|Why, yes, I am. What gave it away?|
Had there been a sense of camaraderie, of hey, we're all in this together, I might've enjoyed the collective hostility. But it was all pretty Darwinian in there. When a passenger in the car in front of me got out to investigate, and came back to report to his friends, I yelled, "What's going on?" He ignored me. If he knew, he wasn't sharing. It was every car for itself in that parking lot. I was on my own, baby, with little cell phone or radio reception. All I had was the sound of my own kvetching to keep me company.
Finally, about 35 minutes into my quest to escape parking lot hell, a woman in beige khakis and a white polo shirt walked by, projecting a hint of authority. "Excuse me, do you work here?" I called to her. "Yes," she said. "I've been sitting here forever, inhaling toxic car fumes. What's going on?" "I don't know. I just got here." But that didn't stop her from blaming the new girl in the booth. "I'll go see what's going on. Sit tight," Miss Khaki Pants said. She never came back. Another 10 minutes crawled by before I found myself at the pay booth. "I'm not paying!" I barked. The new gal shrugged. Big whoop. Whatever. "And I'm never parking here again!" I added. The new girl didn't seem too upset about not seeing me again. The fact that I'd just spent 45 minutes trapped in a twisted version of my favorite Seinfeld episode -- "The Parking Garage," when Jerry and the gang can't find their car -- didn't hit me till later. "We're like rats in some experiment," George says. My problem was a little different. I found my car, but was stuck in it, indefinitely. Just part of some weird cosmic test, I guess. Oh well. That's L.A. for ya. Onto the next episode.