It couldn’t have been a nicer night for a walk down High Street. Following last night’s opening reception of OSU’s Spring Exhibition for designers, I decided to walk into the Short North. A later bus could take me home.
A good plenty of folks were out and about on campus. The streets weren’t buzzing, but there was a slight hum, which was a perfect compliment to the slight breeze and the balmy temperature. Just north of the Wexner Center a man stood, pants around his ankles, facing traffic while pissing in the bus stop. A one-man exhibition?
At South Campus Gateway, the tempo picked up as a band set up below the balcony of Skye Bar. The outdoor tables were filled with diners, and Cold Stone Creamery cups appeared to be the street’s most fashionable accessory.
In the Short North, I stopped in to Rojo’s for a late dinner. Nearly finished with my first margarita, a friend popped in. We ordered another round. While the bartender mixed, we went outside for a smoke. Twilight had given way to dusk as the arch’s lit.
From the alley came an SUV. The driver, forty-something, balding, rolled down the passenger window and leaned over.
“Hey babe”, he said, “Is there valet parking around here?”
“If there is, it’s not me”, I replied. He parked in the sand.
After another round of drinks on Union Station’s patio, it was time to head home. The #7 pulled up precisely as I arrived at the corner of Buttles and High. A quiet ride turned bothersome as a handful of hooligans boarded the bus at Nationwide Boulevard. I determined that COTA should have transit cops, if for no other reason than to stifle the profanity.
I recanted the evening to a friend in Honolulu during our nightly phone call. She told me that she has, on occasion, been the “impromptu valet” at the Ala Moana Center.
“These guys hate shopping. They want to get in and out. When they ask how to get into the parking garage, I offer to take their car for them”.
“Yep. For a cool $20, I’ll park their car. For another $20, I’ll get it back to them”.
“Forty bucks later, and I’m having a margarita, myself”.
It’s unlikely that Mr. SUV would have paid $40 for the ease of Short North parking, but next time I’m hanging out on High Street, becoming the Impromptu Valet might be a way to prolong the bar tab.