I hate parking garages. I have always hated them and never wanted to use them, danged mazes that they are. I remember in 2006 driving from Montreal through New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington DC without mishap, only to get lost in a parking garage in Myrtle Beach. I just couldn’t find my way out, and it was a long time before Aaron let me live that one down.
However, that was nothing compared to what happened more recently. Being a middle aged single mom, I had no other way to meet men than to frequent internet dating sites. I did this for a few years, and met many memorable men, all at a restaurant called Scores in St Eustache, Quebec. Enter Roger aka Regor, as he was known on the Christian Cafe. He drove all the way from Detroit, Michigan in a great big black Cadillac just to meet me. That car was so big you could play house in it, and I was a little embarrassed to be seen in it, if the truth be known.
We went to visit downtown Montreal in that BBC (big black caddy), and when we arrived at Old Montreal to take in the sights, there was nowhere to park except in, you guessed it: a parking garage. I don’t know about you, but I find that the space for turning in those parking garages leaves a little to be desired, and this one was no exception. As Murphy’s Law would dictate, we had to park on the fifth floor. The car was too big to make the turns to go up to the next level, so Roger Dear had to make ten three point turns to get to the top. I was dying. At the top, there was a machine where you get a ticket, and on returning, you pay there at the machine, take your receipt and stick it in the machine at the ground level in order to get out.
Ok, we made it to the top, and then went on to enjoy the sights of Old Montreal at -30 degrees Celsius. I just wanted to go home. Well, finally it was time to go home and we found ourselves once again on the fifth floor of the parking garage, where Roger paid at the little machine, took his receipt, and then we proceeded to do ten more three point turns to get to the bottom.
At the bottom, it was a simple matter of putting the cardboard receipt in the slot and the big arm would go up, letting us out. Roger could not get the paper receipt in the slot and I kept telling him that he should have had a card to put there. But he didn’t. After many tries, he went back up to the fifth floor to see if the correct receipt was there. It was not. Then he tried walking in to the garage to get another receipt. Well Roger was not as big as his BBC so there was no receipt coming from there. I tried to lift the big arm up to no avail. We called the French operator on the little intercom, and all she could tell us was to put the receipt in the slot. We called Maintenance to see if they could help us. Only if there was a problem with the system, they said. It was getting late and the temperature was dropping. Imagine, to be a prisoner in a parking garage, of all places! Finally in desperation I asked Roger whether or not he thought I should call 911. He said I should indeed.
Wow! My first call to 911!! I explained the problem to the kind lady on the phone. She had one question for me.
“Can you walk out of the parking garage?”
“Well, I can’t send the police if you are able to walk out.”
I asked her if it would make a difference if I called the police myself.
“Maam, we ARE the police.”
“Well what if I call CAA?”
” Just a minute, I’ll see.”
And while she was gone to “see”, Roger Dear found the missing card….in his pocket, right where he had put it. I quickly hung up on the kind lady, Roger Dear put the right card in the right slot; the big metal arm went up, and we made a dash out of that parking garage. Thank God there were not other cars behind us being delayed and worse, witnessing our predicament. It has been said that the primary difference between intelligence and stupidity is that there are limits to intelligence. I concur.