A while ago, I mocked the name of a horror movie set in a parking structure. The parking structure gods came after me for it.
The scene was the first floor of the One Wilshire parking lot in Downtown L.A. on Friday night. I came in, paid my flat fee, and went off to celebrate a friend’s birthday. When I returned to the parking structure a few hours later, I found myself locked in—the giant steel gate blocked my exit and I couldn’t get out.
I asked the security guys to open the gate. They said they would and shortly thereafter the gate opened at the top of the ramp. What they didn’t do was raise the wooden arm that blocked the exit lane that led to the security gate.
I figured my instructions needed to be more explicit, so I left my car and walked back up to the security guard. “Hey, you forgot to raise the arm.”
“Uh, well, ma’am, we can’t find the key,” the security guard informed me. “Someone took it.”
“How do you expect us to get out,” I asked. He shrugged.
I called the building’s management company. They’re closed until Monday. I called the emergency number—it referred me to the security guard who shrugged. I asked for any emergency number he had. “Uh, I don’t have one,” he fessed up.
I thought briefly about calling the fire department, and then I saw the security “supervisor” trying keys. He tried about 50 before he decided none of them worked. I guess he wanted to check if maybe he had unlocking authority he hadn’t been told about.
Finally, after half an hour, a maintenance guy found a wrench and unscrewed the arm. With the last turn of his wrench, the arm raised and let loose the eight of us who waited.
I swore Friday’s trip was the last one to One Wilshire, even as I vowed to keep my future mocking of parking structures to a minimum.