We are starting on another movie, so of course we head to Amoeba records in Hollywood. Part of this new production involves Tom filming me pressing my lips up against a glass. This seems to disturb Tom to no end. I start off by practicing on clear plastic CD covers. Tom keeps throwing these away each time I use them. He insists. Pretty soon we have to go out because there are no more plastic CD covers. We plan to stop at Amoeba, of course, even though it isn’t on the way. Tom is returning a DVD called “Force 10 from Necrophile”. What about my lips disturbs Tom, I wonder.
There is no such thing as “road rage” in LA because no other emotion is possible: people don’t call it “road rage”, they call it “driving”. Things are especially bad this evening. As you drive into Hollywood, it’s not unusual to see security standing by blockades of some residential streets: they are there to protect parking when there is some event or premiere in Hollywood. We get stuck behind a K-9 unit in a van: the dogs make little doggy eyes behind their bondage-themed muzzles.
Something is going on in Hollywood: there are cars everywhere and no place to park. People in tuxedos with walkie-talkies are everywhere. Everyone has some sort of laser printed badge on a nylon lanyard, sometimes three or four. It must be some sort of premiere at the Arclight, because the actual red carpet is out, only it looks like a tactical team in full gear is lining up on it. I admire their form, briefly. The Arclight has a multi-story parking garage. Once we take our ticket from the robot and the arm goes up, we realize we have made a mistake: you cannot get any further in the garage than a few feet. Cars are everywhere.
-Is is possible they are out of parking spaces?
-Well, if so, they should close the garage.
Parking attendants are no where to be seen. We spiral up the ramp and it only gets worse. The cars are packed all the way up the spiral of the parking garage; they are all new and all luxury cars; they are so throughly packed we fear that they might begin sliding back on us in an avalanche of style and comfort that says you’ve arrived. There is no movement, but a slow trickle upward, toward the sky, where we suppose there will be parking.
The next level is worse: out of exasperation cars are parked where they clearly shouldn’t be: cars are parked on the corners of the ramp, cars that are clearly not compact cars jut out of spaces labeled “compact”. We have to turn into the opposing, descending lane of the ramp to get around them and sometimes their are cars there, too, sometimes trying also to ascend or emerging suddenly as headlights on the way down. Another car gets trapped this way, almost struck by a descending car. Their exchange is not pleasant.
-Fuck, says Tom.
On the next level, it is not even a question of cars blocking other parked cars: cars are parked in front of elevators doors and on every level surface.
-Tom ,I think I saw a parking space on somewhere on those stairs.
We briefly spot some parking attendant in their livery. They seem jocular, relaxed, in no particular hurry, either going on break or just coming back from one, their flashlights swinging idly.
Our plan is clear. Whatever event this is, it is a nightmare. Like many problems in film production, we need to just follow through until we reach the absolute bottom and then turn around and get out. Only the bottom is the top, is the sky, poking out beneath the concrete lids of the garage ramp. Believe in the sky, I think.
We finally reach the surface. The moon is full. So is the parking lot. Nothing moves for a awhile.
-I’ve been thinking about getting a new car. Perhaps tomorrow.
-Could we have parked in that other neighborhood?
-There is not a problem parking there, says Tom, provided that we sleep in shifts
Someone scrapes off someone else’s side mirror. The woman is really angry. Somehow she works her children into the discussion, which we have no trouble hearing, even though the windows are rolled up. The doors are locked.
Someone is flashing their headlights. Their windows are rolled down and they are saying something. I tense up a bit, but when they come in range their faces are open, imploring. They are telling us to turn around, there is no way forward. They seem like a nice couple, both young and attractive, intelligent, motivated by a sense of civic duty. They also seem to have film equipment.
-I appreciate the gesture, says Tom, but we still have to turn around.
We are not alone, the line of cars move forward like they have no choice.
Eventually, we see what they tried to tell us and we cannot believe it. Where cars would ordinarily be able to continue through and head back down there is -a buffet. There is some gala event on top of the parking garage. There is a bandstand and musical instruments. An ice sculpture. But cars cannot get through or turn around. We crawl by the buffet. It looks good.
-This is a disaster, says Tom, in the technical sense of the term.
-Who put a buffet here? Someone with a lot of money made a really bad decision.
-Welcome to Hollywood.
-This parking garage must be incompetent. They must know what is happening.
-In my experience, incompetence seems to be a prerequisite for that particular industry.
-Can we cut through that rack of dry cleaning?
-We’re going to be here awhile.
-Can we complete any of our objectives?
-Yes, take this DVD and get some credit for it.
I am about to go, when another couple gets out of their car and starts moving a table that is blocking everyone’s way. This is crazy, says the woman, we’re making a space here. She seems somewhat amused and I admire her self-possession. No sooner have they cleared a space to turn around, then someone drives into the space and parks. A man gets out:
-I’m parking here.
Some serving people also come over in white livery and a general discussion begins, finally joined by some one in a burgundy jacket with a flashlight, headset , walkie-talkie and a cell phone. He helped least of all.
-Go, says Tom.
I don’t look back.
Tom Ronca's Spider-Man (Die unheimliche Spinne) - Peter Parker is a freelance photographer with an interest in sex crime photography. He also has an intense incestuous bond with his Aunt May, which is only...
3 years ago