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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Security Hell


I’ve been to Park La Brea Towers a dozen times. Navigating its maze of twisting private streets, tall apartments, and rows of bungalows is not exactly a nightmare but always difficult.

It was after midnight, so the drive passed quickly but a barrier blocked my entrance. For security purposes, Park La Brea apparently restricts access during wee hours. I drove until I found a barrier with a kiosk and a security officer. 

Another car was ahead of me. Checking out visitors turned out to be no minor matter, so several minutes passed before the officer handed the driver a pass and waved him in. I pulled forward only to encounter a problem. My patient was visiting, so her name was not on the list of residents, and there was no answer when the officer phoned. Nervous about speaking English, foreign guests often don’t answer.

He explained that regulations did not permit my entry. The sight of my doctor bag, suit, tie, and elderly appearance did not change his mind, but he assured me that his supervisor had been summoned. I parked behind the kiosk and waited. The supervisor never appeared.

My patience exhausted, I phoned the travel insurance office in Miami to warn that I might have to return home. Urging me to wait, the dispatcher contacted the lady on her Brazilian cell phone. She contacted the security officer and vouched for me.

Describing the pleasures of wee-hour visits, I always mention easy parking. This applies everywhere except large apartment complexes where everyone and their guests are at home, so all spaces are occupied. After a long search, I parked illegally.

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