Trapped in the parking garage

Driving in a parking garage makes me feel how I’d feel if I were R. Kelly in the “hip hopera” Trapped in the Closet—confined in a small, dark space and slightly embarrassed about my performance.

The confinement part seems to be the worst. And also the feeling that you might spiral into the depths of hell if you miss the Exit sign.

Parking garages always seem to be disappointing ends to any adventure. For example, I love grocery shopping and our weekly pilgrammage to Trader Joe’s. However, this trip usually ends in one big clusterfuck of honking horns, brake lights and exhaust fumes. The euphoria of cost savings quickly evaporates the moment Joe starts yelling at the car in front of us. My mortification also ensues.

I also recently witnessed a coworker’s breakdown inside of a parking garage. Abby was calm and composed as she spent 10 hours walking participants through a usability test. If you’ve seen her poker face during these tests, you’d be convinced that her composure is an art form. She cracked the moment she tried to leave the parking garage. I took pictures.

Parking garage meltdown

"Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance."

The machine wouldn’t take Abby’s credit card. And neither would the next machine. After pressing the help button, the machine repeated, “Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance. Please wait for assistance” for at least three solid minutes. Finally, a woman who clearly was working from another city, state or country comes on over the speaker and tries to soothe Abby’s frustrations. We finally were allowed to exit after trying two more machines and being coerced by the office manager to come inside and pay. Exasperated sighs all around.

Parking garages are another reason I don’t drive often. That, and the fact that I can’t park. My friend Jo/Johanna/joinseattle reminded me today of an angry napkin note that someone left on my car in college that said “Learn how to park!” We reminsced about this after she told me about the website www.youparklikeanasshole.com and pondered whether the creator of the website is also the author of said note. See, parking does make people lose it.

Thanks to Abby for humoring me and letting me post the photo. I only wish I would have had a voice recorder..hehe.

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Filed under chicago parking, city life, drivers, frustrations

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