Posted by Jenn Thorson at 7:44 AM Labels: adventure, getting lost in a parking lot, lord of the rings humor, Pittsburgh
It's like the Mines of Moria. Nestled under the city lurks an unexpected subterranean world. One where water drips in concrete caverns. Creatures lost and bewildered scurry through winding paths, searching for the light. And great hordes of treasure accumulate in jingling tribute, as travelers beg exit without incident.
Yes, these are the parking garages of downtown Pittsburgh.
Getting disoriented there is like some regular rite of passage, an important part of venturing into the mystic city. For me, this weekend it was a trip to see Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" play at the Benedum Center theater. I tucked my vehicle deep into the bowels of a nearby garage, wound around the parking cave's great pylons and Tow Away zones, and made note of my level-- Orange. Floor: G2.
Leaving a trail of breadcrumbs, I found my way to the elevator, and rose back into the world of the living again, as it spat me out into the marble-floored lobby of some high-rise. I spun through revolving crystalline doors and out onto the street.
After we put on the ritz with ol' Frohdrick Frahnkensteen and his monster man-about-town, I returned to the block where my car rested, miles below.
Yet-- it seemed everything had changed. I had left a building with a shining glass front. It took a moment for me to locate the ramp my little steed had originally descended.
Ah, and there! Next to it. A building with a revolving glass entrance!
I entered, crossing its marble floor.
I stepped into its elevator on the left. I descended. I got out on G2.
It was not orange.
Eyebrow raised, I exited the elevator expecting the Orange percentage to increase 100% as I rounded the corner.
My GOD! In the three hours I was in the theater, someone had repainted the entire floor and stolen the ticketing machine that had been there, as well as my car!
Or, well, maybe I was on the wrong floor.
So I got back in the elevator and pushed the button once more. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps it was G1 and not 2.
The elevator rose. The doors opened...
A complete absence of Orange. Creatures scuttled from the elevator light. Something howled chillingly in the distance.
I was in the wrong parking garage.
I ascended once more, offered a blushing, cheesy grin to the guard at the security desk, who had now seen me twice in five minutes-- probably a record-- and I stepped back out onto the street.
I slipped my parking ticket from my pocket, and against raging winds, ventured down the block. I read the address on that ticket, yet it, and the name of the garage matched absolutely nothing on the entire street.
But then-- then I saw it. Another set of gleaming glass revolving doors. Another building with a bright marble-tiled entrance. And there- an older couple dressed up and walking purposefully toward them.
Could they possibly know the path to the Mystic Orange Parking Garage of Lore? The Otherworld that only the denziens of this labyrinth could know?
Look! An elevator! On the left!
And buttons-- a G2!
Oh, fellow travelers, could it be? Had we found the walkway through the mysterious underground city?
The doors cracked open to reveal the warm, inviting orange glow. And there, my breadcrumbs still lay, a crumbly trail to my beloved four-wheel steed.
I had made it!
Of course, finding the Exit was a whole other story.