[Another] Chicago Two-Flat

A chronicle of our adventures as owners of a two-flat on Chicago's north side.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Monday, November 07, 2005

All Praise the Alley Gods

In my previous post I mentioned donating a dryer to the “alley gods”. The alley gods are so amazing that I think they are worth a separate post altogether.

The alley gods are apparently supernatural beings that inhabit the alleys of Chicago and most likely other urban areas around the country. I know for a fact, though, that they are seldom seen out in the far suburbs as I witnessed a prime sacrifice – an old full-sized washing machine – languish at the curb of my folks’ house for days until they finally hired someone to haul it away. What a waste!

There seems to be nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that they alley gods will not accept. These are some of the things I have offered up to them, and the approximate amount of time it took them to wisk the offering off to mount alleyus (or wherever it is they reside):

- Full-sized dryer, less than 3 hours
- Full-sized single-door refrigerator – less than 5 hours
- Dented and scratched up steel exterior door – less than 12 hours
- Piles and piles of old wood torn out of basement – approximately 1 week, although the city garbage might be taking this stuff
- Massive, 7000-year old 5000lb window air conditioner – less than 1 day. I was amazed and thought I would have to turn this thing into some kind of planter and I just about destroyed my back getting it out to the alter (conveniently located right next to the garbage cans)
- 15 gallon-sized cans of old paint, partially full – less than 2 days
- Broken television set, less than 1 hour
- Old silverware (cheap stuff – hope they weren’t offended) – less than 1 day
- Old galvanized pipe – less than 2 hours
- Several old suit coats and jackets – less than a day

Amazing! It has gotten to the point that I am tempted to thing up ever crazier things to put out there just to see if it will disappear. I am also amazed that, given their appetites, they have not attempted to haul off other things like cars, pets and even small children.

I have to confess, though, that in addition to offering many sacrifices to the alley gods, I have pilfered an offering or two from directly from their alters, including a 5-shelf bookcase, a foldable ironing board (use it almost every day!), and a large cartoon-themed popcorn tin that I keep some of my kids toys in (after thoroughly washing it, of course). I can only hope that they will never discover my transgressions, or that if they do they are as merciful with me as they are accepting with my offerings.


Blogger jm@houseinprogress said...

We have sacrificed LOADS of stuff to the alley gods...and they have been (mostly) kind. Except for the scrap metal dealers who ripped the legs off of three perfectly good tables. (argh!) I estimate that we have placed about 1 garage full of items on the altar over the past 2.5 years. Actually, our neighbors also keep an eye out since they like this stuff as well. We occassionally glimpse old stuff of ours in their garages :) Chicago alleys are really a lot like a HUGE swap meet. Makes me sorry for my relatives in NYC, where they have no alleys...everything is put in front of the building. Makes the thrill of the hunt and gather a little less exciting.

11/07/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Yes, I always wait for a clear and non-rainy day to give to the gods myself.

I'm with you on the gas bill too. I hear this will be a mild winter though so we've got a bit of mercy. Maybe it's all those donations to the alley gods....hmmm

11/07/2005 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

speaking of finding strange things in the alley- that reminds me of a story Old Man and the Street told about some jello...maybe if he reads this- he'll repost that story- twas a good one!

11/07/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger David Johnsen said...

I put out an old refrigerator one Saturday afternoon. It was maybe 15 minutes later when I noticed it was gone. It disappeared so fast that it was hardly worth taking the doors off the hinges.

4/15/2006 12:13:00 AM  

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