Big City Parking… Not for the faint of heart!

I’ve always loved the Jeff Foxworthy’s comments about “You know you’ve lived in Michigan when….”
– When you don’t think twice about pointing to a place on your hand when explaining where you grew up, went to school, currently reside, etc..
– When you install security lights on your home and garage, and proceed to leave both unlocked.
– When you know people that have hit more than one deer with their car, in one season.

These comments and more, have always made me laugh because they ring true… I still point to my hand when explaining where I grew up. However having moved to Texas, and subsequently to the burbs of Washington D.C, I have a new found appreciation for the oddities locals consider commonplace.

For example….
“If you’ve ever gotten truly LOST in a parking garage, you might live near Washington D.C.”

I have a new found… and very PROFOUND, respect for this adage. Yes, I made it up… I’m thinking about sending it to Jeff Foxworthy for any future comedy tours he may make! Either that or penning a manuscript and sending it to the writers for LOST to see if they have any interest in a new pilot T.V. show…

We’ve lived here for just about 6 weeks now, and this past Thursday was my first weekday, peak hour, adventure out of the house for a lunch meeting with a few local Dell employees that also work remote in the region. I was excited. I was looking cute, and made sure I left myself enough time (or so I thought) to make it to the restaurant. Upon making it downtown, I quickly realized the magnitude of the blessing it is to work from home… Every parking meter for 2 miles was occupied, and in my quest to look cute, the heels I was wearing didn’t feel up to a hike! I rolled my eyes and decided I would pay the high cost of the parking garage for the ‘simplicity & proximity’ to my destination.

I have never been more wrong in my life!

I got my ticket and rolled into the garage… made the first turn, and the garage extended as far as the eye could see. I went a few rows down and made a turn, after all I wanted to stay close to the entrance so I could get back to the restaurant.

No spots…. another turn… no spots… 5 more turns… still no spots…

I see someone walking to their car… roll my window down, “Are you close?”… “yes just one row over” was their replay, I look around… all ONEWAY’s, think briefly about ignoring the sign, until a car comes speeding out of nowhere, and I realize I will likely cause an accident by doing so.

After a few more turns I find my spot, park, and scurry off to lunch, not really giving it much of a second thought. I know now, that I should have been dropping bread crumbs the entire way!

I make it back to the car and begin making turns to follow the exit signs… Little did I know there were 3 different types of exits: Owners exits (for those who have purchased spots), Permit exits for govt. employees, and the Public exit where you can pay for your ticket and leave. I came upon my first exit, and had to annoy the two cars behind me forcing everyone to back up and let me turn around as I didn’t have a permit and the barricade would not lift for me.

20 minutes later, I am still stuck in this parking garage.

Up until that point I had never considered myself a claustrophobic, however sitting in my Cx7 with the roof of the garage mere inches above my car, and cement pylons all around me, and I’ve neglected to mention up until this point, that the garage is UNDERGROUND… yeah my anxiety levels started rising quickly. It didn’t help matters that other cars seemed to zip to/fro and my first attempt at trying to follow one of these ‘veterans’ of the underground maze only resulted in my delving further into the belly of the beast, which I didn’t realize until they nestled their vehicle into their designated parking space and went blithely on their way.

The anxiety ratcheted up about 10 notches when I thought about calling Kevin, just for moral support, and realized the thousands of tons of cement around me would prevent any attempt to contact the outside world… This was about the time I put my car in park in the middle of the garage and started freaking out for a bit.

I pulled myself together and vowed to find ANY exit by following the signs, and if it happened to be a permit or owner exit, well I would wait for someone to leave, explain my plight, and plead if necessary for them to help me exit. Luckily I stumbled upon the correct exit about 10 minutes later, and began talking to the parking attendant as if she was the first person I’d seen in days! She politely explained that it was not an uncommon experience as this particular garage I had chosen was 3 stories under ground and spanned 4 city blocks. FOUR CITY BLOCKS!!!

I’ve made a mental note, NEVER to return to that garage for ANY reason, and am now even more thankful to be sitting comfortably at my ‘home’ office enjoying my lunch anxiety free in my yoga pants and a comfy tee!

Whatcha think???? I'd love to know!