LAST Saturday evening, I was quite surprised to find myself trapped in downtown Charleston.
Our town is not a bad place to be trapped. Its streets are attractive and residents are friendly. But I didn't want to wake up on Summers Street on Sunday morning.
My dilemma began when I went to dinner with my family. My mother- and father-in-law had driven in from Northern Virginia to visit us.
We'd had a West Virginia kind of day. In the morning, my father-and-law and my wife (we'll call her "Karen") ran the 5K associated with the Charleston Distance Run. My role was eating the celebratory breakfast afterward.
In the afternoon, my father-in-law and I watched about a thousand touchdowns during the Coal Bowl broadcast. And after that, we went to the latest movie starring Charleston's Jennifer Garner, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."
We worked up quite an appetite.
So for dinner we went to a fine downtown establishment. We piled into two cars to account for four adults and two kids.
Rain was starting, so we dropped off "Karen," her mother and the two kids in front of the restaurant. My father-in-law (we'll call him "Steve") and I started caravanning around downtown, looking for parking spots.
It can be frustrating to circle around Charleston's one-way streets a couple of times, only to find the good spots taken. That's how I was feeling when I finally saw the municipal parking garage on Summers Street and decided to duck in there.
That was 5:55.
I totally missed the sign that said the garage closes at 6 on Saturdays.
An hour later, after dinner, I did not miss the garage's large gates.
They were separating me from my ride home.
This, friends, causes your supper to go down uneasily.
I considered my options: a) walk home b) huddle in the garage entrance, all six of us, until morning or c) try to get some help.