Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Universal Parking Nazi

On March 1st, the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida hosted a fundraising concert at Hard Rock Live. Hard Rock is located at Universal Studios City Walk complex. After 6PM, the parking garage becomes free for Florida Residents. I left home later than usual to make sure I got to Universal after 6PM.

There was a long line of cars waiting to get past the parking admission booths. When I got up to the booth, the collections agent asked me for my Florida drivers license which I was happy to show him. Now my license isn't the prettiest thing in the world. It is dog eared at the corners and the renewal stickers that Department of Motor Vehicles keeps sending tended to slip a bit from being in my hot wallet too long. Anyway, I'm holding my license out the window and he barks at me that he needs a FLORIDA License. "It is a Florida license." I respond. He frowned and took the card from me, then handed it back. "I can't use that". He said. After some arguing, he did admit it was a Florida license, but he said "I can't scan that." "What? You didn't even try!" was my response. "It is valid till May of 2013, read the back." I got five bucks out of my wallet since there seemed to be no way to reason with this Parking Nazi. I held my bill out the window but he took so long with the car on the opposite side of the booth, that I changed my mind. "I'm leaving." I told him. He slapped a ticket on my windshield under the wiper and pointed me towards the exit. I turned on my wipers to send the ticket flying as I drove away.

After leaving Universal and cooling down, I decided to return to the parking garage but this time I would look for a female parking attendant. I figured a female attendant would be more reasonable than the Parking Nazi. It was quite a drive on side roads and a very crowded International Drive. When I drove up to the female attendant, she gasped when she saw the card, but she did let me into the garage. I probably wasted an hour of drawing time by arguing and driving in circles, but I was in. I stayed off the moving walkways and used the steps rather than the escalators, for the exercise and to warm up. Besides walking is often faster than the moving walkways.

There was a metal detector to get into Hard Rock Live. The security guard said, "You can't bring that chair inside." "Your kidding." I replied, "What am I supposed to do with it?" "You'll have to bring it back to your car." If you've been to Universal, then you know that the parking garage is a loooong walk. If I had to walk all the way back, I'd probably leave in a huff. This was the last straw. As I was debating what to do, a second guard said, "Let him in." I set off the metal detector then emptied all the art supplies in my pockets onto a table. Finally I was in.

Betsy Dye who had recently started working for the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida greeted me in the lobby. Her warmth and cheer melted away my frustrations. I went up to the White Lennon Room where people were able to meet the band members of 38 Special. The band members hadn't arrived yet, so I went out on the balcony and sketched there. It was a cold night, so I drew fast.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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