Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unknown Pleasures

Like almost every other person in Los Angeles, on Saturday I went to Santa Monica for an event called Glow. Santa Monica isn't set up for that size of crowd. The city powers-that-be advertised Glow as an all-night event, from dusk til dawn, and it was touted as Burning Man in the city. But it lacked the art. And later it lacked the music.

I should have turned my car around when I saw traffic backing up from the 4th Street exit about a mile onto the 10. But no, I was positive my parking karma would come through. Nope. Not only were all the parking lots next to the Promenade full, the Santa Monica Police Department was busy putting up barricades everywhere, essentially turning the streets by the beach into one big evolving maze.

I brilliantly thought of parking at the Santa Monica Public Library, which was eight blocks from the pier. Apparently a lot of other people had this stroke of genius as well, because the only spots left were on P3, which was two floors down from street level. But getting to the event was easy enough. And when we arrived, we wondered what the big deal was. From the beach just north of the pier, the only glowing pieces to be seen were two 10-foot buoys floating about 40 feet from shore, and a misting device (about the size of a small house) that was lit up with different colored lights. Woo hoo.

There were plenty of people with glow sticks, and some with glowing light sabers, but not much else in the way of of anything worthy of calling an event "Glow". We hung out on the sand talking to friends we randomly came across until we all concluded that the event was a huge bust. At least Judah had fun running around on the sand.

When we made it back to the car, there was a line to get out of the garage. And Lily and I both had to pee. But we both agreed that we could hold it until we got home. We pulled out of our parking spot and got in line. And we moved about 1/2 a car length every 5 minutes. This, from 2 floors below street level. It was hot down on P3, and the exhaust from all the cars idling was choking us, so we had to roll our windows up. I remembered that I had forgot to bring my iPod, so I turned on the radio. Not much to hear but static when you're down two floors below street level in a concrete parking garage.

After about 30 minutes of sitting in the garage, I noticed that my gas meter was sitting on empty. And we still had one more floor to go. So I was forced to turn my engine on and off every time we moved up the exit line.

The highlight of the wait was witnessing a douchebag in a Mustang take the liberty of zooming past everyone in the wrong lane, going the wrong way. The highlight was 15 seconds after he zoomed past, when he was forced to go back down in reverse because some other suckers who were trying to park to see Glow were driving the right way in the right lane.

One hour after we began our journey from the center of the Earth, we arrived at the gate to pay. And there was only one gate in operation this night. 3 bucks flat rate parking. Just remember, next time you decide to go to ground zero for some event where all humanity will be in attendance:

- always keep a reasonable amount of fuel in your car
- bring your music
- go pee before you get in the car

Better yet, stay home. I know I will. Apparently the Santa Monica police department shut down the music at 2 am. Way to party til dawn Santa Monica.