The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Green Button Failure

I had dinner with my girlfriends to celebrate Nancy's 50th birthday. She chose a restaurant in the chichi mall. I drove up to the entrance to the parking garage and pushed the big green button to get a parking ticket. No ticket. Push big green button again, still not ticket. So I pushed the little green button on the callbox, no response. I spent the next 60 seconds pushing buttons despite it being painfully obvious that I was not going to gain entrance to the parking garage. By this time, someone had pulled up behind me, so I had to get out of my car to play charades to get this lady to back up so I could back up and choose another entrance to the parking structure. This time pushing the big green button produced a parking ticket, the bar went up and I was admitted to the inner sanctum.

After spending some quality time with my girls (good food, martinis, making fun of the waiter, etc), I found my way back to my car drove down the ramp and handed the sacred ticket to the parking attendant. When he gave me my change, he asked me a question, with a strong Jamaican accent.

I heard him ask me, "Did you have trouble parking your car?" I felt so vindicated, at last this man was acknowledging my plight, how something as simple as parking my car had made me feel so vulnerable, like a pawn in the game of life!

"As a matter of fact, I did have trouble parking my car!" I then launched into a narrative of my ordeal, with all the gory details. Arlo Guthrie would have been proud of me, even though I left out the part about the 8x10 color glossy photos with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. When I had finished my sad story, it occurred to me to ask him, "How did you know I had trouble parking my car?"

"Lady, I asked you if you know the results of the Ohio vote!"

WTF? How did I hear "Did you have trouble parking your car" from "Do you know who won the Ohio vote?" The Jamaican parking attendant had a wonderful sense of humor and we spent the next few minutes laughing at my wacky ears. When I told him that I didn't know anything about the Ohio vote, he was appalled! "What? How can you not know about this, don't you live in America?" When I provided clarification, that I knew there was a primary and that it was do or die for Hillary, but I did not yet know the results of the "Ohio vote," he was relieved. "Good, I can accept this." I was permitted to exit the parking garage and once again live and work in America.

When I told son #2 about my encounter with the Jamaican parking attendant, he said, "Mom, he thinks you're a total suburban airhead bimbo." Well, maybe, but my theory is that the parking attendant is a federal agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and I passed the citizenship renewal pop quiz.

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