Friday, April 15, 2016

LaGrange Road

When I was a kid, Tinley Park, Illinois was about two miles long and a mile wide. The town population was under ten thousand. If you strayed from the village limits you found yourself on country roads, surrounded by corn fields. No matter where you went in town you knew people and people knew you. There was no "Stranger Danger" back then. I've been back in this town now for a week and a half, and I find it to be a sad place. Two nights ago Mark and I decided to go out for dinner on our anniversary. Unfortunately you are limited to mostly chain restaurants around here, so we chose Bonefish Grill.
"It's at 155th and LaGrange Road. Do you know where that is?" Mark asked.
"I'm sure I can find it." I replied with confidence.
So we piled into the car and set out towards LaGrange Road via 183rd Street. I had never been west of town on 183rd Street. I wasn't even sure it went all the way through because when I moved out of Tinley Park it was a gravel farm road.
"Where the hell are we? Where are you taking me?" Mark whined.
"Ummm... we'll be okay." I replied, while in my head I was screaming, 'Really, where the hell am I?'
Everything was wrong. I reached LaGrange Road and instead of a two lane country highway there was a six lane street filled with traffic. It was as if I had gone through a time warp where I had jumped from 1970 to 2016, because in my  mind Tinley Park and the surrounding area was still 1970. For miles and miles we passed chain stores, and chain restaurants. Every mile looked just like the last mile. Finally we arrived at Bonefish Grill. It was in a place that my head kept telling me should be a corn field. I recognized nothing. After dinner I had Mark drive back to my sister's house. Once again, I recognized nothing and we missed our turn.
"Ahh... shit. We should have turned back there." I told Mark, "Go ahead and take the interstate instead."
"Waaaaaaaaa.... I don't do interstates. Waaa... we're lost."
"I'm sure we are fine. Just get on the interstate and it will take us back."
Well we finally found our way back to my sister's house. I'm not sure how because Mark would not take the interstate and nothing at all was familiar to me. Tinley Park now has around 60,000 people living here and I know nobody. In fact Mark and I went to a bar I occasionally visited back in the olden days, to have a drink. It was quite surreal. I looked around the bar at all the old white people and wondered if I knew any of them back in 1970.  But of course that is what happens when you time travel. All the folks you knew back then are now old or dead. Just like the town I grew up in. It's dead and has been replaced by strip malls, big box crap stores, and strange old people I don't know.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Allen. It's Denise Ziska (Zickus). Welcome back to the land of Lincoln! I know anyone from around here can give you recommendations for where to eat. If you like seafood, Tin Fish is the best. Try El Coco Mio right by the train station. I know you've been to Isabella's. that place is awesome. Francesca's and Smokey Barque in Frankfort are very good, too. I agree there are too many chains around here but there are some great other places too.