Nothing a quick crank of the steering wheel (yes, quick. It's a half tonne. Those things are spor-- tea.) into a gas station couldn't remedy in a nano second. The guy with the orange mohawk and pierced everypart was surprisingly helpful. I was grateful that he pointed me in the right direction before the large man who had peed himself quite made it to the counter to barter for cigarrettes. Or knife the guy. I didn't stick around long enough to find out.
350 St Mary.
There's the parkade.
Have you ever noticed how big a half-tonne is? They really shouldn't use the word "half" on a vehicle like that. Apparently, I made the height restrictions though, because those plywood side bits on the box held fast. After some savvy sharp underground parkade style turns, I slid into the first available parking stall and made my way into the Delta.
hmmmmm...... The room was reserved under the name "Dianna". I've never actually met Dianna, but we do share a friend. Who turned forty. Who we wanted to mutually celebrate.
But when I failed to produce a surname for the said Dianna, I don't think the hotel attendant cared that I had heard of Dianna, or shared a friend with her, or wanted to eat some cake with anyone of any age whatsoever.
My cell phone?
Uncharged. (anyone seen my charging cable? Anyone?)
Employ credit card to telephone town faraway from whence my friend and her friends had driven from. Interrogate her family and make wild promises if they divulge the surname of the mysterious Dianna.
Re-approach the lobby with head held high and necessary information at hand.
Am rewarded with less suspicion and breathe a little easier with hotel room number in reach. Plunge hand into pocket and pull out stub that reads: Place On Dash Of Vehicle.
Begin to suspect that I may be the biggest loser who ever walked the face of the earth.
Proceed with celebratory measures.
And Baked Expectations.
But all the while have poorly repressed phantom thoughts of a farm truck deep in the bowels of a parkade. Convince several friends that accompaniment to this underworld will develop their character, exercise their respiratory capacities, and prove to me their undying devotion. Slip my hand into my pocket to retrieve parking slip. Come up empty.
Put truck in reverse. Successfully maneuver large boxy vehicle out of spot. Find exit. Begin to perspire ever so slightly, remembering the absence of the parking stub, which ought to have been left on the dash if the biggest loser in all the world hadn't been part of this particular story.
Pull up to parkade cashier upright-coffin-like-closet-thingie. Wish I had my parking stubby. Casually glance at the price list: evening rate: $5.00 Day rate: $10.00 Lost Tickets: $25.05.
Glance up at large red sign in creepy-cashier-box-type-dwelling:
"Attendant Temporarily Unavailable. Back In Five Minutes".
Shut off large rural type vehicle.
With a bill of $25.05 soon to come my way, I'd best save what fuel I could.
Wait five minutes.
Wait another five minutes. (I'm not making any of this up)
Notice the occasional vehicle enter the parkade and speculate on the possibility of squeezing out the "in" door before it folds down on the wooden box, first crushing the truck with a sickening crunch, then closing in on me. Remember that I have left loved ones at home who might miss me, and who might at this very moment be wondering why I've not returned home.
Begin to speculate on dying in a parkade from too much stale air and exhaust.
Imagine bad guys coming.
Hallucinate a panting and rabid Cujo-esque hound slathering his putrid drool across my windshield and pounding in my passenger side window with his brute strength fueled by a relentless appetite for my blood.
Try to find my confidence.
Engage in a fantasy about making a scene with the cashier when he does indeed arrive. It has been twenty minutes of waiting beside a five minute sign to pay a twenty-five dollar fine. If I threaten to report him for taking more than five minutes to pee, he will have to let me out of the parkade for free, I reason. I try to imagine being assertive and firm in my respectful and intimidating place behind the wheel of a 1981 farm truck. With a wooden box.
The honking of a horn behind me breaks my reverie.
Poor girl in a respectable car behind me can't see the sign and thinks I've passed out behind the wheel.
I hop out of my
She shouts back: "Just drive forward- there's no one there, and the door will open as you approach it!"
Which indeed it did.