Monday, May 11, 2015

The parking lot attendant

The parking attendant that is see almost everyday reminds me of my father, an older latino working class man. We started off poorly. I was always late for yoga and he wasn’t helpful. One day I needed to stay in the lot longer than the allowed time, so I needed to pay and then get a new ticket. When I paid I asked if he could give me a new ticket without making me pack my kid into the car seat and leave the lots and drive back in. He said no. I got really annoyed and snapped at him and I acted like an ass.

I hate apologizing. But I did, that same day. I went up to him and said I was sorry and he accepted it reluctantly. Time passed and Valentines day rolled around and I offered him a cookie and he took one. I would always say hi when I passed and he would sort of respond. Then at some point If I needed to get more time I would ask if he needed me to drive out and back and he started to say no, and would just give me a new ticket. Years passed and he got friendlier. I gave him our family holiday Christmas card.

Time passed and we were on really good terms. When I would go a few minutes past the three hour mark he would let it slide and when I forgot to stamp my ticket he never made me go back inside, he’d deal with it.

My second kid was born and I started to drive my husband’s car, which does not have auto locks or windows, so when I would drive over to pay I would have to lean over and open the passenger side door to give him the money. Quickly, he started opening the door for me and then pushing down the button to lock the door before closing it. His gesture reminded me of my father and my father’s father, the simple action of his finger pushing the button and also the thought behind it.

This past year I started to ask him if he had any quarters the day before wash day. He would light up ay the idea of getting rid of quarters and always asked how many. He always had as many as I needed. When I park on the street and pass the lot we say hello in a very friendly way.

Last month I parked on the street and he waved to me to tell me the building was closed due to a gas leak. When I cam back later he was happy to tell me it was open again.

On friday I lost my parking ticket. I searched everywhere and it was no where. I got pissed off for a moment but then just surrendered peacefully to having to pay the fine. I drove over with the $10 bill out stretched and said I lost my ticket. Then I thought to ask if he found it and his face lit up and he said, “Yes someone turned it in and I knew whose it was.” He showed it to me and smiled his brightest smile and I beamed back.

Today there was a new attendant in a special vest working in the parking lot. It was the     same vest that all the new contracted workers inside the building wore. When I drove over to pay no one opened my door and when I paid no one locked my door. I feel really sad typing this, as I don’t think I will ever see him again.

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