Is This Racist?

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I don’t know if this is a thing all over the country, or if it’s just a Miami-thing. It mainly takes place outside of small Cuban restaurants with tiny parking lots, and old medical/office buildings near Calle Ocho.

The other day, I visited a dentist office which was in one of these old medical buildings. The building only had about nine parking spots, in one of the tightest, most poorly-planned parking lots I’ve ever driven through. All of the parking spots were full when I arrived, so I waited a bit to see if any cars would leave. In only few seconds a new car showed up behind me and honked for me to get out of their way.

Of course, when that happened someone came down, got in their car, and left, in those few seconds and the dude behind me snaked my spot. It probably wasn’t some dude, it was probably a 90 year old hispanic lady, late for her appointment.

When I drove into the lot, I noticed an old Cuban man who was “guarding” the parking lot. He sat in his stool and would shoot the shit with whatever regulars and locals would come in and out of the building. I put down my window and asked where I could leave my car for just a few minutes while I quickly ran up to pick up some documents.

He asked me how long I was going to be there, a few times, like if he was trying to catch me in a lie. Once he realized I was truly just picking up some documents, he walked over to the VIP parking (probably where the buildings workers and tenants parked), unhooked the VIP chain that was blocking it and let me leave my car there.

When I came back down less than two minutes later the man undid the VIP chain once again for me to leave. He gave me multiple, very specific directions on how to get out, when all I had to do was back out, down a ramp. He made this process much more complicated than it had to be, but I made it out fine. Thanks old Cuban man!

After this experience I wondered if any other cities have these “parking attendant” security people. I’ve seen security in other places, but these old cuban men don’t really count as security. All they can do to stop any incidents is call the police on their flip phone, but any idiot on the street can do that.

After leaving the dentist building I went straight to Barnes & Noble, in Coral Gables. Where they also have a personal parking attendant, Tonto (as I call him). If you’ve ever parked behind Barnes & Noble in Coral Gables between the hours of 9AM and 5PM then you have definitely met Tonto. He’s the old man who looks like he was once an indian chief (or he used to look like that, until he cut his hair).

I think the reason he is there, working the parking lot at Barnes & Noble is because they built it on top of an ancient indian burial ground. I do not understand the point of him being there. Sure, it may scare away a few people trying to get free parking, but for the most part anyone can park there. You just have to be able to answer one simple question, “Where you going today?”

If you tell him you’re visiting Barnes & Noble or FedEx Kinkos, then guess what? You’ve won. And your prize is FREE PARKING in Coral Gables. Both stores have a front and back entrance. You can easily walk in one entrance and out the other and be on your way for hours of fun on Miracle Mile.

Also, don’t forget to get the stamp! When walking through Barnes & Noble or Fedex Kinkos you will find a stamp. Stamp your parking ticket or Tonto will be mad at you. His threat is that you will have to pay if you don’t get the stamp. But I have forgotten to get the stamp plenty of times and I’ve never had to pay.

I don’t even think he knows how much money to ask for. There is no sign that says, “Parking $_.00.” So, even if you don’t get the stamp, he will most likely let you off the hook, “This time!” (as he likes to say, but also every other time).

I also remember going to Cuban restaurants with my parents as a kid, and seeing the old Cuban parking lot guard. It was always an old man on a stool, doing crossword puzzles or some activity to let you know that he definitely wasn’t paying attention to your car. There was always a cone blocking the parking lot entrance, and after a quick stare down to make sure you were “OK,” the man would move the cone and let you park. Then he’d go back to his tall stool, and his game, not paying attention to anyone’s car. However, he would still get a dollar or a few dollars from each of the restaurant patrons.

 

If you don’t live in Miami and have seen this sort of thing, please comment below and tell me your stories. Also, what nationality are your parking attendants? Because 99% of ours are old Cuban men, I say Tonto is Native American, but I’m pretty sure he’s hispanic. He just has a nice tan from standing in a hot, sunny parking lot in Miami all day.

TAKE ME WITH YOU!

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This week I realized that the last heat game I went to was either during Year One of LeBron or Pre-LeBron. I can’t remember if LeBron was there or not. We were playing the Sixers and it was Black Friday. I know it was Black Friday because I had just mounted my new TV up on the wall that I bought that morning. Miss patty called me. The game had already started and she had just found out she had been given tickets. I kicked my friend out of my house telling him, “Get out! I’m going to Heat game!”  We arrived after or during halftime. So, the last time I went to a Heat game I only attended 50% or less.

Why am I telling you this? Because the playoffs have begun and I still haven’t been to a game this season (or the past four or five seasons). Someone needs to take me to a Heat playoff game before it’s too late, and I’m forced to wait for another season. You’re probably thinking I could just buy tickets, but they’re hard to find during the playoffs, plus they are extra expensive.

Even when we sucked it was impossible to get playoff tickets. You had to get a pre-pre-pre-sale code. One time I had a pre-sale code for Amex cardholders and they held like 2 or 3 pre-pre-pre-sales before they even got to the Amex one. By the time I was able to search on Ticketmaster everything was gone. I’ve gone down to the arena the morning of a game, with all the dirty ticket scalpers and that didn’t work out either.

As a kid I would watch every single Heat game on TV. Back when we were no good. I would sit in my room, wearing my Tim Hardaway jersey, holding onto my basketball, yelling at my TV while watching games. I was happy when we won, and very, very angry when we lost (which happened much more).


When I got to Tallahassee for college there were no more Heat games to watch. We were forced to watch the Magic and the Hawks, so I stopped watching basketball. I still had my ESPN updates and Gamecast to let me know what was going on. Some time after college I decided that sports weren’t as important as I thought they once were. With less free time I decided to waste my time watching my shows, movies and playing guitar and video games.

I still remember the day LeBron said those magical words, “I’ll be taking my talents to South Beach.” I’m sure he quickly realized that the Heat don’t actually play on South Beach, but instead in a much smellier, dirtier Downtown Miami. At first I was excited to have LeBron on our team. That first season I watched most of our games, and all of the playoffs. I would get extra angry any time we lost a game. We had LeBron, DWade and the Bosh-man. And all those other dudes too!

After that first season I decided I can’t watch all of these normal games, because I got too angry seeing us lose with the Big Three. I knew we would make the playoffs, even if we weren’t trying. So I waited until then to watch the games that actually counted.

That year we won, and the next year I went through the same thing. Since LeBron was here and even after he left I haven’t been able to follow a full Heat basketball season. This is why I need one of you to take me to a Heat Playoff game. Please, re-ignite the Heat down in my soul! I am ready to believe in the White Hot Heat again, but I just need to see it live to get excited.

Or maybe I’ll attend a game with a nice friendly friend who decides to take me. And afterwards I’ll decide that TV shows are more important. People actually work hard writing this stuff to entertain me. Sports are just a bunch of well-coordinated high school bullies who grew up and made a bunch of money (That’s not true, some of them are nice. Look at Chris Bosh, that guys a huge computer nerd).

I’m not going to say I’m done with sports, because I’m not. I still watch FSU and Dolphin football, because those are only once a week. And I will continue to watch my Chelsea Football (soccer) matches whenever I do wake up for them. However, movies and TV will take priority, and of course video games.
Thanks for listening. I look forward to hearing from one of you soon about going to one of these upcoming Heat games.