Saturday, August 14, 2010

Parking Lot Blues

Ramblings Post #128
This should have been a vent post, but it got so long I just turned it into a rambling joint. I am usually a slow starter, but a strong finisher. I go in and get started, taking in all the info. Then having learned what the rules are, I attack the situation wholeheartedly. Strong finish. That or I am an asshole at the start and mellow out later. One or the other. Meh.

I have an old rule: Below 10th street, I always pay for parking.

It was rule born of the reality that the two times my car has been broken into, successfully, I was trying to save a few dollars and found an un-metered spot on the street. So instead of paying the $10 or $15 to park in a lighted area, I spend $70 or so bucks to get my window fixed. Twice. For a while after that experience, I didn't even lock my the the most expensive thing in the car were the windows.

I now have a new rule : If it is a option, I will always valet.

I was just this last Thursday evening, trapped by a faulty ticket machine and personal ethics. This threw off my diet, my sleep, and the limited amount of casual entertainment I can still sneak in.

See, what had happened was, at the urging of classmates, I attended the Black Law Students Association's Mixer for the new, returning and former students. I hadn't planned on going, the diet keeps you pretty hemmed in, but as about 35% of law is knowing other lawyers ( the rest is split between knowing the law and knowing procedure) I realized I needed to make the effort. They held it at Shout in Midtown, around the corner from Atlanta's Thursday night party nexus - the Crescent Ave & 12th Street Lick.

Sidenote - On Thursday night, There are 5 clubs hopping on that one block. And the "scenery" is spectacular.

But I eschewed all that, because I'm dedicated. *cough* So, because I drive a "bucket" and am a little self conscious about it, I parked at this lot next to the Four Seasons and walked up the block instead of using the restaurant's valet. The Mixer is a nice little affair, there aren't all that many black law students anyway, and it was a chance to catch up with a few folks I hadn't seen since springtime. I ended up meeting a few practicing attorneys who explained a few realities I probably wouldn't have learned anywhere else, cards were exchanged, and I ended up staying a little longer than I planned. But that's okay.

Or it was until I got back to my car and the little ticket reader kept saying invalid card, and wouldn't read how much I owed.

>So I pushed the assistance button, which went to voicemail.

>There was no attendant. I re-parked my car.

>I called the number on the sign, but got the corporate voice directory.

>I walked around the corner to the next lot to see if it was the same company but it wasn't. The guys from this rival lot told me there just had to be a lost ticket button, which would let you pay the maximum amount. I walked back, checked the machine, there was no button.

>I inquired at the Four Seasons, they were legally bound not to get involved.

>The guard at the Marriott wouldn't even speak to me.

>I used my phone to look online, and found three or four other numbers for the parking lot company, all of which went unanswered.

>I looked at my ticket and found another number, which reached a live person. Finally.

>I explained my predicament, and she said she'd call an attendant. Nobody answered her calls.

>She decided she could let me out, if I could call through the pay box assistance line. It continued to go to voice mail.

>I played brick breaker on my phone while she called around again, looking for an attendant. I played for an hour.

>She finally got someone on the phone, who suggested it get the Four Seasons to let me out through the bus entrance. Well, the city of Atlanta was doing road maintenance and had torn up the sidewalk. There currently is no bus entrance. I would have had to drive over rubble in my 2004 POS.

> about 1:45am...roughly three hours after I intended to leave, I get a guy who tells me to get one of the cabbies to pull up and get a ticket, give it to me and use that to get out. All the cabbies think it's illegal despite the fact that we have permission.

So at 2am, I just pay THE FIRST HOMELESS GUY I'VE SEEN ALL NIGHT (amazing, I know) hold the bar up while I drive under. I call the nice phone lady who had tried for so long to let her know how I got out, so if they look at the security tapes they'll understand.

So, I intended to be home at between 10 and 11pm. I ended up getting home at 2:20am or so. No dinner. Sweaty - I wasn't going to run the AC in the parking lot, gas prices. Frustrated at the ineptitude.

Now, the funny part was, I was trapped by my own ethics. I could have gone under the gate at the start. Been home and dry at 11: 20. I could have moved the cones and gotten over the broken sidewalk, possibly. A few ways I could have done it. BUT, as a budding legal professional, that is an ethics issue. If you're going to try the law, you can't break the law. It's like a Rule. So I used every reasonable effort to get out without breaking a rule, until they gave me permission to do so. Which cost me three hours.

This is gonna take some getting used to.

Next time, I valet.

Let'em laugh.

Barkeep. Water. And a Five hour energy shot. Classes start next week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always motivated by you, your views and way of thinking, again, appreciate for this nice post.

- Norman