Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back Under the Alexandria

The garage under the Alexandria Hotel is now going to be staffed by valets 24-7. That means that no one has to relive the experience I had when I first began parking in the Alexandria last year.

Anyway, I said good-morning and asked the guards to open the gate to the garage. They were nice and polite, as always, but they're not valets and they won't actually get the car for you. I walked onto a waiting elevator and punched the button for the basement. The doors slid open onto a narrow hallway with dirty tile floors and holes punched into the plaster walls. I walked through and into the garage, praying that my car was parked on the first basement level. The first level is pretty dark and pretty dank, but getting my car out of the first level is a straightforward job--just pull out and drive it up the ramp.

But of course, my car wasn't parked on the first level.

Oh shit, the elevator.

Not the elevator I'd just gotten out of. This was a car elevator, painted red, all metal with no door. To run it you have to hold two buttons at the same time. When you do the elevator lurches, then slowly and loudly slides down to the second basement level.

The second basement level makes the first look like paradise. It's dark, there are puddles and chunks of plaster in piles on the floor and I'm the only person down there--well, me and the guy who is hidden under a car, waiting to kill me (har har).

I found my car and backed it into the elevator--and since the elevator is narrow and I drive a 1985 Mercedes Benz with a body that's 17 feet long, this took me a few minutes. Then I pressed the two buttons again and made sure I didn't overshoot the floor, and then I pulled out of the elevator, up the ramp, paused a moment to let a man pushing a shopping cart go past, waved to the guard and finally pulled out onto Spring Street.

Since I usually have my kid with me when I park, I decided that parking at the Alexandria was a little too edgy for me and after a couple of months I moved my car to the lot at 6th and Main. But with the Alexandria offering valet parking for $130/mo, guess what? We're back, baby. The name of the blog makes sense again!

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