All residents of Los Angeles spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for our cars. This is because the gods who devised our car culture decreed that, throughout the land, valet parking shall be the law. It’s not a question of choice.

One of my favorite restaurants makes you hand over your keys, and then watch as the valet moves your car about six feet from where you pulled into the lot. The IHOP in West Hollywood has valet parking (think about that; an IHOP…). And the parking garage where I waited for my car just yesterday had mandatory valet service, even though I could have easily parked it myself.

In any case, I was standing at the counter, claim ticket in hand, when I heard a voice behind me.

“Excuse me.”

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