Mark and I, and a friend of ours, were sitting around in the living room discussing gardening when I mentioned the tree that the city planted in the parkway.
"Parkway? You mean our front lawn?"
"No, that's called a parkway. The area between the sidewalk and the street is called a parkway. It belongs to the city."
"A parkway is a road where I come from." Mark sneered. Then Mark looked at our guest and asked, "Is that a parkway?"
Ha, I thought, Doug will back me up. He grew up in Chicago, he knows what things are called around here.
"I never heard it called a parkway. I don't know where you got that from, but nobody calls that a parkway."
Well son of a bitch, a lifelong resident of Chicago doesn't know what the grassy area between the sidewalk and the street is called. He did not back me up.
There are certain things in Chicago that have specific names, and any Chicagoan should know them. For instance, the little three foot wide passage between houses is called the gangway. The front porch stairs are the stoop. People used to sit on the front stoop before it got too dangerous. Now only those gang members who plan to get shot sit on the front stoop. Chicagoans know that the formerly tallest building in the world is called Sears Tower, not Willis Tower. I don't care how much Mr. Willis paid for it, and that Major League baseball stadium on Thirty Fifth Street is called Comiskey Park. Although, all the sportscasters here call it Guaranteed Rate Park. I assume they wouldn't be allowed back in if they called it anything else.
So Mark and our friend Doug, who grew up on the South Side, both claim it isn't called a parkway. Fine, I thought. I don't really care. Then last night, we went out to dinner with two other friends of ours and the conversation turned to the tree in front of our house.
"You mean on the parkway?" Larry, friend number one, asked.
I smiled and asked him to repeat himself, "What did you call it?"
"Yes, it's called the parkway." Friend number two, Roger, concurred.
Ah ha! Vindicated.
"Whatever. Back in New Jersey we drove on parkways. You people are strange." Said the man whose home state elected Chris Christie twice.