Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hello, It's Me

Rather than talk about the old Todd Rundgren song, I'd like to ask:

Have you ever run into . . . yourself? By that I mean, have you ever came across someone who so reminded you of yourself that it was scary? Well, I did today.

I was leaving my office and entering the nearby county-run garage to leave for my new pizza delivery job with Vocelli's. I hate to do this, but the story won't make any sense unless I explain how this garage works:

  • Between 8 PM and 7 AM weekdays, there is no charge to park; I have often hung around an extra few minutes when working the afternoon-evening shift to take advantage of this fact.
  • From 7 PM to 8 AM, the hourly charge is 75 cents (it just went up from 50 cents).
  • All cars entering the garage between 7 AM and 8 PM get a ticket for payment.
  • The hourly charge starts ON THE HOUR, regardless of at what time the ticket is stamped.
  • I pay by placing the ticket and the payment in a machine as I return to the car, not/not as I exit. The ticket is then re-stamped, I drive down to the gate, stick the ticket in, and go.
  • Those coming into the garage before 7 AM like me get a ticket from the attendant when returning to the car later. Those tickets are stamped at various times between 7 and 7:30 AM, but as I mentioned above, the charges start at 7 AM.
So I'm seeing this well-dressed guy giving the two attendants--both of whom I talk to regularly--a hard time in a rather loud voice. What was itching his undershirt?

He also parked in the garage before 7 AM and had to pick up a ticket to leave. He was insisting that, since his ticket was stamped at 7:28, he should only have to pay for two hours; the time was now about 10:10. The ladies calmly tried to explain to him what I did above. He would have none of it; they weren't about to take his precious extra 75 cents.

Feeling chivalrous and hoping maybe the guy would hear it from me instead of the women, I likewise explained that I had to get a card stamped with about the same time. I told him that if I left now, it would cost me $3. If I left at 10:34, it would cost me $3. If I left at 10:58, it would cost me $3. Only at 11:00:01 would I pay another 75 cents. He followed me over to the payment machine as I told him I would be charged $3. And I was.

This still didn't satisfy him, and he then played the "Do you know who I am?" card, saying he was a manager at Men's Wearhouse. I don't think I'm going over there anytime soon. He may have had a point, but neither of these ladies, whom I bet make minimum wage or not much more, could do anything about it; he should vent at the county parking authority.

You know what? Given the right (or wrong!) situation, that could have been me. And I have fought to die on some stoopid hills in my day. So maybe I had a little compassion for this hothead. But I had more compassion for those beleagured women who couldn't tell him what he wanted to hear.