“Where’s Joe’s Parking?” I frantically asked my 11-year-old grandson, Hudson, busy looking for cheeseburger joints and Pokémon. Sometimes, not so grand. “Help me find it!” I beg him. Honestly, a colonoscopy is more enjoyable than parking at LAX.
I’m dodging schizo shuttles, king-of-the-road buses, cranky limo drivers who haven’t had their Wheaties, and laser-focused regulars who haven’t had enough of anything except aggravation.
“There it is!” Hudson proclaimed. Yay, Hawkeyes!
“You are hired,” I tell him. You and your appetite for fried things are still in the will.
Ah, little did I know what joy was before us. Deftly, oh so deftly, I continued to navigate into the lot around random cars parked by Mr. Magoo. Or by someone who believes in the “Ah screw it, just leave it here” theorem.
Besides, I had my hot valet ticket in hand purchased in advance by Mr. Fix-it and was determined to get my money’s worth.
It appears that no one gave a rat’s robot about my hot valet ticket. Or my car. Or my bright, charming morning personality that has a very short shelf life.
And as I gazed across the picturesque horizon of cement, casino billboards and well-loved chewing gum, I saw no sign of any shuttle or any human employee-type from anywhere, let alone Joe. Where’s Joe? Where’s the beef?
Hudson suggests we walk to the terminal. Sure, we walked on the moon, so why not drag our suitcases through this mess, why not schvitz and schvet and lube my menopausal thighs through toxic fumes and automotive chaos to the airline delight of our choice? Why not? Sounds grand.
No. We did not leave our sweet home to travel to Washington, D.C., and look like we were sprayed by fire hoses on our way to our nation’s capital.
When at last the shuttle appeared, we were admonished by our cheery driver to “get the lead out and find a seat.” Oh and by the way, “We don’t drop at the departure terminal any longer,” said the dear darling delight. “You need to find your way there.”
See ya and don’t let the shuttle door hit ya in the butt on the way out.
“There’s an escalator, Yaya!”
Oh Hudson, you are so grand, my grandson. You are marvelous just like me. OK, let’s rock and roll.
And so, we rolled into Washington, D.C., for five days of adventure, historic discovery, baseball and our version of “Swan Lake.”
Do you think Thomas Jefferson, while a little open-minded, could have envisioned that people would travel to his classic elegant memorial via a fiberglass swan with pedals and no reverse gear?
The only thing this cruise was missing was the cabana boy and a piña colada. But we did it. We pedaled to TJ’s bungalow, scoped out the Washington Monument over our shoulder, waved to Martin Luther King and headed back for a pretty smooth landing at the dock. Seems our Joe’s Parking driver could take a tip from us.
Imagine what it’s like taking your 11-year-old grandson to Washington. Nationals baseball, the Capitol, the Mall, the Metro, many Smithsonians, the Kennedy Center. It was just out of this world for these two on the road. But of course, everything good comes to an end. Unwillingly, we headed for LAX.
Upon arrival, we waited patiently under the red Hotel Shuttles sign, at attention, as we were told. For Joe. His parking. For any sorry soldier. We are here and, like the old gray mare, ain’t what we used to be.
“There’s the shuttle, Yaya!” Hudson yelled, so we waved, we hollered. We yelled. As it disappeared into the hinterland.
OK. That’s OK, Hud, I reassured him. We’ll get the next one. Which appeared about 10 minutes later, so we waved. We hollered. We even mooned him. No one cared.
No luck. So I called Joe’s, and the shelf life of my sweet morning disposition had expired along with my patience. “Oh we’re so sorry,” they said.
Eventually, the sun rises, the sun sets and the shuttle showed. Are you surprised to learn it took 30 minutes to find my car?
At last, we made it home after a sparkling adventure in Washington, and best of all, “hanging” with a cool grandkid. A really grand one, if I don’t say so myself.
Elizabeth Kirby has been around a long time—a resident of Thousand Oaks since 1983, whose glass is usually half full if she can find it. Reach her at email@example.com or kirby. firstname.lastname@example.org. To read all her columns online, check out www.facebook.com/#!/ elizabethkirbyandhotflashes.