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Yesterday I Passed Seven Horse-Drawn Carriages in Highland Park

I don't know exactly how too many that is, but it is too many.

(photo by Thom Quine)

I don’t know anyone who likes horse-drawn carriage rides. At least I don’t think I do. And what I really mean is I don’t know anyone who specifically likes horse-drawn carriage rides. I’m sure I am acquainted with at least one or two or maybe even three people who, if the situation presented itself, would go for a horse-drawn carriage ride. Why, even I, under the exact right scenario — and absolutely without one dollar coming out of my pocket — might indulge in one and maybe it would even be pleasant. I don’t know. Maybe I am being too magnanimous. It is the holidays. I very well could have my guard down.

Anyway, even in Highland Park, which likes to think of itself as a modern remake of a Norman Rockwell painting, especially around this time of year, seven horse-drawn carriages is too many. It is an untenable situation.

I don’t know when exactly they started. I would assume as soon as the calendar turned to December. But they first slowly, stately, irritatingly rolled across my radar screen maybe late last week. My girlfriend does not live in Highland Park but she does live close enough — if my arm is loose, I could toss, not throw, a rock into HP — that I have occasion to drive through there a fair amount. Normally, my only concern is that my slightly rundown vehicle will cause me undue attention from Highland Park’s, let’s say, vigilant police department.

But last night, as I crossed the Katy Trail, I found myself behind not one but two horse-drawn carriages, after having passed another just before the trail’s intersection with Knox. And at the corner of Abbott, once I finally extricated myself and my 2003 [REDACTED] from behind the two slow-rolling tanks of holiday cheer, there were two more about to turn onto Knox. And maybe two minutes later, I passed another two on Armstrong, and I couldn’t tell if they were stopped or in motion. And I’m not saying there were only seven horse-drawn carriages in Highland Park last night, just that I passed that amount. I’m sure there were at least a few more.

Beyond being slow-moving, they are a bit hard to see when they cross in front of you. That is a legitimate safety concern. But, OK, let’s not forget they are also  extremely slow-moving. One is bad. Two in a row is a form of violence.

I am not always as patient as I’d like to be. I’ve made strides. I’m always getting better, and I am especially much more patient while driving. Getting stuck behind two horse-drawn carriages though is like an alcoholic locked in a liquor store. Did I swear a little bit? I may have, and I apologize.

I will point out, here at the end, that Highland Park has banned scooters, after previously banning share bikes. So maybe this can all be solved by slapping a Lime logo on the carriages.

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