The Lost and Found cabinet at the Circulation Desk sometimes approximates a cell phone parking lot. . . but what that phrase means in Houston has more to do with Intercontinental Airport. IAH has a scruffy but usable parking lot where you can await the arrival of your friends, family or business associates at no cost. When they call you on your cell phone you drive over to the terminal to pick them up. You can also use your cell phone to call a special Airport number for arriving flight information. This is preferred to scads of cars circling around creating smog and gridlock. It works especially well for international arrivals, since Customs takes an unpredictable amount of time.
Meeting a friend flying back from Frankfurt the other night, I followed conspicuous purple signage* to the cell phone lot. There were twenty or so vehicles erratically pulled into parking spaces, drivers tapping on laptops or iPads or dozing off while they waited. It was rather dark in the lot – too dark for reading a regular book. I wondered where the security officer that the Airport says would be around actually was. But the other cars all had drivers – you are NOT supposed to leave an unattended car in this lot – and we formed a ragged flock near the entrance/exit gate, so it didn’t feel unsafe. When my cell phone rang with my friend telling me she was out of Customs and on the way to the curb, the drive over to Terminal E only took a few minutes. There was a a melee at the E pickup curb, with multiple lines of private and commercial vehicles and uniformed officers waving drivers to move along unless you had your passenger(s) in your sights. But it worked out fine. I collected my friend, she hadn’t had to wait (which, just back from Europe with her body clock saying 2 AM, would have been hard on her), and I wasn’t out one red dime for parking even though I’d been at the airport for 45 minutes. Really, the world/city/year is chock full of wonderful stuff!
*The signage at IAH calls it the Passenger Pick Up Waiting Lot, but “cell phone parking lot” has proven to be a more apt and sticky name.