You read that correctly–things almost got out of hand in Chinatown this afternoon…over a parking spot. Chicago’s Chinatown has an abundance of parking–paid lots, metered lots and street parking. But it also always has an abundance of tourists and locals so spots are always hard to come by. Today was particularly rough since there was a street festival going on. A street was closed (which meant less parking opportunities) and the place was abuzz with white people buying samurai swords and downing egg rolls. So I did what people normally do when there’s a shortage of parking–I waited. I lurked at the end of a metered lot, waiting for someone to leave. This is a common practice in Chinatown. Cars line up and as a spot becomes available, the first car in line puts on his turn signal to let everyone know he is through waiting and that is his spot. Stephen and I waited a good 10 minutes before a family came out and took their sweet time getting into their van. I moved up and put on my turn signal. But just then another car came into the lot from the other direction. A guy jumped out of the passenger seat and stood next to the spot in an attempt to prevent me from taking it. When my honking did nothing, Stephen jumped out and started yelling at the guy. “This is Chinatown,” the guy tried to use as his defense. I’m not sure if he meant that as it’s a free-for-all and human decency doesn’t apply, or white girls driving green Beetles shouldn’t get parking spots. Either way, I’m glad I had Stephen with me. After some arguing, the guy finally stepped aside and I pulled into the spot. He continued to stand next to my car as we went to get the pay-and-display slip. I was afraid we’d come back from lunch to find my car had been keyed or covered with bubble tea. Thankfully the little Chinese guy was all talk.
I guess that’s what we get for going to Chinatown two days before going to the real China. I’m not really sure what we were thinking.