“And that is a story that no one can beat
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.”
— Dr. Seuss, 1934
I was cycling down Middle Street this morning and such a strange site did I see.
A traffic jam was building up there before me, so unexpectedly.
What could cause such a thing in little San Pedro, I wonder.
An elephant? A camel or two? A brass band playing like thunder?
Like little Marcos, a fatherly warning crashes upon my head:
“Stop telling such outlandish tales.
Stop turning minnows into whales.”
So, no less strange as it is, I decide to go with the truth instead.
In front of me sit golf carts, motorcycles and bicycles — all very still
Except for horns blaring, (always a thrill …).
I creep forward on my cycle, past one vehicle at a time,
Until by Greenhouse Grocer, I spy the perpetrator of this crime.
A big blue taxi is parked stubbornly, ass end deep into the street
While a white delivery van, unable to pass, is giving up in defeat.
He inched forward, turned sideways and wiggled on back
No way could he squeeze through a space with so little slack.
Stalled Pedranos were shouting, in Kriol, Spanish and English with a lilt
“Move dat, man!” “Get past him quick! Or somebody gonna get kilt!”
Some shouted directions to the van driver, assuring him there was space
Some felt he should scrape the taxi, leave white paint all over the place.
Then somebody noticed the cabbie was just sitting in his seat,
Waiting for the client he was expecting to meet.
Pedranos descended on both sides of his car,
shouting in his face, “What kind of fool you are!”
“Back this thing out, get it out of this space!
What made you think to park like that in the first place?”
The driver was indifferent, not budging from there,
Waiting all too patiently to pick up his fare.
She came loaded with groceries and jumped nimbly into his van.
Only then did he leave, to angry slaps on the sides of his dirty blue tin can.
It was over so quickly, like a flash mob performing an act so fleet.
And to think that I saw a traffic jam and angry mob on Middle Street.
*** *** ***
Profuse apologies to Theodor Geisel