The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-21-2013, 08:43 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Anyone else heard the term "Skokie lean"?

Regarding traffic. Yes, it is offensive as all hell, but both my wife and I were familiar with the term from our childhoods in/around Chicago in the 60s/70s. Wondering how prevalent it is/was.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-21-2013, 09:46 AM
Shadowfyre Shadowfyre is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Never heard of it. But I've lived my life in the south suburbs. Was it mainly a North Side thing?

Why is it offensive? I know Skokie is known for having a significant Jewish population. Does it have something to do with light traffic in Skokie on Friday nights when the Jewish population would be at home by sundown?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-21-2013, 10:42 AM
Trom Trom is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
I lived in Evanston from 2002-2006 and Chicago since then. Never heard of the term and have no idea what it means.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-21-2013, 04:45 PM
Tom in Chicago Tom in Chicago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Lived in Chicago / Chicagoland most of my life. . . never heard of this expression. . . I can't fathom what could be so offensive. . . perhaps the OP could explain this to the rest of us. . .

. . .
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-21-2013, 05:35 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Regarding traffic. Yes, it is offensive as all hell, but both my wife and I were familiar with the term from our childhoods in/around Chicago in the 60s/70s. Wondering how prevalent it is/was.
Never heard of it. Is it anything like the Pittsburgh left turn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_left ?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:37 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
I've lived in Chicago and environs my whole life, and never heard that term. Also can't imagine what could be offensive about it. As George Costanza might say, "It's abnormal, but not offensive."
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:05 AM
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Anything like the Detroit lean?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:37 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
Anything like the Detroit lean?
Is that like, "Diggin' the scene withe the gansta lean"????


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVANQheoRUw
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-22-2013, 07:03 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Boy, I'm really surprised no one else heard of this, because I had no sense that it was a terribly insular term. Was very common to be dirving along and have someone say, "Wow - nice Skokie lean!"

In short, a Skokie lean is when someone blocks traffic heading in one direction, to position themselves to merge in the other direction.

As an example, say you are exiting a parking lot on the S side of an E-W street and desire to head W. You are heading N out of the driveway. There is a gap in the eastbound traffic, but not in the W. You fear that when the gap appears in the westbound trafic, you will not be able to cross the eastbound lanes. So you pull your car out into the road such that you are blocking the eastbound lanes. That way, when the gap in the westbound lanes occurs you will be able to merge. The unfortunate folk who happen along in the eastbound lanes which you are blocking would observe, "Nice Skokie lean."

Or, if you were making this maneuver yourself, yu would say, "I'm going to pull a Skokie lean."

Of course, the alternatives to pulling a Skokie lean would be to simply wait until traffic is clear in both directions allowing you to make your desired maneuver, or to make a right turn out of the parking lot and find some other way to head westbound - a Uey, a left into a parking lot on the N side of the street, etc.

I'm going to have to see what my sisters recall about this term...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-22-2013, 07:46 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Again, Titletown
Posts: 19,446
In Boston that's called "driving".
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:41 PM
Ulf the Unwashed Ulf the Unwashed is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Like you, grew up in Chicago 60s-70s. (South Side)

Never heard the term, and even after the explanation it doesn't sound familiar.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:43 PM
Procrustus Procrustus is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pacific NW.
Posts: 8,705
Never heard the term and never seen anyone intentionally do that. I can see you might have thought you could make the turn and then hit the brakes as the space closed up or something. But, to do it on purpose is one giant dick move.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:47 PM
StusBlues StusBlues is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy L View Post
Never heard of it. Is it anything like the Pittsburgh left turn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_left ?
Ah, so that explains it. I saw this all the time when I lived in Erie. Kinda freaks you out at first.

I know a lot of drivers who do the Skokie Lean as a matter of course. It does suggest a certain personality type.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:50 PM
zoid zoid is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Chicago Il
Posts: 9,184
Born in '66, grew up in Chicago and 'burbs, never heard the term but I agree it's a total dick move.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:50 PM
lieu lieu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bedrock
Posts: 26,077
I understand what it is now but why "Skokie"?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:56 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by lieu View Post
I understand what it is now but why "Skokie"?
Skokie historically had a sizeable Jewish population. I assume it had to do with perceptions of Jews as greedy, selfish. Probably just good old garden variety anti-semitism.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-22-2013, 12:59 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by lieu View Post
I understand what it is now but why "Skokie"?
Maybe to imply that it is a common maneuver of Jewish drivers. Or Illinois Nazis.

(I hate Illinois Nazis.)
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:04 PM
lieu lieu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bedrock
Posts: 26,077
Ah, I'd never even heard of the town, much less its perceived ethnicity. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:07 PM
Procrustus Procrustus is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Pacific NW.
Posts: 8,705
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post

(I hate Illinois Nazis.)
Yeah, they're bad.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:12 PM
lieu lieu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bedrock
Posts: 26,077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
(I hate Illinois Nazis.)
Do they go by The Fighting Nazis as well?
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:48 PM
StusBlues StusBlues is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Maybe to imply that it is a common maneuver of Jewish drivers. Or Illinois Nazis.

(I hate Illinois Nazis.)
So what're you gonna do about it Whitey?
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 03-22-2013, 10:19 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
I and my family lived in Chicago just south of Lincolnwood for decades. I've never heard the phrase.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 03-26-2013, 03:04 PM
maxxy maxxy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Grew up on the Northwest Side, went to NU, drove down Dempster every day for years. Never heard the term, and never saw the maneuver in Skokie.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 03-26-2013, 03:44 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Have lived in the Chicago area for 24 years; I've never heard the term.

That said, I have heard another non-PC term for the same driving maneuver, used by a friend of mine who grew up on the Southwest Side (he very likely learned it from his blue-collar grandparents, who raised him). He refers* to it as "n******ing your way into an intersection", and clearly the term is borne out of a belief that members of that racial group are more likely to engage in it.

*Well, referred (past tense)...I haven't heard him use the term in many years, so maybe he's gotten a clue.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 03-26-2013 at 03:45 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 03-27-2013, 07:56 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Chicago-ish, IL
Posts: 10,211
Grew up in Evanston, still have many friends and family there and live 15 minutes away, raised Jewish, never heard the term in my life until this thread.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 03-27-2013, 08:50 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 7,734
I've never heard the term either.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 03-29-2013, 12:32 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
In Boston that's called "driving".
Ha, indeed. I'm not from Boston but I've seen people pull that shit all the time. I never knew that was associated with being Jewish in certain parts of universe. In LA, that's associated with having a car.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 04-03-2013, 08:49 AM
Pai325 Pai325 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Never heard it. I grew up in the northern suburbs and worked in Lincolnwood for a while. My ex sister-in-law is from Skokie, and my nieces and nephews and their families live there. I will have to ask them about it.

The maneuver itself is not unknown; sometimes it's the only way to get out!

Last edited by Pai325; 04-03-2013 at 08:52 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 04-03-2013, 08:58 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Asked my sisters - they never heard of it. Weird - seems as tho my wife and I may have come up with this ugly term. Not a pleasant thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pai325 View Post
The maneuver itself is not unknown; sometimes it's the only way to get out!
Trying to come up with a situation in which this is the ONLY way to get to one's desired destination. I can think of MANY situations in which it avoids personal inconvenience by inconveniencing others... Gee, I want to turn left right here. But don't want to go through the hassle of making a right instead and finding someplace where I could pull a u-turn, go around the block, ...
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 04-03-2013, 09:37 AM
Pai325 Pai325 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Asked my sisters - they never heard of it. Weird - seems as tho my wife and I may have come up with this ugly term. Not a pleasant thought.



Trying to come up with a situation in which this is the ONLY way to get to one's desired destination. I can think of MANY situations in which it avoids personal inconvenience by inconveniencing others... Gee, I want to turn left right here. But don't want to go through the hassle of making a right instead and finding someplace where I could pull a u-turn, go around the block, ...
Well, I will edit. Sometimes it was the only way to get out that suits me, especially if I see an opening coming up. Since I now live downstate, having ten cars at a light is heavy traffic, and I am unsuited to driving up north anymore.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 04-03-2013, 09:43 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Again, Titletown
Posts: 19,446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Trying to come up with a situation in which this is the ONLY way to get to one's desired destination. I can think of MANY situations in which it avoids personal inconvenience by inconveniencing others... Gee, I want to turn left right here. But don't want to go through the hassle of making a right instead and finding someplace where I could pull a u-turn, go around the block, ...
It's pretty normal and expected in the greater Boston area. It's just the way people drive and most folks accept it as a minor inconvenience that they themselves benefit from at other times.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 04-05-2013, 02:03 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8,229
I see it quite a bit in Chicago but I've never heard it called that name before.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 04-07-2013, 11:24 PM
Mornac Mornac is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
Anything like the Detroit lean?
--When I was younger we referred to that as the urban sprawl. Not sure if it was meant to be pejorative as we were all urbanites ourselves.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 04-08-2013, 04:44 AM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Trying to come up with a situation in which this is the ONLY way to get to one's desired destination. I can think of MANY situations in which it avoids personal inconvenience by inconveniencing others... Gee, I want to turn left right here. But don't want to go through the hassle of making a right instead and finding someplace where I could pull a u-turn, go around the block, ...
Nothing's ever the ONLY way to do it. But sometimes it's the only sensible way.

I currently live on a cul-de-sac, where in the morning the traffic on the main road I have to turn into is frequently clogged on the near side by about a block in either direction, and the far side has fairly consistent high-moving traffic, with a gap every minute or so. If I just wait patiently behind my line, someone will often move up to block my exit, even though there's no particular benefit to sitting in my way rather than out of my way. So yes, I move into the near column while I'm waiting for my gap. Never had a situation where the near column that I blocked moved up more than about half a dozen car lengths in that time, so nobody loses their place. I figure I'm causing a few people trivial-to-no actual inconvenience, while saving myself major inconvenience, and I'm cool with that.

Last edited by Aspidistra; 04-08-2013 at 04:44 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 04-08-2013, 07:04 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Nothing's ever the ONLY way to do it. But sometimes it's the only sensible way.

I currently live on a cul-de-sac, where in the morning the traffic on the main road I have to turn into is frequently clogged on the near side by about a block in either direction, and the far side has fairly consistent high-moving traffic, with a gap every minute or so. If I just wait patiently behind my line, someone will often move up to block my exit, even though there's no particular benefit to sitting in my way rather than out of my way. So yes, I move into the near column while I'm waiting for my gap. Never had a situation where the near column that I blocked moved up more than about half a dozen car lengths in that time, so nobody loses their place. I figure I'm causing a few people trivial-to-no actual inconvenience, while saving myself major inconvenience, and I'm cool with that.
That's a situation in which I would consider this maneuver no big deal at all - in fact probably the appropriate move. When it would rise to the level of rudeness IMO is if things cleared such that the near-side traffic could flow, but is blocked by your car.

I often see it on main streets where someone will block traffic which is moving at the speed limit, and prevent them from making a green light. In such situations, I think it rudeness for the merging driver to inconvenience traffic in order to avoid some inconvenince to themselves by going around the block or whatever. Just my opinion.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.