You can see where the story left off here.
So as I was saying, Patrick and I were dead tired and dragging ourselves and $30 shot glass back to the parking garage, which we barely fit in to begin with (Pat drives a big truck – could you have guessed?). Slowly trudging up 3 flights of stairs covered in gum and other stickiness we finally made it back to Big Red (the truck, not the gum, although there was probably plenty of that on the bottom of our shoes). It was probably close to 1:15am but no later than 1:30am when we started up the truck.
Photo courtesy: Google Maps
The above is a picture from Google Street View of said garage. Looks nice right? Yea, you would think. Especially with the unassuming palm tree and flowers surrounding the outside. Don’t let this fool you. Look closer at the garage.
That’s right. Those two toll booths right there. They should burn in a slow fiery death.
So let me back track. When you first arrive in this garage, the toll booth gives you a ticket. You are to TAKE the ticket with you, NOT leave it in your car. Upon returning to your vehicle you are to find a pay kiosk, insert the ticket YOU TOOK WITH YOU, and pay for the time that your vehicle was parked. You then receive the ticket BACK, which you take with you AGAIN, and upon leaving the garage (in your vehicle) you insert the ticket into the toll booth machine and the blessed gates rise and give you passage to freedom on the outside. That’s like really complicated. Really. Isn’t it? Compound this lack of human factors with the fact that you not only have SOBER people trying to remember their ticket but drunkards as well.
From the time that you insert your ticket, which you’ve miraculously kept safe inside your pocket while vigorously attempting to Salsa, thrusting your hips to and fro, you only have about 10 – 15 minutes to get your vehicle and leave. Once this brief window of time has expired, as soon as you put your ticket in the toll booth machine it beeps and asks you for payment (again). Bewildered drivers angrily shake their fists and curse and slam their heads on the steering wheel at the realization that they just wasted $5 or so dollars. Trying to ram the gate arm is futile. You will just mess up your Toyota Camry. I mean the engine hood may actually peel back like a tin can of sardines in your flagitious attempts to storm the gates. That’s no good for anybody. Especially the line of people now accumulating behind you, and Patrick. Patrick is a very patient man but when stupidity is to blame for these sorts of mishaps…oh watch out. All shit is going to break loose.
As we sat idling in the truck behind two cars, we were starting to panic, thinking that our ticket would expire just waiting to get the hell out of here. We sat and blankly stared at the woman in the stupid Camry who kept trying to jam her ticket into the machine. She kept opening the door and standing at the machine to yell at it for not taking her ticket. Finally a security guard, I assume for the garage, came over and with a single swift push of a button the gate arm rose and the lady exited the garage in a fit of rage. I could see her violently shaking her head as she sped away like a mad woman into the early morning darkness.
Next in line was a Dodge pickup. Patrick and I thought, fellow truck driver…he’ll get this and be on his way in no time. WRONG. Dodge pickup man probably had one good tooth and about several poor tattoos and when he started turning to fellow passengers in his vehicle to help him even read the screen (I think he was intoxicated and not illiterate, but I can’t be sure), we knew we were going to be stuck behind him for a while.
This is an accurate representation of the man in front of us in his Dodge pickup. Photo courtesy.
There were a few cars starting to come down the ramp behind us. If we didn’t back up and try for another line now we would get sandwiched and truly stuck. Pat did some quick maneuvering and swiveled into the line one booth over. In front of us now was an electric orange Dodge Charger. “Baller” with a backwards baseball cap and wearing sunglasses at night dude was on the cell phone with music BLARING the entire time he was trying to cram the ticket into the machine. For a good 5 minutes he repeated his process of switching the phone between ears, getting out of his blindingly bright car and hitting the machine.
Also, an accurate portrayal of the guy in the tangerine car. Photo courtesy.
If he were to take off his backward hat though…he would look like this:
Seeing that our efforts to bypass the line were for naught we feebly attempted to get back into our original line. Oh sweet glorious mother of all that is good and pure in this (questionable) world…the Dodge pickup guy finally figured it out, with the help of a few others and rolled on out into freedom.
Our turn. Patrick took out the ticket, slowly inserted in into the machine, it beeped, and the gate arm rose. What the holy hell was so difficult about that?! The f*ck did the last 20 minutes of my life go?! As we drove on out of the parking garage from hell, I turned to get once last glimpse of the twilight zone in disguise. I couldn’t help but feel sad for the people still stuck at the top of the ramp, waiting for the line to move along.
Please remind me to never do that again, ever.
Oh and someone should probably check on those people in the garage at the end of that line. They are probably still there and hungry and dehydrated. For sure.