We fell out of grace with time the other day and it cost us $1 for seven minutes.
The seven minutes were spent unsuccessfully searching for a parking place at Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport.
We were suffering an early siege of vertigo from swirling around the parking aisles when we retreated to the exit and explained our plight to the young lady operating the gate. "That will be $1," she said. We have intentionally forgotten what we replied. "Look, I don't write the rules," she rejoined. "For seven minutes you have to pay." The gate remained firmly closed. So did her clenched teeth. We paid.
An official at LAX was sympathetic when we called to check out what we thought was an extraordinary injustice. "The grace period is six minutes," he confirmed. Furthermore, he explained, it was just our bad luck, on a Saturday afternoon, to have missed the attendant usually on duty within the parking structure at crowded times to direct unsuccessful parkers across a bridge to the parking structure at Terminal 7. But then, we never would have been able to lug our baggage all that way.
Postscript: We parked in a remote lot. The driver of the shuttle bus handled the suitcases all the way. And we saved $5. Well, no, $4, when you count the $1 we paid for failing to find a parking place.