After years parking under a major hotel chain in the centre of Sydney and watching valet parking in action, I have serious misgivings when handing my keys to these guys. Drag racing within the confines of an underground parking station is a sight to behold, especially when they seem to be heading straight for you and there is nowhere to hide.
So it was with some apprehension I relinquished my keys to a youth who looked old enough to perhaps be in charge of a skateboard, but not a car. However, I was pressed for time and in the company of a friend who assured me that he often left his car in this very car park and never had any problems. Given that this was a major parking facility within the city, and I would be in and out within about 30 minutes, what could possibly go wrong?
I picked up the item I needed, had a quick coffee with my soon-to-be-ex-friend, and headed back to the car park. I handed over my ticket and waited for my car to reappear, somewhere near the so-called VIP area. The attendant reached into a box that seemed to contain a jumble of keys and dockets, pulled out what he thought looked the right keys, attached to a docket of crumpled paper, and scrambled towards the black hole where all the cars disappear. He appeared some time later with a powder-blue Toyota, sporting a huge exhaust pipe.
You can judge how angry I am by how quiet I become. Monosyllabic – you can still reason with me, but when I am nonverbal and my eyes turn dark blue, then duck for cover, because the explosion will be monumental. As deathly quiet descended on the car park, my friend tried heroically to save the situation by asking the attendant to match the docket I handed over to the docket attached to the correct key, but all he got was an “it looked sort of the same.”
I do not consider my car a good swap for a clapped out Toyota with an idiotic exhaust system.