I frequently take walks in this one parking garage that is always about 90% empty. While lurking through parking garages is perhaps abnormal, I enjoy this one location as it has a (surprisingly!) nice view, offers a breeze, protection from the summer sun, and a moderate incline which is great for exercise.
I don’t usually run into others on my walks but there are the few regulars. Most reliably, there are the security guards who half-heartedly make their rounds in the afternoons and evenings. There is the older woman, who like me, also seems to use the garage for exercise, although this lady is more animated in her stride and quicker in her pace. There is also the presumably homeless man, who sets up a temporary day camp in the most deserted corner of the garage. Additionally, there are the people who are supposed to be here, i.e. those who drop off their cars in the morning and pick them up in the evening and those who ditch their cars in the evening and retrieve them in the morning. Finally, and most curiously, there is the man in the black sedan who parks in the southwest corner on the third level.
When I walk up the levels of the garage, I stay close to the perimeter of the space. In this way, I often find myself walking along the narrow pathway separating the fronts of the parked cars and the railing on the exterior walls. However, when I see people in their cars (usually those about to leave or who have just entered), I walk closer to the center of the lot and pace along the rears of the cars, giving everyone some space.
On one particular walk, I was typing something on my phone, when I did a double take. The black sedan in the corner of the lot was not empty. The lights were turned off and the vehicle was silent, however, I distinctly saw a human hand holding an iPhone in the front seat. The driver’s seat was totally reclined, and the hand was held up in a position which would allow for viewing a video on the iPhone. From my angle, I could not see the holder of the phone, however, I naturally presumed that there was a living, breathing body attached to the extremity. Embarrassed that I was about to come into close contact with the car, I took a generously wide curve around the vehicle instead of passing right in front of the windshield, as I would do for an empty vehicle.
While I did not actually see the “man” on this first round, by the look of the hand, the iPhone, and the car, I guessed the person was male. On that same day, on my second lap, I did look a little more closely and can confirm that the man was still sunken in his seat with his right hand stiffly holding the small screen in front of his face.
Now, it has become a routine for me to peer around the corner when I come up to the third level to see whether the black sedan is in its usual spot. The parking spots are not numbered, so it must be pure preference that this is where the man chooses to leave his car. While the man is not always there, I am used to seeing him on weekday mornings (usually, between 10 and 11am). Whenever he is in the car, I can count on seeing his hand first. Whatever he watches, I’m inclined to believe it is longer than a five-minute video, as he is seriously hunkered down there in the front seat.
Most recently, I did two laps in the parking garage and saw the man. On the first lap, as per usual, the man was in his recumbent position in the sedan with his hand propped up. Then, several minutes later, on my second lap, I was surprised to see the man driving the black sedan out of the garage. Seeing the man’s full face was disconcerting. There is nothing objectively wrong with it, it was just that I had never expected to see his face. For some reason, I was expecting some meek-looking, smooth-faced, college-aged kid with unkempt hair. The sort of freshly-minted adult who spends large amounts of time either playing video games or watching others play them online. I will just say that in reality this man’s face looked slightly older and slightly ‘harder’ than I expected.
Who are you, mystery man? What is your business? What is your pleasure? I swear I’m not stalking you or I would know these answers already.
There are a lot of interesting characters when you stop to look for them, even in a mostly vacant parking garage.
P.S. I can confirm that that man is NOT Mickey Avalon 😉