I grew up in Suburbia where there are these things called parking lots.
Most of my knowledge about valet parking came from Clueless where Cher is like, “Why learn to park? Everywhere you go has valet!” Cher had perfect hair and that amazing contraption in her closet, so to my young mind, valet parking seemed very sexy and cosmopolitan.
Who remembers this thing? I still want it.
Now I live in Los Angeles, kind of close to where Cher lived, and I get my car valeted every day. But sadly it is not because I’m spending my days shopping in Beverly Hills, no, it’s just that my office building doesn’t have a big enough parking structure to accommodate all its employees.
At first I felt all fancy getting out of my car, handing my keys to a stranger, and walking away without a glance, but I quickly learned that I was very wrong and there is nothing fancy about it AT ALL.
It’s more like I’m playing a game of hide and seek in a 6-floor parking structure.
See after I hand off my car I am at the mercy of the valet dudes, who take off at 5 PM and leave all our keys at the front desk. They unintelligibly scribble the location of your car onto a ticket, and you must use their hieroglyphics to find it.
Here is my ticket from last night:
So it’s on the roof, I can see that.
Can’t tell what row. Some sort of side.
And the stall? Ah, looks like it’s in wallnut. WHAT IS THE WALLNUT STALL? WHAT CAN IT MEAN? ALSO IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE WALNUT!
I find myself in the elevator with a guy from work who is suffering the same plight.
“Agh, can you read this?” He shows me his ticket.
“I think it’s a 5. Or an S? Or wait, maybe it’s a P.”
We reach my floor so I step out and offer a grim, “good luck.” We live in fear of this every day of our lives.
One day the handwriting on my ticket was so unreadable I threw the useless thing away and resorted to blindly pointing my car clicker and listening for a honk. On the fifth floor, I heard it! Above me?
I bounded up to the sixth floor. Clicked my clicker. Heard a honk. Didn’t see my car.
I went back to the fifth floor. Repeated the process. No dice.
After trying multiple floors with no success, I finally went back to the top and started walking the entire structure, blindly clicking my clicker every few seconds like an idiot, positive that someone somewhere was watching me and laughing. A poor, disillusioned Angeleno, cursing the writers of Clueless.
Eventually I found my car on the second floor, just a short thirty minutes after I started looking. Ugh.
I get it, first world problems, whatever, but it’s just like, can this be the best system? Could we not figure something else out in the year 2015? Maybe some sort of GPS thing, or a mobile app, or even a simple, legible text message?
Better yet, can I just park my own car?
I will give up all my dreams of being Cher.
I will give up the perfect hair and the closet contraption. I will even get down on the asphalt in my Alaia, if you just tell me I never have to valet park again.