Alternate title: “Channeling Jeff McDougal” — “WTF?”, I hear you asking.
So Peggy and I made the GRIEVOUS error of actually BACKING out the driveway yesterday — LABOR DAY; aka: THE last day of summer in SoCal. NIGHTMARE!
See — if you live in a “beach town” — almost ever’one’s IDEA of Nirvana — you very soon discover the seamy underbelly of same; to wit: HUGE homeless population living there (and who can BLAME them?!) who have MASTERED the fine art of “aggressive panhandling”; extensive contingency of “beach bums/surf bums” (Two kinds: The “20-something” group — either WITH Mommy & Daddy’s $ or without ANY $; and the 50 & 60-somethings who have lived at the beach their whole lives with no $ — they drive broken-down El Caminos, Rancheros, and rusted-up-to-the-door-handles-and-in-primer surf vans); the Uber-rich, who decent EN MASSE on Memorial Day like locusts to their McMansion beach house — said McMansion the result of SCRAPING the lovely mid-century modern beach bungalow that WAS there since ~1946, then building a 4,500 square foot LIFELESS/HIDEOUS “monument” to their McMansion that they live in 9 months out of the year; and then there’s “the rest of us” — workin’ stiffs who “got here late” from back East/the Midwest, sold almost ever’thang we owned to downsize into one of the aforementioned shoebox-sized, at least 50 year old beach bungalow/surf shacks that if you’re LUCKY has a whopping TWO bathrooms, THREE 12’X12′ bet-rooms, and MAYBE 1,200 square feet TOTAL, counting the vestigial doghouse the previous owner left behind when they got shuttled off to the Old Folk’s Home — all that for just under ONE MILLION DOLLARS; but I digress…
Peggy & I decided Labor Day AM that it would be a pregnant idear to have a late breakfast at “Turks” — one of the VERY cool, been here since before WWII DIVE restaurants here in SoCal — Turks was a regular hangout of Duke Wayne’s — ‘Nuff said! Killer omelets served up by 50-something waitresses that have BEEN working at Turks since they were 18 years old — “Menu?” “We ain’t got no menus! We don’t need no menus. I don’t have to show you no stinkin’ menus!”
Ya’ go in, ya’ ALREADY know what you’re gonna order (and it BETTER include a Bloody Mary!), ya’ sit down, and you proceed to “people watch” — this place is ALL about “the regulars” — it ain’t fancy enough for the touristas!
If you happen to show up in your Izod shirt with your Tommy Bahama shorts, gold Rolex, and fake tan, you get “parked” on the long HARD bench right at the front door — since for YOU, Buffy, and those ill-mannered rug-rats you brought along with their Game Boys there’s a ONE HOUR WAIT; meanwhile, after a steady stream of REGULARS comes in, goes BY you with a downcast derisive look, and gets IMMEDIATELY seated, you “get the message” — about like Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Big Jack Nicholson “got the message” in the diner scene of “Easy Rider”.
Anyway, we back out the driveway, I point my 14 year old SUV northwest, and into Drive it goes — for about 1/16 of a mile! And then — GRIDLOCK! The 5 Freeway is STOPPED in BOTH directions — and I MEAN stopped! It normally takes us 11 minutes to get to Turks; we pull into the parking lot exactly FIFTY-TWO minutes later!
Needless to say, I’m about ready to pop an O-ring out my forehead after 52 minutes of driving with the genital public, I’m so hungry that I could eat the crotch out of a fuckin’ vintage rag doll, and I gotta piss like a brewery mule!
But I ain’t worried — I see the 74 year old shingled roof of Turks on the horizon, and I know that OUR booth is awaiting! Should be NO problem finding a parking spot — nobody comes here but the regulars — WRONG! WTF???!!! Parking lot is JAM UP! In ten years, I NEVAH seen it like THIS! Some local hack writer musta tipped the hand about Turks being “the place to go” in the local free fish-wrap of a newspaper — the parking lot looked like Macy’s the day after X-Mas! We drive through it THREE fuckin’ times; hell, there ain’t even a handicrapped spot for me to at least COVET.
“Time to channel McDougal”, Peggy says. So what’s THIS all about, Alfie?
Historical sidebar: I got a good friend — lives down in ‘Dago county (that’s San Diego, for you non-locals) in another beach town; he’s got this “thing” about him; to wit: He ALWAYS ALWAYS ALL-WAYS gets a parking spot!
Yeah, I hear ya’ — “Sure he does, Dick — but he CAN’T get one EVERY single time!” Wrong, Bacon-Breath! Repeat: He ALWAYS ALWAYS ALL-WAYS gets a parking spot — get it?
Flash back to ~8 years ago — I’ve just met him, we start our big Bro-Mance, I go down to his place and he suggests lunch in downtown Solana Beach at high noon on a midsummer (read: Tourist-infested) day; *I* look at him like he’s just spewed out a Tourette’s diatribe. As he slides it into gear, he looks at me and says: “I got this thing, see? WHENEVER I drive ANYWHERE, a parking spot magically appears for me.”
“Horseshit!” I say in my best New Jersey brogue.
He just smiles and says — “You just sit back & WATCH me, Sonny-Jim; now let’s go eat at Tony’s Jacal (Sidebar: THE best Mescan food in Solana Beach).
“Uh-hunh”, I say as we make the ten minute drive to Tony’s, which is RIGHT on the main drag and has exactly TWELVE parking spots; OR you can park in the $5/hour Pubic Parking that caters to the Genital Public — “In 23 years, I ain’t NEVER parked in the Public Lot”, McDougal replies.
I sit back in the passenger chair and chuckle under my breath. We swing into Tony’s, Jeff aims his SUV towards one of the TWO count ’em TWO primo spots RIGHT near the front d’oh — and SURE AS SHITE, a coupla yucks come walking out, get into their car in THE #1 spot, and back out!
“Unfuckingbelievable!” says I.
“Not really”, says McDougal — “I ALWAYS get a parking spot right out front, ANYWHERE I go.”
Since that day back in ’08, I been in a vehicle w/McDougal maybe 150 times — either him driving me or me/Peggy driving him/his wife; if he’s IN a vehicle at the same time YOU are, you WILL get a parking spot — PERIOD! NEVER seen it to fail — downtown ‘Dago, downtown El Lay; hell, even when we went to Rome together we got a spot!
Now, no HUMAN can POSSIBLY do this EVERY fuckin’ time, right? EGG-ZACTLY right — no HUMAN can; which makes Jeff McDougal some kinda alien being who fell out of a spaceship 50-somethin’ years ago…
Now Peggy, in HER infinite wisdom (I like to say that in her ENTIRE life, she’s only made ONE mistake; if you know what I mean and I THINK you do!), started her “Channeling McDougal Parking” chant routine ~2 years ago — and ya’ know what? It WORKS!
Not 100% of the time, but I’m gonna say 66% of the time; that’s one WHOLE HELLUVA lot m’oh bettah’ than WE have done historically. As we swing through Turks’ lot for the fourth time, we are both channeling the SHITE outta Jeff McDougal Parking — BAM! — spot opens up! Two geriatrics waddle out to their mid-80’s Chrysler K-Car (gotta be one of THREE left in running condition here in North America I’m guessing), back ‘er up, and we are IN; albeit not as close as McDougal would have gotten us if he were actually WITH us.
“Loaded Omelet, here I COME!” — a tip o’ the hat to another one of my Alien Friends!