November 21, 2014

Lost Stories: American Idol

In 2013 I made the trek to Los Angeles. If you read my post from that show, then you know that I camped out. What I failed to include was the fact that we had to park in a parking garage a number of blocks away from the venue. The scenario goes like this: four of us arrive in L.A. We drop two of us off at the venue with our stuff, and the other two park the car. I'm with three California residents, yet somehow I'm in the half that gets to help navigate and park in a dark city I know nothing about. We check parking prices and finally settle for the 2nd or 3rd closest garage because it only requires approximately one month's pay vs. an entire year's salary.

The next morning, we go in pairs to return our sleeping bags to the car and put on normal clothes. Since only two of us parked the car and know where it is, I have the pleasure of trying to escort my friend back to wherever in the world we left it, and again, the navigation is on me. Everything looks different in daylight, but I'm finally proud to recognize the hill and slope of the garage that I'm positive we parked in. I'm also really proud to remember that we parked on level P2 because those are the little details I always forget to notice. We end up at the elevator at the same time as a man with a really nice car, and he's kind enough to hold the door for us.

In case you need the visual, we're in yoga pants, hoodies with the hoods up (bed head!), sunglasses we can't take off because our hands are full, and arms overladen with sleeping bags and pillows. We look like some undiscovered SNL sketch characters, but we smile and step on the elevator with the professional looking guy and hope he's not judging us too harshly. He presses a button and I'm about to ask him to press P2 when I realize there IS no P2. I assume I imagined the P and it was just level 2, so we ride to the 2nd floor with him.

At the second floor, two trendy musician looking guys get on. Behind them we can see what looks like an upscale office lobby, and a doorman reaches in to swipe a card and make a floor selection for them. Definitely not the level we parked on. It seems a little strange, but aside from verifying we're not in the right place, I don't think much of it. The guys are friendly and manage to start a polite conversation that feels like genuine interest rather than probing what kind of lunatics in hoods and sunglasses were let into their office building. We talk a little about Hanson and admit we camped out to see them, and the guys say they admire that kind of dedication. We tell them they should check out the show that night, and they leave us with a smile at the next floor and tell us to have fun.

They step off and are replaced with a few guys in business suits that thankfully select the ground floor, but not before we get a glimpse into the room they just left and the big shiny "American Idol" sign within. My friend and I exchange a silent glance and continue trying and failing to let our sleeping bag bundles blend in with the polished steel of the elevator as we realize we're standing in American Idol Headquarters in our pajamas.

The whole thing is pretty anti-climactic. We make it back down to the ground floor, get out, and finally find the correct elevator around a corner, wondering what American Idol contestants we just accidentally street teamed to. In my defense, it turns out we did, in fact, park on P2.