Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dinosaur Trader Vs. Romeo The Valet Guy

(NOTE: As it turns out, there will be waves in the morning. So I won't have a "good morning" or "link-love" post up. Instead, I bring you this heartwarming tale.)

Grandma's birthday was in January. She passed away a few years ago (at age 100) but my family still honors the day. We've been going to the same restaurant to celebrate for the last 15 years, or, about as long as I've been driving.

Anyway, there's "mandatory valet parking" at this restaurant. The same valet attendant, a middle aged man named "Romeo" has been in charge for as long as I can remember. When I first began to drive, I didn't want to use valet parking because I was poor and didn't want to tip the guy a couple of bucks to park my car.

As I've aged, my bank account has grown, but I still don't like valet parking because I think it's a nuisance. I like having access to my car. Some would say I have "control issues." Whatever... I don't want to go find some valet misfit and wait while he hunts down my keys.

So I have a sticky relationship with Romeo. Each year, I drive right by him, park my car, and pretend that he's not there. This year was no different.

As I pulled into my spot, with Judy saying, "I can't believe you just ignore that guy, it's rude" a man in a fluorescent orange coat and a matching hat, tapped on my window.

Sure enough, it was Romeo.

Judy shot me a smile that said, "You're in trouble now, smartass" and I rolled down the window.

"Hey, I gotta park your car," he said in some unrecognizable accent.

"Why? I'd rather park it," I protested. "Is this not a good spot?"

"No, we have a system. I gotta park it." Romeo rolled his eyes and looked away like I was wasting his time.

"Listen. Romeo..." I tried to sound patient, "I'm gonna park my car. You just tell me where to go."

We went back and forth for a couple of moments. Finally, he gave up and let me park the car. The deal was that he'd hold my keys, "just in case I gotta move it." I moved the car one spot over to appease him, gave him my keys and walked into the restaurant.

I smiled at Judy. I had beaten the valet guy again.

A few hours later our meal was eaten, and the kids opened Christmas gifts (we didn't see "that side" of the family for the holidays). As a Dad, it's my responsibility to bring stuff down to the car. Things pile up and fathers remove those piles. Sometimes it's that's simple. Anyway, loaded down with boxes I made it to my car only to find the doors locked.

"Fucking valet guy" I grumbled. I put the boxes down and walked back to the stand to get my keys.

Romeo smiled and handed my keys back to me.

I packed the car and walked back towards the restaurant. As I was opening the door, Romeo whistled.

"Hey," he called over to me while making a "key-turning motion" with his hand, "just in case." I gave him the damned keys and went back into the restaurant.

When the party was over, I grabbed my daughter and headed back outside to put her in her carseat. Again, forgetting that I wasn't in control of my keys, I stood cursing Romeo for a second outside of my locked car while my daughter looked at me confused.

"What's a fucking valet guy, Daddy?" she asked quite innocently.

Just then, Romeo appeared. "Hey, here's your keys," he said. But of course, what he meant was, "I just walked 20 feet to bring you your keys, now throw me a tip."

I snatched the keys from Romeo, smiled, and put my daughter in her seat. He stood staring for a second and then walked away. I mean, fuck if I'm going to give the dude cash for withholding my car keys.

"I win again!" I thought. But that's when I saw Judy leaving the restaurant...

Amazingly, she walked up to Romeo and handed him a few bills.

Romeo was smiling and nodding at her. SABOTAGE!

Judy got into the car and an awkward silence settled over us.

From the back seat, my daughter chirped, "Daddy said 'fucking,' Mommy."

Judy fixed a cold disapproving stare in my direction.

I started the car. It jerked forward 3 feet and made a loud cracking sound as if it had hit a large boulder. Romeo had parked the car in gear.

I looked through the windshield at Romeo. He was sitting on a metal folding chair in his ridiculous fluorescent orange jacket, grinning ear to ear.

"Next year," I said to Judy, "things will be different."


Bluedog said...

Fantastic story! We had guys like that in Italy that you'd have to pay off, otherwise your car would either be keyed, broken into, or stolen by the time you got back from dinner.


Sanglucci said...

BWWWAHAHAHAHAHAAA..... I like that DT keep doin posts like your writing skills are kinda nice.... you still a herb tho

The Lonely Trader said...

I know someone at Vanity Fair...just say the word DT.

Retard Trader said...

I was waiting for the Penthouse version, where Judy and Romeo wind up tag-teaming DT.

Nice story, I think that I'll start actually reading some of the stuff you write now ;-)

tapeworm said...

retard: i think you're on to something...that's prolly why judy gave such a big tip

tapeworm said...

retard: i think you're on to something...that's prolly why judy gave such a big tip

TraderCaddy said...

I have blown by so many valet people in my past. I too believe I can park my own car and if I wanted to throw away $$ I would just flush it down the toilet.
I have gone blocks out of my way to avoid valet parking and pretty much run over orange cones intended to stop cheapskates like me. It's like going to a fancy restaurant and a bathroom attendent is there with a basket for tips because they give you a towel. I ignore those guys too like they aren't even there.
I remember staying at a fancy hotel a few years ago and getting a good price on the room since I was there for a tournament with my son. But, they charged $15 a night for parking. I showed them. I parked blocks away and every few hours when I was there I would put money in the meter. I have a depression mentality I guess.

Dinosaur Trader said...

Thanks guys, appreciate the kind words.

Retardo, perhaps I'll post a nice porn version of this story, or another one, soon. Just for fun.

Okay, very late, need to do research.


mrkcbill said...

Good stuff. DT.. don't you have walking money for tips and shit.. you know you buy the Starbucks and give the guy a $20 and crumple up the change.

I find it more satisfying to give the valet guy a couple of filthy ones than fight it. Excess tipping is good for the soul.

DT- don't rent a car Vegas.

UWSvamp said...

Um, didn't you park the car? Unless you left out an important fact - i.e. that Romeo did in fact move your car, you're the one that parked the car in gear.