February 22, 2012
20 Minutes in Hell
There are moments during the course of any given day when I wonder if I am in hell. Sitting in traffic on the 405 freeway, watching reality television, teaching my son to parallel park. Yesterday however was special, because I am certain I actually saw the devil. He was laughing and taking great joy in observing the torment of myself and others in the parking lot of the Studio City Trader Joe’s.
Important to note that in the ancient language of Sumerian, “Trader Joe’s” translates into “you will never find parking”. I’m driving around, waiting for the magical moment when I see a person with a cart approaching their car. I thought it was my lucky day because I managed to find a cart to stalk after only 7 minutes of cruising the lot like a vulture circling over an almost dead rabbit in the desert.
I approach and put on my blinker as I watch a lovely woman, who appeared to be a solid 4’10”, roll her cart up to the trunk and start unloading. She finishes up, puts the cart away, gives me a wave, and gets ready to head out. I’m stoked because I know I will now be able to get in and out in less than 15 minutes. I’ve got a spot, and a list, so this will be great. No need at all to be stressed!
She starts to pull out and a car is approaching from the other direction so I pull a little closer just to ensure they know it’s mine. I smile with the knowledge that I have beaten the odds and gotten a spot. My joy and personal celebration was a little premature as it was then that my twenty minutes in hell began. The devil appeared, sat on the hood of my car, and began to laugh.
The woman who smiled at me with a look of congratulations at getting her spot, then proceeded to do a mindboggling 16 point turn to get out of the spot. 16 turns. 1. 6. Sixteen. Dieciséis. I have never seen anything like it. She would back up an inch, turn her wheels, and go forward over, and over, and over again. After 4 times I laughed and thought it might take her 6 tries!
Six would have been great! By now I’m fascinated with how she is getting out of the spot and I can’t move. She actually had a crowd as we all looked on in amazement as she tried to pull her HONDA ACCORD out of a grocery store parking spot. Oh yes, it was an Accord, not a Hummer. I wanted to laugh but the sight of the devil on my hood was a little unsettling.
I was so confused by what I was watching that at one point I almost got out of my car to see if it was my mother driving. Could she have come from Canada to surprise me and was stopping to get a few things? Did this poor woman have any idea that she the worst driver in Los Angeles? Was the manager of Trader Joe’s watching on a surveillance camera inside and laughing?
It truly was fascinating. She had all the room in the world and all she needed to do was back out. In retrospect I should have recorded it and put it on YouTube it was that funny. I’m guessing the devil did, and is watching it on a loop right now. The devil hangs out in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s so enjoy your trip to hell, don’t forget to buy avocados, and keep the faith.