I’ve always been a goody-goody. Never got in trouble at school. Always did my homework. Cleaned my room compulsively. Never Almost never talked back. All in all, my parents hit the good kid jackpot when I was born.
But there was this one time… I was twelve. Prime age for peer pressure persuasion. (Alliteration rocks!) I hung out a lot with this one girl; she was my gateway friend. Perhaps you also had one as a kid. We had been buddies since grade school, but I could sense that the tide was changing once junior high began. Though I was not and would never be classified as popular in school, this girl was on the brink of social status stardom. Fast-forward two years and we weren’t even talking to each other anymore, but for the moment we were still pals and that meant I was not only hanging out with her but also her other social butterfly friends. It was a double-edged sword.
These kids were kind of bad. Isn’t that how it always happens? Why can’t you be popular and have a 4.0 GPA? Never seems to turn out that way. Not to say that these kids were the devil’s offspring or anything; I never once witnessed an animal sacrifice. They just liked to steal mail. Weird, right? What’s so cool about taking someone’s mail? I didn’t get it. Most mail is just bills anyway, not to mention that it’s a federal offense. Naturally, I was nervous about this plan of action. Naturally, I remained completely silent.
We didn’t get very far. It was 2pm on a Saturday afternoon; everyone and their mother were outside. I think we made it maybe a quarter of a block before some furiously red-faced, middle-aged dude came charging after us. We all made a dash for it, yet he still managed to wrangle all four of us. I nearly soiled my shorts and threw up a little in my mouth; my body was rejecting teenage rebellion. Yet after many heated threats of corporal punishment, he finally exhausted himself and let us go without calling the cops. But lesson learned. From that day forth, I vowed never to do anything bad ever again…
Though I do enjoy a little insurrection every once in a while. I mean, seriously, who didn’t want to see the Joker stick it to Batman in The Dark Knight? And yes, I also wanted Bonnie and Clyde to live happily ever after. Same goes for Darth Vader and Michael Corleone. There’s just something about living vicariously through other people’s bad behavior; I can enjoy the mayhem minus the intestinal discomfort. Yet rarely do I cross paths with a Michael Corleone. More often it’s a dude sneaking a few free grapes in the produce aisle or some chick who thinks she can park in a red zone without getting a ticket. Yawn.
But there was this one time… Last week. After a night of dinner, drinks and three desserts – you read that correctly – my friend and I were exiting the parking garage. Since everyone in America is so cheap, and parking garages are so expensive to maintain what with all that cement and fluorescent lighting, no longer do actual human beings man these places. It’s all automated, baby.
Anyway. One exit lane was already occupied, so my friend pulled up to the other. Though while fishing for her ticket, both she and I got distracted by the commotion in the other lane. I don’t know if it was the late hour, a few too many drinks or just good ole fashioned SoCal princess entitlement, but this chick was mad. From what I could gather, the machine wasn’t accepting her credit card. Princess exited her SUV. I looked over at my friend; she immediately put our car into park.
Princess then pushed the help button a dozen times and waited, her perfectly manicured hands on her hips and designer shoe impatiently tapping the ground; within moments, we could hear the garbled voice of a phantom attendant who sounded like he had been outsourced from a bunker in Libya. Irritated, Princess told him the machine was broken. The dude told her to enter her ticket. She said she already had. The dude told her to enter her credit card. She said she already had. He told her to do it again.
“The damn thing won’t take my card!”
“Try (static) again.”
“I’ve tried a million times! It’s not working! I need someone to come out here right now and help me!”
“Please (static) try again.”
“If someone doesn’t come out here right now, I’m going to run this gate down!”
That was the end of negotiations, and for the record, I was totally Team Princess. Who hasn’t wanted to mow down one of those gates at some time or another? (Especially after paying $24 for two hours. I’m lookin’ at you, Chicago!) My friend and I peeked out her back window; there was another car behind us, but he also was too engaged in the show to mind the wait. I suddenly wanted popcorn.
Princess got back in her car and slammed the door shut. My friend and I smiled at each other like it was Christmas morning; I started clapping my hands together like an idiot. We both watched excitedly as Princess revved the engine and peeled into reverse, instantly shooting back several dozen feet. She then shifted into drive… and pulled over into our lane.
No! What a letdown. I was so ready to see that gate get demolished. In fact, I was a little too ready. Apparently I have an appetite for destruction. Moreover, I haven’t been able to let the incident go; I’m searching for excuses to go back to that garage. I want that machine to be broken. I want that attendant to be disinterested and unhelpful. Honestly, I just really, really want to take down that gate… Unless there are cameras. Are there cameras? Probably, right? I think there are cameras. Hmm… Shoot. Nevermind.