GUEST COLUMN | 'The Mercer Mess' (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

I do not like the Mercer Mess.

Each day I like it less and less.

Each day it just gets worse and worse.

Sometimes I think I’m in a hearse.


The cars upon I-5 do mass.

They do not move; they do not pass.

Try other routes? Whatever you do,

You’ll find they’ve blocked off that street, too!


Dexter’s narrowed. Mile-long backups.

Risking two- and four-wheel crackups.

There’s much time to smell the flora,

Crawling down a packed Aurora.


I asked the city what to do,

They said, “A bicycle for you!

Or buy a condo near to town

(We hear that interest rates are down).

Or better yet, don’t make a fuss.

Just buy a pass and take the bus.”

“But wait,” I said. “Don’t make me laugh —

“The bus will take an hour and a half.

From 12 miles north a bike’s a pain

I’d catch pneumonia in the rain.”


“I’d have to transfer buses twice,

Ride through downtown, then back — how nice!

When I work  late, I wouldn’t like

To be marooned at Third and Pike.”


“No, no!” the city said to me,

“You must think ecologically.

Now sell your car and save a tree —

This gridlock is good policy.”


I should emit less CO2,

I understand, I really do.

But see, I have this silly quirk:

I really have to get to work.

I do not like the Mercer Mess.

I like it less, and less, and less. 

PETER A. KLEIN lives in Shoreline, Wash. When not sitting in traffic on the Mercer Street off-ramp, he works in information technology for a South Lake Union company. He also writes about and plays classical music.

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