Saturday, February 19, 2005

So I Swerve Off Grand Ave Into the Entry...

...and ask if I can self-park. Not at the L.A. Biltmore, I’m told, so I hand my car off to the valet. At $24 a day, parking is the least they can do for me. At $24 a day, they should return it hand-waxed and detailed. Too late, it occurs to me I could have parked for free in North Hollywood and taken the subway the last ten miles. But this is Los Angeles. Most of us have heard rumor of this subway thing; we’re just not sure it really exists.

Up in my room ten minutes later, the phone rings and a heavily-accented voice asks if my car has a kill switch.


I go tearing back down, thinking what imbecilic moron can’t start a car? Isn’t this pretty much the sum total of his job? Well, that...and getting it safely to a parking spot?

I see my lonely car blocking one of only two lanes and start getting nervous. Sliding behind the wheel, I turn the key in the ignition. Click, click, click.


“I think it’s the starter,” the imbecilic morons says to me.

A vision of my car trailing behind a tow truck sends dread through my veins. And towing it where? All the way back to my mechanic? Does my AAA policy reach that far?

“Where’s your battery?” the imbecilic moron asks.

I pop the trunk and begin shoving the debris of my life aside, praying the guy doesn’t notice the underpants I cram into a crevice. Finally, I unearth the battery, he wheels up a portable charger, and makes the proper connections. “Try it,” he says.

With my heart in my throat, I turn the ignition again, and....eureka!!! Houston, we have lift-off!

I jump from the car. My hero and I exchange smiles. “Just park it,” I tell him, “and I’ll deal with it on Sunday.” Knowing the problem’s not something dreadful like the starter, I can continue my weekend without too much worry.

As I write this, it’s Saturday morning. Outside, lightning flashes and thunder crashes.

Welcome to L.A., I think. Where it never, ever, rains and the sun is always shining.

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