On two consecutive nights I’ve had dreams involving parking concessions, and specifically the problems encountered when attempting to use their services. No sex, drugs or rock ’n roll for this dreamer — instead it was all about my 2008 Toyota RAV4 being held hostage with my consent.
We were in a big Manhattan hotel and thought we’d grab our car from the parking garage and drive to Brooklyn for dinner. The hotel pamphlet instructed us to call the front desk with our parking ticket number and ensured us that our car would be waiting for us at curbside by the time we took the elevator down to the lobby. Instead, we joined a growing group of frustrated hotel guests who were all waiting for their cars.
The receptionist explained that there was only one valet worker, and that too many requests had come in at once, meaning that some were waiting over half an hour to be reunited with their cars. Even though we weren’t in a rush, I considered the wait too long and cancelled my request, insisting that we’d be better off taking a cab.
The hotel had a taxi concession just outside the front lobby, a small metal kiosk from which a worker called and organized a steady procession of taxi cabs. When we left the lobby, we noticed an unusual swarm of activity around the kiosk — not just impatient guests like us, but reporters, photographers and curious bystanders.
Inside the kiosk was Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. Evidently he had just purchased the hotel, and his Public Relations folks thought that it would be a good idea to snap a few photos of the septuagenarian rocker in an “Everyman” scenario. For one lucky guest, he opened the back door of the taxi and politely escorted what appeared to be a young starlet to her seat. Then he shook hands with the driver and waved goodbye. With cameras rolling, he was all smiles, but once they stopped, he was all business. Bodyguards swooped in and whisked him away — no photos, no autographs, no loitering.
It was around then that I lost my appetite.