Extreme peril at the Xcel

The events described in the following article are entirely factual. Only the names of the parties involved have been changed (poorly) to protect those involved from feeling like complete idiots.

It was just before three o’clock, after the BSM versus Woodbury state hockey match, four friends and I burst out of the front doors of the Xcel Energy Center into the frigid air of downtown St. Paul, a fairly foreign area to us western suburbanites. My friend Devan Docker had told me that they had found a spot to park only a few blocks away for free. I was of course a wee bit skeptical, and I wanted to see this prime spot myself.

We stopped in the center of the apartment parking lot in which they had parked earlier, but the awkward shoe-box of a Scion was nowhere to be seen, even though it usually sticks out like a sore thumb.

We simply stood around for a while – dumbfounded, with our mouths gaping wide open, before eventually screaming our entire vocabulary of vulgar phrases, cursing the people that must have taken the car. After finding the office and calling the number to the impound lot, we discovered that the car had been towed, and it would take over $350 to get it back from the impound lot on the other side of town.

We were five rich suburban kids, stranded downtown, in the cold, losing daylight, and now we were all on the verge of tears. “I knew I should have listened to the hobo,” our friend said. “When I got out of the car before the game he came up to me and said ‘you shouldn’t have parked there’ but I didn’t pay attention to him.”

In the meantime, we had called Devan’s mom and our friend Tandy Besser to see if he could give some of us a ride back to BSM. After 45 minutes of frantically circling the city trying to find our parking lot, Tandy arrived with room for one more in his parents’ Audi. As he stepped out of the car to ask what was going on, his friend in the passenger seat decided it would be hilarious to shake the steering wheel. The Audi went on lock down – the doors were locked, the key was stuck in the ignition, and we couldn’t shift out of park. What was worse, the car manual was nowhere to be found.

Now we were nine stranded kids, in downtown St. Paul, in the middle of a parking lot, with the temperature dropping, the sun setting, apartment tenants staring, and Woodbury students now laughing at us. I am not ashamed to say that at this point, some of us were beginning to cry.

Luckily things picked up from there. We got Tandy’s car started, and Devan’s mom eventually picked us up. Of course, Devan owes his parents $380, one of us had to make up a three hour service project, one kid was yelled at for not letting his dog out on time, and I missed a family dinner, but the good news is we did get home that night…at roughly eight o’clock.

Griffin Muckley, staff writer