Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oh no, oh no, it's off to work I go!

Welcome to my Friday, a day of work, walking, and hundreds of pounds of AGM batteries that need to be delivered to a boat waiting at the gas dock at the Marina Jack marina. This is one of the best marina's in Florida. It has a super staff, great amenities, and best of all it is right on top of downtown Sarasota. This allows visiting boaters to walk to dozens of restaurants and bars, get groceries at Whole Foods, and visit art galleries and specialty shops.

To provide some orientation to this place for visitors, I crafted a little map to show you the layout. The Marina Jack marina is part of the Island Park complex which sprawls along the Sarasota downtown bay front. There are walkers, walkers with dogs, bike riders, tourists galore, two restaurants, public art sculpture exhibitions, and people of the future riding Segways. Needless to say, there is a lot of parking, but for the Installer with a bunch of very heavy batteries, during tourist season, with a local boat show going on, getting close to the docks is a substantial chore.

Out of tourist season if you get to the marina early, you can usually get a parking space that is pretty close. If you can't get close, there are a couple of unloading spaces up front that you can use to off load gear. But alas, that isn't going to work today, because a large seafood delivery truck is parked in front of the two available spaces.

That's okay, because you might be able to use the restaurants loading spot, albeit briefly to do your off load. But today that's not going happen either because the valet kids have partially blocked it off by squeezing one more car into the, "If you pay me extra money you get a front spot on Bentley circle." My theory is that the entire Island Park complex is actually secretly run by a bunch of red shirted young kids, who careen around the complex in golf carts fetching cars for the diners, and an occasional boater.

So today, I have a boat waiting at the gas dock, a truck filled with batteries, and no other options. So I just stop in front of a couple valet parked cars on Bentley circle. You haven't truly experienced life to the fullest until a red shirted valet urchin, with pockets stuffed full of one dollar bills runs up and tells you to "move on, you can't stop here". It's almost a scene right out of Lord of the Flies. You're interfering with his cash flow. If he had a fire hardened wood spear in his hand I would have taken him seriously. In this case, in my head, I gave him my best Ron White grin and said, "Sure... I will buddy boy". but I was silent, and dumped off the batteries anyway enduring the withering glare, that can only come from someone who has only had his drivers licence for lets say, about two weeks. 

Let's make things a bit more complicated. We're looking south on Long Schlep Road. This picture was taken from the main drag entrance looking south. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out on a bad day, you can be quite a distance from the boat you are dealing with, and even worse.....

With few exceptions most of the parking has a 3 hour limit. This means if it's a long day, you have to hike out into the hinterlands every few hours, and move your vehicle so the chalk marks on your tires don't give you away, resulting in a request for a involuntary donation to the City of Sarasota's coffers.

In the end, despite withering glares, a boat show, and lots of people around, the batteries ended up on the boat, and we pushed off to drop an anchor and do the battery change out. There was no room at the inn on this day because of the boat show.

I don't want to leave this, sounding like I'm whining in a nonconstructive way. I do have a modest suggestion for the City's parental units, and facility operators. Why instead of just two 15 minute loading spots, just double it to four, and not at the expense at the existing spaces that don't have a time limit on the main drag.  In other words take away two of the close in valet spaces to do this. This would reduce some of the strain in getting materials to the boats for both the boat owners, and the people who maintain them. I mean there are 316 slips for boaters here. At four unloading spots, that would be about 1 for every 80 slips, give or take a few. That's not a whole lot to ask for is it? I mean on a bad day most of the cherry parking places are taken by tourists, and diners who just don't want to pay the fragrant grease to the valet crew if they don't have to.

After the battery change out, the scene repeated itself because I had to get the old batteries off the boat, and reloaded into the truck. Again no graceful way to do this, and more stares. Sometimes I think the marina is there, just to attract business for the restaurant.

If you're lucky, late at night you can sometimes see a bunch of kids with spears wearing red shirts dancing wildly around a Lamborghini.

"I had the right to remain silent......but I didn't have the ability." Ron White


  1. Marina Jack's and Flemmings are the only two places I can think of where the primo parking spaces are allotted to the valet.
    If they want to earn their "fragrant grease" from me, the will have to park in the back of the lot!

  2. Just ran across your blog - and thoroughly enjoyed the observations of the ridiculous parking situation at Marina Jack. It's truly painful.

  3. True...all of it. Ridiculous that Marina Jack valets run roughshod over the entire parking lot all the way to the park entrance. Why are the citizens of Sarasota accepting this???


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