Okay. So I travel to downtown Los Angeles to attend a meeting with a “name” well-connected film industry producer.
I can’t find parking under 20 dollars for the day or 8 dollars an hour. Since I don’t know how long I will have to wait in the producer’s office, these things tend to vary, I drive around until I find metered parking about 7 blocks from the building where the meeting will take place. The meter ONLY takes change for a half-an-hour so that is useless. I am forced to return to the area of the building and pay the 20 bucks for parking in what looks like the regular resident parking of a loft building. The valet doesn’t really park the truck in a parking spot. He just parks my truck perpendicular behind cars already parked in regular spots. And I think to myself, how ridiculous to live here in that every time I want to leave my loft to buy milk and cookies, I have to wait for the valets to remove all the cars blocking in my car and vice versa when I return 20 minutes later.
On the way to the building, I literally pass a bum-looking dealer selling whatever it was he was pssssssting me for while standing RIGHT NEXT to a police officer.
I don’t want to name the building but I will say that all my North Carolina School of the Arts peeps will recognize the building as the one in LA that most closely resembles the penis shaped formerly named Wachovia Center in Winston-Salem. Except the one in LA I think is taller and more penis looking. I need to get to the 16th floor.
I don’t want to bother the concierge desk. Mostly because I don’t know which desk to bother. Four desks are present that I could approach, including the horseshoe one in the middle of the plaza sized lobby. I go to the elevators, nobody notices, nobody minds. I get in, the doors close. I look to press button 16, makes sense right? Except that no 16th button exists. Only the buttons for the first dozen floors and floors 50-53. I have to wait to go all the way up to the 53rd floor. Some lawyer types get in who all look at me suspiciously on the elevator ride all the way back down.
In the lobby once more, I sprint across the hall to stop the other set of elevators from closing and I look at the button panel, same story, no 16th button, only the buttons for 1-12 and 50-53. This only takes literally 2 SECONDS but that was too long for the lawyer type person going up who impatiently demands, “In or Out?!” I ask him, while holding the door open, if he knows where I can find the elevators that go to the 16th floor. He shrugs disdainfully and then physically pokes my hand with his briefcase! I am surprised enough that I let go and let the elevator doors close. I stand there and fume for a couple of seconds. I waste a few more minutes checking a different elevator in the same row as before, and again, no 16th floor button, I was here with 10 minutes to spare and now I only have 5 minutes to spare, and stuck in a mystery.
I look around, I see a Jamba Juice stand, a set of doors to a bank, a laundry window, a cell phone kiosk, a coffee cubbyhole with a newsstand, and an office about web and postal services but no other sets of elevators. So already flustered, I am finally forced to approach the middle horseshoe concierge desk. I ask the good looking Asian chic with her hair tied back and wearing a bow tie if she can direct me to the elevators that go up to the 16th floor. She doesn’t look at me because she is too busy reading something and sucking on a Jamba Juice straw and she simply points at the concierge desk to her left; she does not point at any set of elevators, but to another concierge desk. I have to confirm what she meant, “you mean, ask those guys over there?” She looks at me, while still sucking on her Jamba Juice, like I am the dumbest guy in the world.
I approach the second concierge. He turns out to be a tuxedo dressed black guy with a British-Jamaican accent.
“Can you direct me to the elevators that go to the 16th floor?” He asks me my destination. I tell him. “The 16th floor is part of our private offices and residences. Do you have an appointment?”
“Yes, of course. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.” My frustration, at this point, spills over.
The concierge types on his computer. “Your name?” I tell him. “I’m sorry but you are not on the list and the computer does not show any appointments for today. I will need to call to confirm.”
Okay. A couple of thoughts swirled through my mind at this point:
1. Private offices and residences? People actually live here? That is cool and disturbing at the same time. I guess you can afford to live here if a) you are filthy rich and b) you write off your home as your office in taxes or something. Also, I thought all offices were, in essence, private unless we are talking about the DMV or something.
2. I am perturbed that the meeting did not warrant enough attention or importance to include my name or the meeting down at the concierge’s desk or computer or whatever.
3. Does the concierge double as the producer’s assistant? Then with whom did I talk to on the phone to get a time and place? I am pretty sure the person did not have a Jamaican / British accent. In fact, I spoke with a woman.
4. Just point at where I need to go. If you call then the producer or his assistant will know that I simply can’t find a set of fracking elevators.
5. Where are the fracking elevators? Behind a secret panel or something?
I received the answer to that last mental question post-haste. The concierge got off the phone, turned around, and opened a set of doors that were indiscernible because they were inlaid into the wood paneling of the lobby. In fact, I had to walk around the concierge’s desk, actually walking through an attached knee-height swivel door, just to get to the hidden side hallway that housed the secret set of elevators. Aside from the fact that the whole rigmarole was unnecessary, apart from letting the “residents” of floors 13-49 feel all kinds of special, what got on my nerves the most was the balderdash furtiveness of the ordeal.
I had a little time to ponder the nonsense on my way up to the 16th floor. And when I got there, to the office / residence, the secretary confirmed my suspicions with her smug attitude. She was suppressing conceited contentment when she told me to take a seat. Listen lady, all you gave me in your e-mail of confirmation was a date, time, and address. Nothing about the horrid parking conditions, nothing about 20 bucks wasted because I am the only person in the office so I will not be here obviously over two hours, nothing about actually getting here 10 minutes ahead of time but now being 30 seconds late because I had to take an avoidable ride up to the top floor of the skyscraper and back, nothing about wasting time with secret handshakes and passwords and treasure maps leading to the lost and mythical set of elevators that were the epic gateway to the inapproachable 16th floor, and sure enough, when I get here, all you can do is snicker under your breath, tell me to take a seat, call your boss and state, “the person who had to call from the lobby is here for his meeting.”
Was this some kind of a test? The secret set of elevators are some kind of personal joke obstacle course aren’t they?
One of the first things that the producer says to me, after introductions, “I really need to work with somebody who knows how to get to where they are going in a timely manner. Punctuality is very important. In fact, I prefer people to be early and ready than late and unprepared.” So, 30 seconds late because of an unexpected obstacle course is the equivalent of being unprepared. Okay. You suck and your building sucks. Even your hot Asian bow-tied concierge sucks. On a Jamba Juice straw. With something green coming up through it and into her perfectly puckered red lips.
The rest of the meeting went as expected from people like this.
I wait a bit before writing this diatribe. And I still RAGE.