the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

LA is so Laid Back


Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where they can’t find their car in the parking garage? 

I have one better.

Let’s backtrack to yesterday.  Sophia and I made up and my anxiety lessened.

“Do you want to go for dinner tonight?” she asks.


“Oh, by the way, we’re also going out with Andrew and his mother.”

“No way.  I can’t handle him right now.”

“It’s his birthday.  We have to.”

My anxiety level shoots up three hundred percent.

You see, I’m a Zen Master of Serenity compared to Andrew.  He makes everyone nervous.  Sophia is his only friend.  Although he is basically a nice guy, he’s what they used to call “eccentric.”  He’s a 35 year old Korean-born artist whose only real enjoyment in life is taking photographs of bugs.   His photos are actually beautiful and artistic…   Andrew would be a very successful artist if only he didn’t always get into fights with gallery owners.  He’s brooding, sullen, and bad tempered.  But I did say he was nice, right?

We make plans to meet outside of my apartment building at 6:30. 

At 6:30, Sophia and I go outside and wait.  6:30.  6:45.  Where is he?  We get a phone call.  He’s on the side street, waiting at the driveway of the parking garage. 

“And hurry.”  he says.

We rush over and see that Andrew and his mother are sitting in a car, but not in front of MY building.  They are in the driveway of a parking garage of an apartment building ACROSS THE STREET. Not only are they waiting at the wrong place, but there’s a loud cacophony of honking horns.  It seems as if Andrew is trapped between the gate of the parking garage and some RESIDENT of that building, a college girl, who wants to drive in with her Mercedes.  She can’t move because Andrew can’t move.  And behind her are TWENTY cars trapped on Hauser Blvd., which is always crowded during rush hour. So she cannot move back to let Andrew back out.  Everyone is screaming at each other and honking.  Andrew is beet red and screaming:

“Fuck you!  Fuck You!  Fuck you!” 

Sophia and I jump into the car.   The Mercedes Girl opens her garage gate with her remote.

“I think she wants you to go in,” Sophia tells Andrew.

“I’m not going in.  I want to go backwards.”

“You can’t go backwards.  You’re trapped.  There’s a hundred cars behind us!”

Dear readers, have you noticed that so far, I haven’t said a word in this story.  Usually, I’m the main character of my own tales.  But this time, I was just sitting there wondering if my Tic Tac could be used as a placebo for Xanax.

The Mercedes Girl honks over and over. 

“What the hell does she want me to do?” Andrew cries.

“Go in and then we’ll come right out again.” says Sophia.

Andrew drives in.  Mercedes Girl drives by, shaking her head, angrily.

“Idiot!  Jerk!” she says.

Andrew begins to look like one of those cartoon characters that have steam coming out their head.   As Mercedes Girl parks in her spot, the gate closes, leaving us trapped inside.

“One of us has to talk to the girl,” says Sophia.

“I’ll do it,” volunteers Andrew’s mother.

Andrew’s mother heads over to Mercedes Girl.  We watch as Andrew’s mother and Mercedes Girl  talk it out.  They seem to be working out the situation.  Suddenly, Andrew jumps out and starts pacing in front of the car and twirling around like a dreidel.

“What’s going on with you, Andrew?” asks Sophia.

“She’s dissing my mother,” replies Andrew.

“I think you should get back into the car and let your mom get us out of here.” 

“No one talks to my mother like that.  Especially this bitch.”

“Andrew, c’mon, this whole thing is even sort of funny.  Just keep calm.”

“What is that bitch saying to my mother? Hey you — what are you saying to my mother?!”

“You were wrong!” says Mercedes Girl.  “How about apologizing?!”

“Never, you fucking bitch!  Who the fuck do you think you are, driving around in that Mercedes…”

“There’s no problem anymore, Andrew,” says his mother.  “She used to live in Seoul, too.  Just go back into the car.”

“You need to control you son, Miss.” says Mercedes Girl.  “He’s crazy.”

“You think just because you own a Mercedes that you’re better than me, you fucking…”

Sophia and I jump out of the car to calm him down.  Mercedes Girl starts walking away towards the door leading to her apartment building’s lobby.

“Fuck you!” Mercedes Girl screams at Andrew, then turns to all of us.  “Fuck all of you!”

Mercedes Girl enters her lobby and locks the door behind her, purposely leaving us behind with no way to get out.

We are trapped in the parking garage of someone else’s apartment building.

Sophia and I look at each other.  Surely, the girl is going to come back and let us out of the garage. 

She doesn’t.

We drive to the gate, hoping that it will open automatically .

It doesn’t.

We see a phone on the other side of the gate. 

“Perfect!” says Sophia.  “We can call the manager.”

But we need a key to get to the other side.

Sophia and I look at each other.  Surely, someone will be either coming or leaving the building pretty soon.

An hour passes.  

We are all sitting in  the car, the engine running, ready to sneak out… as soon as someone opens the gate.   But no one is coming or going.    We can’t leave by car.   We can’t leave by foot.   We don’t know who to call.  We’re stuck. 

Sophia and I are now laughing at the absurdity of the situation.   Andrew sits stone-faced and hasn’t said a word to any of us.   But every few minutes he mumbles:

“Bitch… fucking bitch…”

Sophia and I try to cheer him up by saying that the whole scenario is hilarious.  We sing “Happy Birthday.”  He scowls.

Finally, Mercedes Girl reappears, carrying her remote for the garage.

“I’m going to let you out, but I want you to know you were wrong…  You should be more considerate…”

‘Yes, we were wrong,” says Sophia.  “You’re very kind to let us out.”

“Kind?!” screams Andrew. 

He has finally decided to talk.

“You’re nothing but a fucking…”

Andrew’s mother puts her hand over his mouth, muzzling him, so we could get the hell out of that garage — and finally go to dinner.


  1. erin

    Dude… you should carry a taser for moments like that. Just set your phasers to stun long enough to get out of the garage with out him having a freaking siezure.

  2. Margaret

    I love that ya’ll sang “Happy Birthday” right through his tantrum.

  3. anne

    Man, that’s hilarious. Maybe a slap would have calmed him down. I think I would have given that a try, and then probably laughed some more…

  4. Tracy Lynn

    Dude, I’m relieved to know that there are crazy people in this world who are NOT related to me. Makes me feel all warm inside, you know?

  5. Rabbit

    After the first hour I would have looked at the rest of the company and suggested, “Maybe we should order out.”

  6. sara lee

    Wow, Mr. Anxiety!

  7. claire

    Wow. I always get irritated when tv shows have characters do stupid things to instigate or escalate the action, but it really is art imitating life.

    Time to pick up a taser and some snack-packs.

  8. Brooke

    This may possibly be my favorite story ever. But it would have been even better had Sophia thrown Andrew into oncoming traffic when you got out of the garage. That’s what I would have done, but that’s just me.

  9. Student Nurse

    I think Andrew needs prescription medication.

  10. Brian

    Now that’s just plain good comedy!!!! Nice!!

  11. Leesa

    Wow…that guy would make me nervous. I would have been like you, sitting quietly waiting for it all to end.

  12. deeptipie

    That is truly the funniest story I have read in ages(and it was for real)-WoW. I agree with Anne about trying the slap..then again I wouldn’t want to take a chance to make the situation worse that it was.

  13. Miz Liz

    This is hilarious. Andrew makes us all look like Zen masters.

  14. cruisin-mom

    wow, if that isn’t a script for a t.v. sitcom (hysterical), I don’t know what is…you’ve got to send that SOMEWHERE, Neil. See, that’s why I love L.A…people are so polite and friendly.

  15. Neil

    We actually ended up going to dinner at a Serbian restaurant in West L.A. — but that’s another story.

  16. Danny

    Good lord, that guy is two steps away from becoming a serial killer. If I was that woman I might never have come down with my gate opener. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have wanted such a lunatic on the grounds of my apartment building. The only thing I can say in Andrew’s defense is that I undertand the ‘tude about a college girl driving a Mercedes.

  17. Sandra

    I feel so much more sane after reading that.

  18. anne arkham

    Eh. You shoulda just walked home and left him there.

  19. Mike

    Kind of ironic that a fellow who photographs insects for a living has a tendency for buggin’ out.

  20. Serena

    Ah…thanks so much for lightening my mood with this story. Gotta love those offbeat friends ; )

  21. darlin nikki

    Daaaaaamn, and think of the other stories the mom must have…..

  22. Mr_Rodacre

    Hilarious! Though I am sorry you had to put up with the eccentric ravings – this is the most awesome story I have heard in quite some time…

    The Happy Birthday singing was inspired…

  23. psychotoddler

    Los Angelinos are so eloquent.

  24. better safe than sorry

    so how was dinner?

  25. The Daily Rant

    Truly one of the funniest things I’ve read recently. Absolutely hysterical. I have to say, I would have been chiming in with Andrew though – beeatch!

  26. Won't Tell

    Serbian? Must have been in the mood for another armed conflict.

  27. Celina

    Oh, Zen Master, You are So Awesome! I absolutely could NOT be around someone like that! After reading your story, I couldn’t help but mutter “Asshole!” Now I have to explain to dear hubby “who” I was talking about! 🙂

  28. Nicole

    Oh man that was freakin’ hilarious!! When I read that you guys went into the garage, I knew it was a mistake. That girl has got some nerve trapping you guys in there. Yeah, LA is really laid back during rush hour… ha! Also I have to say that Mike’s comment was almost as funny as your post!

  29. Scarlet

    Ugh, I can HEAR his screaming after reading that. How did you not go insane being stuck in that car?!

  30. Amanda

    oh, lord, brilliant. i love it.

  31. Jacynth

    Wowzers. He sounds like George Costanza, most definitely. I always admire people that can make any situation very, very uncomfortable!

  32. jaimie

    ha ha ha ha ha I gotta remember that one about the tic tac.

  33. Leah

    Holy shit that is hilarious! I’m almost in complete disbelief. If it wasn’t for some of the absurd things that my own friends do (because of course, I do nothing crazy)…I wouldn’t believe a word of it. Hehehee.

  34. Pearl

    Cruisin’ Mom took the words from me…to my surprise — NOT!

    I was going to say that you have a 1/2 hour sitcom episode right there! It is really worthy of airtime.

    I think I’d rename the episode: “Birthdays Can Be a Bitch.”

    Neil, you’re a writer — do something with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. sarah




    you’re joking right? did that really happen? his mom did NOT cover his mouth. what is he? five years old?! LOL!!!

    if i had waited for an hour inside the garage i would have gotten out and keyed her mercedes. okay, i am too chicken and nice to do that, but i would have thought about it.

    you are a funny, funny man, neil.

  36. Neil

    Won’t tell — I made a terrible mistake by saying the restaurant was Serbian. It was Bosnian!

  37. helen

    I’m surprised u didn’t open your mouth and gave Andrew a piece of ur mind!! LOL I guess, putting him in your blog is another way of doing it… does he read your blog??
    The Mercedes girl is not right u know… she has no right to waste your one hour! You know what I’ll do? All of you should start serenading the girl on top of your voice!! Let ppl call the cops. Can u classify that as unlawful detainning?

    Can you sue? 😛

  38. bella

    Whoa – maybe you really should have carried Xanax with you just for him!

  39. Bill

    Oh geez … that’s priceless. There must be an Andrew in everyone’s life. It reminded me of a post I never posted. I had a situation a couple of months ago where a friend of mine did an Andrew in a bar with the bartender. Then I started screaming at her and having a tantrum because she was doing an Andrew. We were eventually ejected from the bar and continued to scream at each other on the street outside.

    Andrews doing an Andrew sometimes turn us into Andrews too.

  40. Fitèna

    lol!!! You’funny guy Neil! Am repeating myself but can’t help it! You’re one funny guy Neil!!! lol!


  41. Wendy

    What a way to wake up! Wow, make me appreciate the East Coast assholes more.

    I can’t wait for the movie!

  42. The Retropolitan

    I’m not one for violence, but stuff like this makes me wonder if, you know, there’s a time and a place for a good quick jab to the head.

  43. Jessica

    I kept waiting for the twist in the story where you reveal that Andrew is, in fact, one of your 12 personalities.

  44. Elisabeth

    Absolutely classic! Now, I am not sure whether I should be grateful for, or curse the dullness of my own life.

    Andrew needs to attend to his short fuse, though, or he will not live past his 40th birthday. Oh and, by the way, how was dinner at the Bosnian restaurant?

  45. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T )

    You say Sophia is his only friend?
    Sophia, is a saint! 😉


  46. Danny

    Am I the only one who empathizes with the way Mercedes girl responded to Andrew’s abuse? I don’t think she owed him a thing after that tirade. Of course the “fuck all of you” was out of line!

    P.S. Gates like that should automatically open from the inside! (Many do.)

  47. Neil

    Danny — She was totally right. I’m not sure I would have locked people in the garage, though.

    Elisabeth — The restaurant was more interesting than good.

    review of “The Aroma Cafe” on Sarah’s “The Delicious Life” —

    But one of the cool things about LA are all these exotic restaurants tucked inside ugly mini-malls, sometimes right between a cleaners and a donut shop.

  48. mariemm3

    I am glad you and Sophia made up. 🙂

  49. LisaBinDaCity

    Great minds, I talked about Seinfeld today too.

    I can’t believe you guys put up with that yutz! I would need a whole month’s worth of xanax to deal with him!

  50. Tatyana

    Seinfield brain trash: my sofa had finally arrived yesterday and all I could describe it to various correspondents was “it’s real and it’s spectacular!”

  51. jennster

    LMFAO.. omg. i miss LA.

  52. ekramer

    if everyone stayed calm you just had to take the elevator to the lobby ring the manager or super and ask them to let you out. Of course they might have called the police and had you searched ,but that’s another story.

  53. Neil

    Mom, in these parking garages, you need a key to enter the building. It’s not like a shopping mall where the elevator is right there. All the doors were shut. We were literally trapped in the garage, like they were trapped in that room on “24” on Monday night.

  54. chantel

    With friends like him….

  55. lizriz

    O M G


    Doesn’t there have to be a way to walk out in case of fire?

  56. Pants

    Andrew is lucky I wasn’t there. I would have freaked out and started eating him.

  57. AWE

    I would have knocked his ass out. There is no way that I would have went to dinner with him.

  58. michelle

    he’s wound a little tight! What a story!

  59. Dating Dummy

    He seems delightful! We should have him over for dinner when we visit you in LA! (cough, cough)

  60. Dating Dummy

    Oh yes – I can juggle! So can ICG!

  61. ACG

    andrew either needs to get laid or a lobotomy… maybe both.

  62. Postmodern Sass

    Since you mentioned that episode of Seinfeld, I thought you might enjoy this story.

  63. Denise

    I love LA…it’s so ugly and that’s just part of its charm!

  64. Mel

    You know, I don’t feel half so crazy now…

  65. Alissa

    He needs to be put on medication! I would have been terrified of him.

  66. mr_g

    That’s funny as hell! Sounds like you’re within a few miles of downtown or as I like to refer to anything south of the Valley, as that “overcrowded area over the hill!” Damn, I’ve felt your pain many times…and I’ve felt Mercedes Girl’s pain even more! Great post!

  67. Nancy

    that is priceless. SO worth it so you’d have that story.


  68. ms. sizzle

    the fact that this actually happened makes the story all the more funny. that guy sounds like my ex. ugh. i am sooo glad you made it out alive though seriously? i would have voted you kill and eat him first for being such a jerk.

    🙂 sizz

  69. bettyonthebeach

    L.A. driving stories are always the best! Sounds like your friend has an issue with Touret’s though. I would have been so embarassed if I were you.

  70. Priss

    That’s an amazing story.

  71. modigli

    That’s hilarious!
    I’ve gotta say that Andrew was probably one of those children that always received the P.E Award in Elementary school!

    Ha! I think it’s hilarious when grown-ups let their anger get the best of them. They suddenly revert to being 5 years old all over again.

    At least you and Sophia got the humor of it all. What a birthday!

  72. mernitman

    Where can we get it set up and who do you want to direct?

  73. ashbloem


  74. akaky

    Ditto what Ashbloem said. Does Thorazine come in a nasal spray, does anyone know? Sounds like Andrew could use a quick hit every now and again.

  75. "Said" Woman

    It doesn’t matter how many times I read this post, it never grows old. Hilarious.

  76. Alexandra

    Reading this story makes me never ever want to return to LA. I know there are a-holes everywhere but they seem to really, really be extra attracted to Los Angeles.

  77. Five Husbands

    I have friends who have friends like this say always say “s/he is really nice you really should come” and then I do and they are rude/awful/prick-ish and I wonder why I bother. Years pass, they bring the said friend up again, blah blah blah, and off I go again only to have the same identical experience.

    It is now 2008 – and I wonder – did you see Andrew again?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial