Coming Out of the Closet…Er, The Garage

It’s time to reveal what I do for a living, because some of the funniest and most unbelievable things that happen to me don’t make sense otherwise. 

I’m a manager (in fact my title is “General Manager”) for a parking management company, or as my boss would say, “I park cars for a living”.  He says that because it’s almost impossible to explain to people what you do.  They’re like, you do what?  By my count, for example, twelve of my 36 Facebook friends already know what I do, and about half of them actually understand it.  Okay, maybe not half. 

But I needed to say that because this week we made FAIL Blog.  Don’t tell me you don’t know Fail Blog.  Although if you don’t, you’re in good company.  My boss, my client, my electrician, and my 25-year old assistant manager didn’t know it either.  To the latter, I said, what is wrong with this concept?  It’s my generation who isn’t supposed to know about this stuff.  To be fair, I know about it only from Fakesister, who is really from my same generation now that we’ve progressed beyond being teenagers, and I don’t know what her excuse is. 

So here’s how we arrived: 

An area the Assistant to the City Manager now refers to as the “Stairway to Nowhere”.  (I think it would also qualify as the “Stairway to Heaven”.)  We were all alerted to this because the son of the administrative assistant to the mayor circulated the picture.  Needless to say, the picture does not exactly tell the whole story, but telling the whole story would ruin the fun.  I managed to be suitably stirred to action, but it was pretty hard in between breaking into peals of laughter and falling off my chair.  So that was Friday. 

On Thursday, a temp employee I had hoped to hire permanently called me on my cell phone at 7:00 A.M. and left a message to say that she was sick and would not be in.  No surprise.  She was sick the day before and left early.  She asked that I call her back.  I did not.  I didn’t see the point.  At 8:00 A.M., she calls me back…from the office.  I said, “What are you doing there?”  I was confused.  She said she came in anyway because I didn’t call her back.  Okay…I can see where this is headed.  It’s my fault.  I said, Really.  You didn’t have to come in.  You don’t need my permission to call in sick.  You notified me.  That’s your only obligation.  Little did I know. 

She said, I just got a $250 ticket…and it finally dawns on me that she parked in a handicap space directly in front of the office.  I said, you did what?  But follow this logic:  if I had called her back, she wouldn’t have come in, and if she hadn’t come in, and if she wasn’t sick, she wouldn’t have parked in a handicap space and wouldn’t have gotten a $250 ticket, ergo, it’s my fault.  Little does she know.  Even if I could have helped her, I would not. 

My father spent the last 30 years of his life in a wheelchair, and I vividly remember trying to take him places and watching the last handicap space be taken up by someone who jumps out and runs into the grocery store or whatever.  Leaving me to wrestle the wheelchair out of the car in some distant parking space and wheel him further than should have been necessary.  There is almost nothing you can do that infuriates me more than parking in a handicap space when you aren’t permitted to do so. 

I asked her to let me get off the phone so I could get there and discuss it in person.  By the time I arrived, she’d left.  Probably wise.  Took me only a couple of hours to call the temp agency and tell them to tell her not to set foot on the property again. 

Meanwhile, the Florida Legislature is in session here in Tallahassee, and there is “nowhere to park”.  This is a complete joke.  There are plenty of places to park, they just aren’t right across the street from the Capitol. 

Fortunately, I have people who work for me who are very good at customer service.  Actually, so am I, but I’m sort of the appeal of last resort.  By the time you get to me, like five people have already said no nicely.  People get amazingly out of control over parking.  I once had a guy step out of his car, and he was all red-faced, and he said that I WOULD let him in a full, closed garage because he had a meeting with the governor in FIVE MINUTES.  I said, then you needed to have been here an hour earlier.  And if you don’t get back in your car and back out, I’m calling the police, and if you decide you’re going to hurt me instead then go ahead but I’m going to do some damage to you on my way down.  Maybe it dawned on him there wouldn’t be much glory in punching out a 5’2″, 110 pound woman.  He left. 

Amazingly enough, I never get complaints.  By the time they get to me, some part of their reptile brain recognizes they are wrong.  In order to complain, they would have to explain their own actions, and that turns out to be best left unsaid. 

Also on Thursday, a customer came through and insisted that I come to the window.  She said she would like to apologize to me because she was rude to me last week.  I said, You know, I don’t even remember it.  And she said, I don’t CARE if you don’t remember it!  I remember it!  So I’m apologizing!  I said, um, Thank you.  As she drove away, the office erupted in laughter.  The assistant manager, the cashier, the locksmith who was there…and the locksmith said, how dare you not remember her! 

And that of course is the thing.  Everything is all about you.

2 responses to “Coming Out of the Closet…Er, The Garage

  1. > parking in a handicap space when you aren’t
    > permitted to do so.

    When I retire, I’m thinking about volunteering to roan retail parking lots looking for folks illegally parked in handicap spaces. The City has a program where they give you a digital camera to do this.

    When you find a miscreant, you photo the car in a way which shows tag, lack of plate / tag and the handicap access sign. Then, they use that to ticket the owner.

    It will make my day to teach these folks that they will be held accountable! The idea they will not is a major reason for crime. (I’m working on a post about that.)

    As for folks who get all whacked out about parking, one of the bad things about this town is that there’s a lot of folks who think they are soooo important that they can get special treatment.

    Not just elected officials, but all the high level state agency types. They’re used to having everyone jump in the office, so they expect everyone else will too. I say, keep putting them in their place. There’ll be a new governor at the end of the year, and a lot of folks will see that in one day they will become nobody.

  2. Well, there will always be a governor, and someone will have a meeting with him (or her) in FIVE MINUTES!!! So my world will not change 🙂
    The person who wrote the ticket for the employee was one of those people you mention. I forget what it’s called, Citizen Auxiliary or something. In any case, you take a class and at the end you’re authorized to write tickets. I didn’t know about the digital camera part, but it’s a very good idea.
    The person who wrote the ticket sent me an email saying the employee has already contacted the hearing officer in an attempt to dispute it. Good luck on that one. “I work here” and “I don’t feel good” don’t trump parking in a handicap space. You either were, or you weren’t. People with handicaps don’t feel so good every day.

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