Sitting on Top of the World


Sitting on Top of the World

Melissa Bean Sterzick


We’ve cleared the first month and a half of the school year and I’m looking back at a summer feeling like it went too fast.


My daughters are 16 and 19 now, and summer break is wildly different from when they were 6 and 9, or 10 and 13. I miss beach days, camping, visits to the grandparents, the plunge, and movies in the park. But I try my best to find fun things a high school junior and college sophomore will consider doing with their parents.


One of those things incorporated a new version of an old favorite with an exceptional use of a parking structure. Instead of watching “Minions” in a pile of blankets and low chairs on the lawn of the city center, we went to Rooftop Cinema, a theater on the top of a nearby parking garage, for a more mature outdoor movie experience. 


I bought the tickets online, including parking. When we arrived, friendly event staff waved us up the ramps to the top level where we parked just a few steps from the theater. The parking and movie areas were separated by decorative lighting, planters, and picket fencing around a huge patch of artificial turf.


There were Instagram-worthy backdrops, popcorn and concessions, and giant versions of classic games like Connect Four and checkers. The seating was swanky, too, cushioned Adirondak chairs equipped with fluffy blankets and wireless headsets.


The movie started and I took in the warm and fuzzy feeling of the venue, the company, and the view. The huge screen in front of us was flanked by high rise office buildings and the floating lights of landings and departures at Los Angeles International Airport. We were completely exposed, but in a bubble of comfort.


I took one of those smiling breaths moms take when they are with their kids, when everyone is safe, moderately happy, and most importantly, together. 


Whenever I miss having small children, I try to think of the happy memories with their inherent struggles. Those days were sweet, but so much work. My kids do their laundry now, can make their own meals, and get their own band-aids when they need them. When I can convince them to go to the beach with me, they don’t eat sand or cry after they wipe out on their boogie board.


Now that they are back in school and another year closer to creating lives that are almost totally separate from mine, I think of that really happy movie night, perched in an unlikely space on top of a concrete parking garage perfectly transformed into a gathering place for my family.

Article contributed by:
Melissa Bean Sterzick, Parking Today Contributor
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