Saturday, April 30, 2005

Camp Washington

Camp Washington

The story of America is the story of self-governance and the “social compact” that we somehow have all agreed to. In NYC, that often seems to mean little more than every person for himself or herself. My journey to Cincinnati is the tale of a rather different society. Perhaps it does show that there is some hope for America and (perhaps) some actual differences between Red and Blue states…

Our highways are divided into various lanes. For some there is the fast lane(s) and the slow lane(s) but for those "in the know” there are traveling lanes and passing lanes. Like most states, in Ohio there were many posted signs saying that if you're not passing you should stay to the right (and thus keep the passing lane(s) open for passing). What was nice was that people actually complied. More interesting was on the drive into downtown Cincinnati, through 675 and 75 South, some electronic signs indicated that there was an accident at Exit 7 and the left lane was blocked. These signs posted this info about 4-7 miles in advance of the accident. What was truly amazing is that everyone (and this was rush hour with many cars on the road) stayed in the right lanes (except for 3 cars out of thousands). There is no doubt that if this was NYC that many drivers would have driven in the left lane “until the last possible second” and then try to merge into the right lane(s). Thus blocking the left lane for any emergency vehicles and (based on queue theory) really slowing everyone down. What should have been a nearly endless traffic jam instead turned into a rather minor slow down.

Part of the social compact is that good restaurants are hard to find and that the best ones don’t change their location and d├ęcor. Camp Washington Chili is an exception to that rule. The place has been around since 1940, but the current building is new and modern. The food was good. Cincinnati-style chili, a slightly sweet all-meat chili (e.g., no bean) served over spaghetti. In this case, there are options for beans, onions and shredded cheddar. They also serve hot dogs with “Coney” sauce. My only complaint was I would have preferred the spaghetti more al dente.