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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Why I Am The Biggest Loser Who Ever Walked Planet Earth.

I had to borrow the family vintage-but-not-in-a-good-way farm truck to drive downtown to meet some friends for a fortieth birthday shindig. Not that I wasn't willing to do that for a dear friend. It wasn't any trouble- mostly a pleasure; what with the plywood box built onto the back of the hog-mobile that totally obscured my rear view mirror and the fact that the Delta Hotel inexplicably got moved by several blocks without anyone sending me the memo.

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.
No problem.

No parking.
No problem.
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?
At home.
Uncharged. (anyone seen my charging cable? Anyone?)

Pay Phone.
No problem.

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.
Choose denial.

Proceed with celebratory measures.
Eat Masawwa.
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.
Consider napping.
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 high horse benchseat, down to the dusty concrete, and with my confident, assertive arm, wave her attention to the "five minute" sign.

She shouts back: "Just drive forward- there's no one there, and the door will open as you approach it!"

Which indeed it did.


mmichele said...

You're the biggest WINNER! You saved 25 bucks!

Next time, park the truck at my house and walk over. SO much less stressful. Honest.

tanya said...

I've done that. Insert parking card, insert credit card, processing...processing....during eye roll of how long this "processing" is taking, notice that the arm of the gate has been up the whole time, but I still have to wait for it to finish processing so I can get my card back. I feel your pain, it's even worse when you've actually shelled out for your free parking.

Anonymous said...

teehheee haha ha that is a yummy funny story girl!
Boler B.

gophercheeks said...

I have tears... seriously.

Crystal said...


Anonymous said...

That is too much! We got a real kick out of that story. BBNM

joyce said...

a normal person would keep this safely repressed. A normal person would notice that the arm is up, and would recognize that this means the door will also open.

But I get to envision the whole lot of you, laughing with me in a dark, dusty parkade!

(thanks for coming with me...)

Rosa said...

I am laughing sooooo hard right now and I am sooooo sorry. Dianna and I thought that we should watch and see if you made it out o.k. but didn't want to linger in that parkade any longer than we had to. Thank you so much for adding another great story.

Linda said...

You are no loser. Just think of all the things you learned on that fateful evening.

it's a gong show... said...


Roo said...

i'm snorting joyce.
ain't that a pretty picture.
not as pretty as the picture YOU just painted.


ps thanks for holding my love bug this morning.

Anonymous said...

ha ha I love you Joyce!

Anonymous said...

Your nuts...need to publish this one's a killer : ) L-lew

Judy said...

Too funny, Joyce. Too too funny.

I recall, many years ago, my husband driving into a parking lot, the arm coming down, and his realizing that this was no longer the ER parking at the hospital that I intended to soon give birth to his child in.
NOTHING would make that arm go up. NOTHING. Unless, of course, I DROVE while HE lifted the arm.
Just where are Aaron and Hur when you need them?

Anonymous said...

Oh my....that is wayyyyyy to funny! MK

jenn said...

Oh my! That was hilarious, tears were dripping off my chin. Best story I have heard in a long time!

joyce said...

here I have been; minus internet.... suffering in my void of a life.

I'm sneeking a moment at a friend's to check these comments! (anyone who has sent me an e-mail since Saturday noon.... sorry... will try to access those too at some point.)

Anonymous said...

That's a common rural person embarrassment. I regularly humiliate myself downtown. That has happened to me three or four times which also happens to be the exact amount of times I have been driving alone downtown. And that is why I hate to drive in cities.

When you don't do it often, you just don't know how these things work and either they keep changing the rules all the time, or I forget each time how it was meant to be done before - not that I ever have managed to do it right, of course, but after having been told how wrong it was, I try to remember the right way.

It's very funny though - when it doesn't happen to you.

Another embarrassing incident was years ago when the door handle came off my car in a parkade. My sister was driving. We looked at the door handle and then intelligently came to the conclusion that we could roll down the window and climb out that way.

Fortunately, she only had her head and shoulders out of the car when we realized - duh - that she could just grab the door handle outside the car and get out that way. (It was a 2-door and the passenger door had been smashed shut and wouldn't open)

Can't believe I am confessing that story.

lettuce said...

Eat. Laugh. Love.

sounds good

the rest of the story sounds scary.

christine said...

i love how you write.

this was amazing.
great stuff.
please let me know when you are published

joyce said...

to the anonymous person who shared the crawling out the window story- that is AWESOME! Don't you feel lighter or something?
(great story)

And thank you, Christine.
You are wonderful.