I often joke that Alternate Side Parking suspensions promote a heartfelt appreciation for the city’s diverse religions, but as we approach the Muslim Holiday of Idul-Adha and enjoy the miracle of 3 days (Tue-Thur, 11/16 – 11/18) of not having to move our cars back and forth, how many of us actually know what this holiday commemorates? Maybe this is the silver lining of Alternate Side Parking Rules. In a time when religion is so divisive, Alt Side Rules can be the inspiration of not just appreciation, but of a sincere belief in the importance of other religions or at least religious observance that rises to the threshold of street sweeping suspension.
If you are skeptical, have you ever wondered, asked out loud, Googled what Idul-Fitr or Diwali (last Fri), or any holiday that spared you from going out into the rainy night (when no one seems to vacate their parking spaces), celebrates? Would you have bothered to find out what these three holy days mean otherwise?
Turns out Idul-Adha is the commemoration of the Old Testament story of Abraham. Abraham, because of his unconditional faith, sacrifices his own son at God’s request, but at the last minute is allowed to sacrifice a ram in his son’s place. And if this display of God’s mercy (except for the ram) doesn’t stop traffic for you, this story is actually shared by three of the world’s most contrary religions. The Jews, Christians and Muslims all celebrate the tale of Abraham. Does the fact that this week is the Muslim observance of the Abraham story make us drivers feel any less blessed?
Could it be that Alt Side is changing the way we see each other the only way life really can, with practical everyday experience, one suspended Alt Side Day at a time?