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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Dude, where’s my car?

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News | Mar 16, 2018

With the NCAA tournament officially underway and “March Madness” sweeping across America, I thought it would be a good time to let you readers in on a little madness I endured last week.

On Tuesday, March 6, I spent an hour and a half aimlessly walking around Des Moines trying to find my car.

How did I get myself in this predicament? I asked myself that same question about 900 times over that 90 minute period.

First of all, I got to Mt. Pleasant’s first round game against Waverly-Shell Rock ridiculously early so parking would not be a concern of mine, because you could just cruise around Des Moines looking for a good spot for a while. I had time.

Parking at the game was predictably rough, with most of the lots near Wells Fargo closed off, but that was no big deal because I knew there were plenty of parking garages in the area.

I grabbed my phone and typed, “parking garage” into the GPS. My phone decided to take me to something called the “Liberty Parking Lot.” As an American, I’m all about liberty, so I figured this one was right up my alley.

On the way to the Liberty lot, however, I noticed that one of the other parking lots was open for business. Absent-mindedly, I decided to park in that one while simultaneously believing in my subconscious that I was indeed in the Liberty Parking Lot.

Walking to the game, I decided to take the sidewalk instead of the skywalk because I knew I could get there faster.

It was freezing cold and snowing, but I didn’t care because I’m a grown man and grown men can handle the cold. I also had forgotten my coat, but I didn’t mind because again, I’m a grown man, and I can handle the cold.

Quick note: About half way to the stadium, I was humbled to the realization that I can’t actually handle the cold, and it really put my grown man status in jeopardy. The wind and snow was howling so hard in my face that I felt like Liam Neeson’s character in “The Grey.” (Except I wasn’t boring a bunch of people at the movie to death and making them regret wasting money on such a snooze fest. Maybe if one of those Wolves kidnapped his daughter, we could have seen some real action.)

Anyway, flash forward to after the game was over. The Panthers suffered a close loss, and I wasn’t really in a walking-in-the-cold type of mood, so I decided to find the skywalk and head towards the Liberty Parking Lot.

I used the skywalk maps to find the Liberty elevator and attempted to ride it down. I got in and the door closed, but none of the buttons were working. I found it a little odd, but took some time to take a funny Snapchat video about how I was stuck. (That’s not something to even joke about, by the way. Do you remember when that guy was stuck in one for like, 48 hours? Look it up.)

Let me tell you something. I’ve never been stuck in an elevator before, and I’ve never in my life had to learn what the buttons do. All I know is that if you push the wrong button, some big buff fireman is going to have to come rescue you by breaking down the doors with an axe, and I’m not about to be draped over some guy’s shoulder with some Des Moines area news reporter taking video of him looking like a big, strong hero and me looking like a straight up beta-male, and then putting it on the 10 o’clock news.

So after careful research online, I figured out the correct button combination to get myself out of there, and it seemed like my minor troubles had come to an end.

When I got to the parking lot, I noticed there were significantly fewer cars than I had remembered. I didn’t think much of it, but started to get concerned when my car wasn’t on the fifth floor, where I was certain I had parked it. I then got progressively more concerned when my car wasn’t on any of the other five floors I checked.

Another thing that raised some concerns was the number of signs I was disobeying in order to get to each floor. Some of the signs said “private.” Others said “keep out.” One gate said something along the lines of, “don’t walk through this one or you might die,” and another said, “Yo Andy. You didn’t park your car here, ya moron.”

Eventually, I made my way to the Hyatt Hotel to get some information. Shout out to the guy working the counter there for explaining to me that I couldn’t have been in the Liberty lot, because it is reserved and you can’t even get into it without a key.

It still took me a while to accept the fact that I had parked in a different lot, but after conversing with Iowa City sports writer Jeff Yoder, I came to the conclusion that I must have been in one of the other handful of lots in the area. He gave me the advice: To go to every single parking garage and walk by every single parking spot until I found my car.

The next 45 minutes consisted of me walking around in the sky walk and outside in the cold searching for parking garages. I went to three or four different garages, searched somewhere between 15-20 floors and somehow got stuck in an elevator again (it was 50 times less funny the second time around) before finally stumbling upon the right spot.

Shout out to Brent Broeker, who called and talked me down in my final 20 minutes of chaos, and for trying his best to guess where my car was despite the remarkably low-quality job I was doing of explaining what had happened.

A lot could have happened in those 90 minutes. I could have given up on everything and gotten a hotel room. I could have abandoned my car and begged on the street for a ride back to Mt. Pleasant. I could have been mugged by someone in one of the parking garages. I could have been mugged in the skywalk. I could have been mugged in the elevator, or I could have broke down and mugged and/or carjacked somebody myself (I was getting desperate).

You may say, “Andy, an hour and a half isn’t that long,” and suggest that I’m being a drama queen about all this, but let me assure you of something: an hour and a half is an eternity when you’re wandering alone in this cold, dark world.

So my advice to all of you is to always pay attention to where you park. Write down the street and the floor number. Also, always take the skywalk when that is an option.

P.S., to all you Liam Neeson fanboys out there, no I didn’t watch the whole movie. Did he eventually get into some epic fight with a pack of wolves? Probably. But was the first hour of the movie entertaining enough to keep me awake long enough to see all the bloodshed? Absolutely not.

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