Tonight, I decide run out for a quick burrito from Baja Fresh. It's only 5 minutes away, but I immediately start strategizing the parking situation. There's a lot across from the Tar Pits Museum, which has closed for the evening. Yes. That will have spaces. That's my plan.
I hop in my car, within 5 minutes I'm at the parking lot. Wilshire Blvd. is deserted. The museums are closed. Businesses are shut. There are no pedestrians on the sidewalks. And yet: *THERE ARE NO PARKING SPOTS*. (sigh) Of course. I've lived here long enough to expect this.
Getting a choice parking spot right in front of your destination is like being that one sperm who gets through: you never thought you had a chance but you still circle the ovum-like lot in the hopes of being The One.
Tonight, I am not The One.
I am forced to ascend the iterative levels of a Mobius Cube Parking Garage adjacent to the lot. Level One. Level Two. Three. Four. Four. Or is it Five? How many levels are there?? All full?? Why? Sheesh.
Around and up. Around and up.
I finally find a space and park. Time elapsed: 30 minutes.
I run down, grab my grub, get my parking ticket validated (always) and head back out.
Keys in hand, I bounce off the curb toward the Seven Circles of Hell Parking Facility; the smells of steaky goodness wafting to my nose. I peek in my bag and notice that some casual flirting with the Counter Chica has earned me an extra scoop of warm tortilla chips. Sweet.
The woman stops. Her passenger window buzzes down. She leans over and asks me, "Are you leaving?"
I respond casually, "Yes, but I'm parked way up there." I point to the Escher Painting Parking Structure.
"Oh", she says.
Buzzzzzzzzz Window up.
To get to my car, I have to walk around the ground-level parking lot. Being lost in my jealousy of their premium parking spots, at first I don't I notice that, as I'm walking, the Mercedes is stalking me. Maintaining a consistent 15 feet distance. Is she following me?
I test my theory. I stop.
I walk faster. She follows, shadowing me.
I stop and turn to face her.
She pulls a bit closer. Buzzzzz. Window down. "You're not parked down here?"
"No. I'm parked up there", I gesture toward the Evil Edifice That We Have Come To Hate.
At this point I'm more amused than annoyed.
All that is about to change.
She asks, "Are you sure?"
Wha? Is she for serious?
"Am I sure of what, ma'am", my condescending tone ringing through.
"That you're not parked down here."
"I'm fairly certain ma'am."
At my annoyed replied: Window up. Buzzzzz.
BUT SHE DOESN'T MOVE.
Time for fun.
I *could* just run up to my car and go home and have my dinner. But NO, I have to screw around with this annoying, idiot of a person with an $80,000 luxury sedan.
I start to slowly saunter around the lot, keys jingling.
I pick a car: a Prius, and pretend to insert a key into the door.
On cue, the woman puts on her signal. She wants to be The One.
After a moment, I fake a puzzled look and walk around the ENTIRE parking lot with the Mercedes in tow. I glance around like a lost tourist. My expression is that of a strange man in a strange land.
I select a different vehicle. A pick-up this time. Nissan, I think. Keys extended. Her blinker goes on. She wants to be The One.
I take a long, dramatic beat and turn to her, "I don't remember if I'm up there or down here! Damn it! Let's keep looking."
She doesn't look at me. She stares STRAIGHT AHEAD. Chin up, eyes glazed. I am not a person to her. I am merely a parking space.
I stroll around a bit more. Mind you, it takes a good three minutes or so to walk around the lot. All this time, I am *amazed* that she continues to follow.
I go back to the first car, the Prius. I jingle the keys. Her blinker goes on. She really thinks she will be The One. Wow.
Dramatic pause, frustrated gesture, I say, "I don't think these are the right keys! Car won't open. Maybe the clicker's dead? Do you want to check my clicker?"
At this, she's fed up. Perhaps disgusted by my "clicker" offer. She punches the gas and spins around to the other side of the lot.
Satisfied, I take the elevator to my car.
Around, and around, and around… For 10 minutes, I corkscrew down through the lot and drive toward the exit.
Then, in the corner of my eye, I see it. Parked right in *front* of the Baja Fresh entrance. The silver Mercedes.
Well, I'll be damned. Turns out, she was The One after all.