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Published: Tuesday, 4/3/2007

Let's order a giant helping of pie in the sky


Girl leaves town for a little vacation and misses all kinds of hot new happenings ...

Spent most of yesterday morning trying to catch up, going through back issues of last week's missed news.

Good thing, too: By the time the lunch hour rolled around, I knew just where to go for sustenance.

Drove downtown. Parked close to the Martin Luther King Bridge.

Strolled to the (finally!) open (well, sorta) bridge. Walked up to the first guy I saw hanging around the bridge's Summit Street base and politely put in my request.

"Table for one, please."

Not that I could actually see any little bistro tables or caf umbrellas off in the distance toward the east side, but still. I'd read that story from last week, the one with the headline that read:

"King bridge work delayed again."

Pssst. Let me just go off-topic long enough to fill you in on a little secret, to wit: At this point in bridge repair history, that headline is THE default headline on ALL Blade stories about the MLK Bridge.

Only two things set this ever-growing series of stories apart: differing dates, differing subheadlines. In this case, the subhead said:

"Finkbeiner suggests idled lanes could sport cafe tables."

And so it was that I found

myself trying to nab a bridge table at lunchtime during yesterday's gloriously spring-like afternoon.

But gee, how was I supposed to know that when I asked for

a table, I was addressing a homeless person, and not the maitre d' of Hizzoner's "Bridge Caf"?

"Lady, I may sleep under this bridge every now and then," the guy said in amusement at my error, "but I don't exactly have a dining table here, OK?"

"Oh, I just assumed you were the headwaiter at the new caf I read about."

"Ya mean that 'Carty Caf'? Yeah, I read something about it, too, but that idea's never going anywhere - not even just as a brown-bag kinda deal."

"What makes you so sure?" I challenged.

"Because I read the story. It said: 'City leaders have been discussing the temporary cafe-style bridge setup on a conceptual level, but they offered no formal plans.' But you gotta speak government-ese to understand all that.

"Know what they really mean by 'conceptual level' and 'no formal plans'?"

I shook my head in ignorance.

"They mean Hizzoner brought up this goofy plan

during some meeting or another, and everybody just nodded their heads politely 'cuz not a single underling had enough guts to tell the poor guy he was off his rocker."

Well, that sure got my dander up!

"You know," I said in what I hoped was my most arch tone, "personally, I think Carty deserves credit for creativity about a short-term problem."

He threw back his head and laughed.

"Lady," he said, "I don't know what you mean by 'short-term,' but boy, do I ever have a bridge to sell you!"

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