Poor Judgement Alley

It sounds like the kind of place that you and your gunslinger friends might bring  firearms for a drunken lunchtime duel fueled by too much testosterone and a lack of decent restaurant choices but it would probably end in bloodshed and tears.

No friends, I didn’t bring my pistol to a godforsaken dust bowl shoot out but I did nearly lose my life to a fast-moving SUV that flew out of one of our much discussed, hotly debated  local shortcuts without looking.

Here let me help you visualize with the help of this diagram.

The alley in question has flames.

I know I should have waited until Chella or KYA had some time available to sketch this for me but the early bird gets the worm.

It should be known that this alleyway is the kind of steep dangerous precipice that was intended mostly for the convenience of neighbors who need to access their homes without having to drive around two city blocks to get to their parking spaces and garages.

It has morphed into a one lane highway where cars careening down its steep incline begin to burn up like the shuttle re-entering the earths atmosphere after a trip to the moon.

It empties into a traffic clusterfuck that only a drunken city planner would have thought up with four confusing roads crashing into one another and then splintering off in four nonsensical directions. Anyone trying to bully their way in from poor judgement alley is taking their life in their hands as three of those four legitimate roads cannot be seen from behind the stone retaining walls blocking your view.

It’s like the Russian roulette of merges and my husband and I use it to gauge the character of people we know.

 “So and so is a great guy but I caught him flying down poor judgement alley so he’s got to have a least a sliver of jackassery in there”

“I used to respect her a LOT until I saw her rip down poor judgement alley and almost take out four bikers, a pedestrian and two  cars on Adams Mill”

With its narrow width and poor visibility this is not an alternate route you want to take, lest you be crushed like an aluminum can and carted away by ambulance.

Plus you should know that we are talking about you behind your back.



Filed under I should have had someone draw this for me, kill people in the alley with a knife not your car, make good decisions, the alley is not for killing, we are totally talking about you

31 responses to “Poor Judgement Alley

  1. chuck duffy

    “So and so is a great guy but I caught him flying down poor judgement alley so he’s got to have a least a sliver of jackassery in there”

    Yep – you captured me perfectly. The crazier thing that people do it so they can make the illegal left hand turn (through a red light no less) so they can get to Adams Morgan 20 seconds faster – WITH A CAR FULL OF KIDS.

  2. Tom G.

    This is the drawback of living in a neighborhood built for people riding ponies, or ox carts. I’m guessing they had no problem seeing over the retaining walls back then, and fiery head on collisions with a soccer mom riding an Appaloosa weren’t a big concern for the city planners.

    • dufmanno

      I can’t imagine it was easy to stop the horse OR the cart on the steep incline.
      Trying to envision how many wagons went over the embankment across the way right into the National Zoo.

  3. Wait, you mean folks driving SUVs are supposed to be using judgement? Granted you suggest it should not go beyond *poor* judgement, but still…

    • dufmanno

      I think what gets me is the complete lack of remorse.
      Blaring horns, near misses, screeching tires, enraged pedestrians. Nothing moves the fans of poor judgement alley.
      They should hang a sign above it ” Totally worth the risk!”

  4. Major yikes, here. I know the intersection. I also know what driving in DC/VA has morphed into, especially with deathtraps like that (there are others). It’s like Showdown at the OK corral, except it’s not Good vs Evil. It’s I don’t Give A Shit vs I REALLY Don’t Give A Shit vs I Would Give A Shit If I Had Any Brain Cells But I Don’t vs A Small Minority of People Who Do Give A Shit and Have Brain Cells.

    • dufmanno

      It’s a terrifying “we’ve got nothing to lose” game of chicken.
      Except,like you say, everyone has three kids in the car and a sense of entitlement sitting in the passenger seat.
      I will say that during massive snowstorms when the entire city shuts down we use poor judgement alley as a sledding hill and throw caution to the wind.
      For THAT, it is awesome

  5. There’s nothing like a little risk early in the morning. I know I love to put my life in my hands each day before work!

    • dufmanno

      I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Sorry, I know that’s not relevant in any way shape or form but I got a great visual of Robert Duvall’s Kilgore getting ready to jump into his minivan and start down the road.

  6. Sounds like the roads here, some are extremely narrow since they were built for horses NOT cars. This doesn’t stop the drivers from racing through them. English drivers are mental…

    I’m just a peasant pedestrian so I steer clear of them as much as possible, except when crossing Zebra crossings (see the Beatles Abbey Road for zebra crossing example)

    • dufmanno

      Have you ever crossed it sans shoes? Like Paul? Because if you did, I might start a rumor that you’d been replaced by a lookalike.

      • Hmm, no, never crossed it bare footed, but I am left handed like Paul and also play bass (though not a left-handed bass like him…) – I’m scared now…

        Off topic but this should amuse you. Animal story for you, I seem to recall you enjoyed my squirrel/magpie/duck tale, this one is even better…

        Picture a big furry long haired tabby fat cat, spoiled and certainly not starving. He was sitting in my friend’s garden (it is my friend’s cat after all but I digress) relaxing, when a commotion started…
        Fatty captured a baby bird, whilst the poor distressed birdy parents fluttered above his fat head. Meanwhile, he pawed the poor little bird to death. Watching all this, on the outskirts of the garden, was a magpie, cackling away as if passing on the info to someone else. It tried to get the dead baby bird away from fatty, but fatty kept chasing magpie away. (Amazed that fat cats can be agile) but then, another magpie showed up and whilst the original magpie distracted fatty, the other magpie jumped down from a tree branch and stole the sad baby bird corpse. Seconds later, the other magpie took off, I guess to join his friend for a tasty birdy snack…

        How’s that for weird animal encounters? I think it would have been great with a narration from Sir David Attenborough…

  7. First of all, that is the finest example of map drawing (mappism? mappery?) I have ever seen. I’m glad you did not wait for someone else to draw it.

    Youre very fortunate to have poor judgement alley as a personal assessment tool. I am sure it has never steered you wrong.

    • dufmanno

      It has never steered us wrong but it has broken our hearts many times.
      What a painful disappointment it is for us to think we’ve got a neighbor with all the right moves only to be walloped with the soul pulverizing truth.
      They have no common sense whatsoever.

  8. Poor Judgement Alley resembles the road to hell. I like it. Draw more. Post more. Me likey the Duff.

    Wine is bad. Good. Bad. Ya know…….

    • dufmanno

      It might very well BE the road to hell , well not the one paved with good intentions but the one you die on and then realize you forgot to go to confession before you barrelled down it like Mario Andretti.

  9. Oh Rocco and I RULE at this game. Only we call it, “I care less about my piece of shit car than you do about you Lexus so guess who’s going to win this merge game, mother fucker?”

    • dufmanno

      But you see, “merge” is different than “fly blindly into oncoming traffic from four different directions.
      It’s like if I hoisted your car fifty feet into the air over the exit for the Holland Tunnel and then dropped you.
      That was a LOT of work for trying to describe danger. Anyway, I too am an aggressive merger on highways and regular roads. I feel that unless you get your nose out you’ll sit and wait for hours.

  10. 1.) the flames and skull and crossbone are so rad!
    e.) i love talking behind my neighbors backs and looking in their medicine cabinets for unused narcotics. conclusion: usually the most reckless drivers never finish their percocets.
    *%.) both spellings of judgment/judgement are correct. i prefer the one with the e as well.

    • dufmanno

      Do you know I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out which was correct since I read no less than four well respected publications that used both versions?

  11. macdougalstreetbaby

    I know this alley. I’ve seen it before in my dreams. In fact, I think I was born on it.

    • dufmanno

      A narrow bleak and steep concrete passageway. That sounds wildly metaphoric but I guess the concrete part would have to go. No one wants to be born on concrete. Let’s make it velvet covered!

  12. I know a place like this… only it’s not an alley, it’s the province of Quebec.

    • dufmanno

      I’m worried for you now.
      The last time someone I know baited a mime from Quebec with taunts about his home he burst out of his cube sending shards of pretend glass everywhere and attacking the perpetrators with an imagined mallet. Bloody AND frightening. Keep your eyes peeled.

  13. Seriously, can’t anyone ever plan a city properly? Even the windy, narrow, cramped alleyways of Europe seem to work better than North American cities which were supposedly DESIGNED to accommodate volumes of people moving through them.

    • dufmanno

      I tried once but the lack of running water and furious anarchy in the streets indicated that I shouldn’t make it my goal in life.
      making stuff is hard.

  14. Handmade cement speed humps….lots of them….and big humps. You could rename it bad judgement big humps lane:)

    • dufmanno

      Yeah, but then you know some tragically hip local would paint nipples on the humps and it would forever be known as boobie alley. Once we removed our cast iron stairs to replace them with wooden ones and we had to leave them on the sidewalk for a week or two before we could get someone to haul them away. Some hipster came up and taped a sign on the top that said “THE CORPORATE LADDER”.
      and I was all like, “oh, I get it, the stairs go nowhere and the corporate ladder leads nowhere, ha ha douchebag”

  15. Totally have one of those behind our street. When we first moved in my husband said he was going to sled down it.

    Yep, married one.

    • dufmanno

      We sled down poor judgement alley because when DC gets snow all common sense flies out the window and that’s actually okay with me.
      With winter sports all the regular rules stop applying.

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