Junior League and The Junk Yard Dogs:
It’s almost time again for the Austin Junior League Christmas Affair. What a grand tradition; full of beautiful decorations, artisan gifts to purchase, throngs of women dressed in their holiday finest and delicious food and wine. It’s a sight to behold. In Sittin Ugly Sistah fashion, we make the trek to our Jr. League Mecca, along with a few friends, every year. It gets us in the holiday spirit!
We loaded into my car, giddy with anticipation, wondering how best to see it all, shop as much as possible and of course decide where to eat afterward. We made our way cross town and arrived at the venue. Crowded streets and a FULL sign at the parking garage, made us circle around again until we saw a half-empty parking lot……….at Hooters!
How ironic or serendipitous that Hooters is caddy corner to the Junior League Christmas Affair. “Perfect!” we squealed. “Let’s park here!” I do have a little ‘safety Sue’ in me, as I questioned, “Are you’all sure we should park here?” The answers came back fast and furious: “Sure! Everyone does!”
“We could go into Hooters and have a drink first if you feel guilty about parking here,”
Bottom line? We parked and excited about our close proximity, almost skipped across the street to the “Affair.”
More than three hours later, laden with packages, relaxed from a little wine and starving for Mexican food, we walked back across the street to Hooters. The parking lot was now full with the late lunch crowd, but as we sauntered to our spot, something was missing…..my car! Somehow, we had missed that little sign that said: “All cars will be towed unless you are a Hooters patron.”
Refusing to believe it, we walked the parking lot two more times, until we were finally convinced the car had been towed. Ever the optimists, we found the phone number in tiny print on the sign and called. I naively thought we would call and maybe they would bring us the car or maybe it was parked at a nearby lot.
My face went ashen, my wine glow slowly disappearing…as I listened to the unhappy voice on the other end of the phone. Sure enough, miles away, in some obscure impound lot was my new Honda Accord. Gulp! Not wanting to call Boo, (for obvious reasons), one of the girls said, “Let’s call my daughter, Audra. She won’t mind, I’m sure.” We all watched and listened as my friend made the call. “Hi, honey! You’ll never guess what!”
Waiting in the Hooters lot, our holiday finest was beginning to droop and we were beginning to lose our appetites. In fact, under the stress, one of us (who shall remain anonymous) bummed a cigarette off of a Hooters kitchen worker on his break.
When Audra pulled up, we cheered and then we realized she was driving a Honda Fit. We crammed our packages into the trunk and folded ourselves into the back seat. We kinda had that ‘clown car’ feeling! Audra was laughing but probably more than a little concerned about the Hooters Hooligans or Geriatric Gangstas as she called us! Inching our way, during 4:30 traffic, we finally made it to the lot.
Barbed wire fences, growling junkyard dogs and no door in sight, I left everyone in the car and said, “Call the Police, if I don’t come out.” I don’t know what I was thinking, but I can tell you it wasn’t $260. I cautiously walked through the gate, bypassed the fenced-in dogs and found a small building with a dirty window. I stepped up and a twenty-something girl asked which car was mine. I told her, and then tried to make polite conversation, but she really wasn’t interested. Finally, she said, “Lady, are you by yourself?” “Oh, heavens no,” I said, “I’m with friends!”
She solemnly told me the amount, $260. I solemnly slid my credit card through the dirty slit in the bulletproof window. She smirked at me and pointed to the sign…..CASH ONLY. “Oooops!” I said. “ I’ll be right back.”
Silently I was praying, “Dear God, please let my car still have its tires.”
The girls and I emptied our purses, regretting that last purchase and round of drinks, but we managed the $260 between us. I paid and we all rejoiced as I was led to my car and started it up. Yippee! No dents and all the tires were there.
We hugged Audra, said our thank you’s and gathered our purchases to transfer into my car. “Goodbye you Hooters Hooligans!” she laughed and off we went to get that much needed Mexican food.