly park on top of it.

Slash my tires? Sure, but it's not hard to guess who owns the rusted lawn chair or moldy velvet lounge adorning my sidewalk all winter, and I know enough about seasoned Philadelphians to know just how proudly and loudly any one of those spot squatters would brag about slashing the tires on my little gay bug.

So it should be no surprise how thrilled I was with Philadelphia's #NoSavsies campaign this winter, and it came just in time. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not some curmudgeon dodging Philadelphia's pot holes looking for a lawn chair to flatten. If I find myself facing a piece of misplaced patio furniture in Pennsport or Fishtown, I'm not touching it. But in this winter that will never end, the habit has wormed its way into my Center City neighborhood and nearby Callowhill, or at least it's trying.

After one particularly rough hunt for a space I found myself on Ridge Avenue waiting for someone to leave. As the SUV (from NJ mind you) pulled out, the driver stepped out and placed two traffic cones in the public space. The driver watched me, perplexed, as I got out and hurled the cones on the sidewalk, turning back and screaming, "this will not start in my neighborhood!"

Fueled with two months of Winter Madness I made my Seinfeldian statement, got my spot, and walked home in the forty-second day of sub-freezing temperature. With snot-cicles forming around my nose on my six block trek, I kept thinking of the spot I spent two hours shoveling out, directly across from my front door.

This notion that people feel entitled to a quasi-public space because they shoveled it out is ludicrous. They shoveled out because they chose to leave, just like me.

How deluded and self righteous must someone be that they assume there is a fleet of phantom cars hovering in the stratosphere, waiting to steal their spot.

"I dug it out, it's my spot." No, you dug it out, therefore you gave up that spot, and anyone "stealing" your space did the exact same thing.

1 comment:

  1. You can live in Philadelphia as long as you like but unless you grew up in the neighborhoods outside of Center City or somewhere similar outside of the city, you're not really a local. If you were a local, you'd understand our customs and our love for different things.

    I do agree that "savesies" and other aspects of that have NO place in Center City or gentrified neighborhoods but in the rest of Philly... that's how life is and we don't care how you feel about it. It's part of being a proud person who works hard and comes home and takes care of the house and other responsibilities and even gets up in the biting cold to shovel out his or her parking space. If we really cared how placing objects in our space looked, we wouldn't do it.

    As for Wawa... it's decent food and other snacks 24/7 for fairly cheap. It's not that complicated.