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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

The Express Lane

I drove to Chicago TWICE last month for three hearings on my late father’s loss of leg due to nursing home neglect lawsuit. Each six hour round trip is too much for this old lady, and two trips that are only one week apart are extremely difficult and unpleasant. I would like to be able to put an end to it before it puts an end to me.

I was late to my first hearing because I could not make it up the escalator with my new wheeled walker, then I was misdirected to the service elevator in the underground loading dock where I was retrieved, reprimanded, then apologized to by security and rerouted to the public elevators. I wheeled around in the concourse from parking into the basement under The Richard J. Daley Center complex for twenty-five sweating, heart-pounding minutes of confusion. Handicapped access is definitely not the express lane.

My new wheeled walker worked very well though. When I finally emerged from the basement elevator, complaining softly to myself that my walker was too bulky and that I felt as if I was in everyone's way wherever I went, a dignified lady (perhaps a judge) volunteered that I looked “sophisticated” wheeling my briefcase and files on my walker. It was such a kind and comforting comment.

I noticed with gratitude that people are more helpful to me with the walker in front of me than when I used a cane and dragged that heavy cart of case files behind me. Curious.

Problematic for me is that my handicap placard prominently displayed and the wheeled walker filling the backseat of my car did not stop the new underground parking valet at Block 37 Parking from unpleasantly yelling at me that the parking lot was full. He persisted in yelling at me even though I tried to tell him that previous attendants would park me in handicap parking even when the lot was full. I noticed that he alternated between being loudly, publicly mean to me and exaggeratedly nice to others, for example, saying “And do I hear a cute Jamaican accent, ma’am?” to one and then “You should not be here.” to me. This is a significant issue for me, as this is the closest parking and the only one I know of that has an underground concourse to the Daley Center. Parking in Block 37 already requires me to walk several blocks of concourse next to the subway and then several blocks of walking in the Daley Center, meaning that I start each hearing after hiking half a dozen blocks. This is an impossible situation that looks like it is getting worse. Discrimination at the Daley Center complex is nothing new, this just impacts me more. (The next week I found the manager of Block37 underground parking and had a long chat with him, during which he not only assured me that I would have no future problems parking there, but he spent about half an hour listening to me and comforting me. It has been my life experience that many men of color are kind and caring, this gentleman certainly was toward me.)

Apparently I did not get the memo, as they say. To assure myself of a parking spot I set up an online account with SpotHero. I paid $18.70 online to reserve a parking spot all day, quite a savings.

Note: says, “We take the Hero in our name seriously, and we go the extra mile to make sure our drivers have an experience we're proud of.” “Our Customer Heroes are here to guide you.” Hummm, it sounded too good to be true, but in later dealings with SpotHero I found them to be kind and helpful.

For the record, current parking rates at Block 37 are:

20 mins or less $11.00

21-30 mins $23.00

31-60 mins $31.00

61-90 mins $33.00

91-180 mins $36.00

181 mins -12 hrs $40.00

12-24 hrs $44.00

Caption: Barack Hussein Obama Presidential Expressway

sign photographed by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018

(located at mile 202 of Interstate 55, northbound toward Joliet)

Caption: Block 37 Parking, 127 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL—Valet/Self Park Garage

image internet sourced

Caption: Annmarie Throckmorton after hearings

at the Daley Center in Chicago, Ilinois on 10-30-18.

Caption: Annmarie Throckmorton fatigued by hearings

at the Daley Center in Chicago, Illinois on 10-30-18 ─ close-up.

Caption: Richard J. Daley Center parking underground at Block37 is frightening in 2018.

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