Sunday was quite an experience around here!
After church my husband surprised me with a decision that we should have "just one more date" before he left today for Newfoundland. He didn't know where he wanted to go for lunch, so we settled on Original Joe's because we knew the food would be excellent, even if the service was a tad slow. I had a bit of a deadline with choir practise now starting a half hour earlier, my husband had to get to work for the afternoon, plus didn't get home from church very early after a protracted visit at coffee hour.
All was well when we arrived at the restaurant at about 11:45am. I knew I had until about 1:15pm to get home and ready for my 1:30pm ride to choir with a friend. Things were just fine until we arrived at the restaurant to find a nearly full parking lot. The restaurant is beside a strip mall and they share a large parking lot. When we finally found a parking stall and looked about us, we noticed signs on the main street running past the lot. The street was going to be closed for the afternoon for the annual Santa Claus Parade. The excessive number of cars seemed to belong to people in charge of setting up the road closure and getting floats arranged in order in another large parking lot on the other side of the street.
Hmmmm....a Santa Claus Parade, complete with road closures and all ready some parking issues near the restaurant....hmmmm..... Now anyone with half a lick of sense would realize the best strategy at that point would be to drive back out of the lot and find a different restaurant, far, far away! Guess my husband and I are down to a quarter lick of sense or less!
Knowing that the restaurant has a full liquor license and is essentially a bar (no minors allowed) with a food menu added, we knew there would be no children bopping about, overamped as they waited for the parade to start and subsequently allowing excitement to prevent them from actually eating their meals and likely just spreading most of the food around the place willy nilly due to low blood sugar from lack of sustenance on top of the hyper excitement, we opted to remain right where we were.
Dumb, dumb, dumb and again I say: DUMB!!!!
Never has the service been as slow as it was yesterday, even though the restaurant was only about half full of patrons. Our order was not taken for a full 20 minutes and then we had another half hour wait for our food. We realized when our meals arrived that despite a wonderful visit while waiting, things were going to have to speed up as we bolted our food down as quickly as possible in order to get home in time for my ride to choir and my husband to make it to a work committment.
Despite the distance, I suspect we would have made better time walking all the way home than trying to get our vehicle out of the parking lot. We left the restaurant just before 1pm and found ourselves jammed into a terrible mess of cars all attempting to leave the lot. I don't know how long it took us to be able to back out of our parking stall, bullying our car's back end through the stalled traffic in the driving lane behind us that was completely plugged with cars. With the road closure sealing off 2 of the 3 exits from the lot, there were dozens upon dozens of cars all trying to leave at the same time. We all had to turn left out of the lot to access an open street, but traffic being deflected from the road closure had to pass us, effectively blocking our exit. Most of those cars were turning left, in front of us, into the same lot we were trying to get out of, thinking they could park in there to watch the parade. All that was happening was that they were driving in, circling the lot, realizing there was nowhere to park and then forcing their way back into our lineup to leave. The whole mess turned into one big circle of cars entering and then attempting to exit. 3 lanes of parking traffic in the lot all had to converge into one narrow lane in order to get out and the idea of merging properly is a totally foreign concept here apparently. Add in the frustration of spending over 20 minutes just getting from one end of a parking lane to the other before the fight started to actually get into the slow moving flow out of the lot to the street and tempers were flaring. It was taking as long as 5 full minutes for 1 or 2 cars to make it from the exit ramp onto the one open street due to the line up of other vehicles turning left in front of them. It was pure bedlam. Finally we were able to exit the lot, cutting off only a couple of cars who actually had the right of way to turn in front of us. Road Rage On the Way!
Only a couple of blocks from home we found the road blocked by 3 police cars due to a serious car accident that happened not far from the front of our suite. So, once again we were backed up as traffic was funnelled into an oncoming lane so they could continue heading that direction. Groan..... Fortunately for us, there is a side street on our own side that was still accessible. We scooted onto it, once we actually got to it and made it the last 4 blocks home without further hassle. Sigh....
We arrived home at 1:25pm and my husband immediately headed to the office to try to get his afternoon work accomplished. I was most fortunate in that my ride was nearly 10 minutes late arriving to pick me up. Whew!!!
So, it really wasn't Santa's fault we had all the stress and hassle yesterday afternoon. I don't know what the city was thinking when they set this up. The whole area was a crazy maker for the entire afternoon. If Santa is thinking he would like to do a parade here next year, we can only hope he has a meeting with the city traffic officials and assists them in better planning of the event for the future. This year it was nuts, absolutely nutsy cuckoo!!!!