I made the mistake of venturing out today. So much for the Christmas spirit. All I wanted was a plate of noodles at Zen Zero, the wonderful Asian restaurant downtown. Drunken noodles, to be exact, medium hot with chicken, spicy brown sauce clinging to the wide Asian noodles, red peppers and onions mixed in, poetry on a plate for eight bucks. Of course, that was not to be. You may or may not be happy to know that my curmudgeonly nature is now back in full force.
Downtown was swamped, virtually gridlocked, a sea of cars from horizon to horizon. It quickly became apparent that half of Lawrence lives for today, when cheap wrapping paper and the really ugly Christmas tree ornaments go on sale for half price. They were hip deep on the sidewalks and every parking place within two counties was full and had a second SUV waiting behind it for another shopper to leave.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that downtown Lawrence was no place for a crippled-up old man with a yen for a plate of noodles and an empty gas tank. On a good day, I can walk a block. The parking place nearest to Zen Zero was somewhere in Southern Nebraska. It doesn’t help that the City of Lawrence has not yet figured out that there is more than one handicapped person per block in this town.
Therefore, when downtown is about half-full, all the handicapped spaces are taken. That’s okay, because I don’t generally use them unless that’s all there is available, anyway. But at anything past three-quarters full, the halt and the lame may as well give up on downtown Lawrence. So I came on home and had a cold bowl of Cheerios. That was just effing dandy.
I may try again next week. Or I may not. The downtown merchants seem intent upon serving the healthy among us first, the ones that can park on a side-street and hoof it few blocks to get to the stores. I can’t do that. Nor can I afford the gasoline to go around and around the block waiting for some soccer mom to get her Escalade out of my way. If downtown doesn’t want me any worse than that, maybe I’ll stick with the suburbs. There are more handicapped parking spaces at the Hy-Vee store than there are in all of downtown Lawrence.