A pickup truck pulled into the parking lot entrance. I approached the driver’s side. The driver rolled down his window. I told him there was a $5 parking fee. He responded, Is your box not working?
He was talking fast, and I was sure I had misunderstood what he said to me. I said something like Pardon me? or maybe What was that? or perhaps Excuse me?
He said it again, a bit more slowly. Is your box not working?
At that point I was just standing there looking at him blankly. Finally I said, I’m sorry. I don’t understand the question.
Are people not putting money in the box (he pointed over my shoulder) to pay for parking? Is that why they had to get someone out here to collect money? Because your box isn’t working?
I looked over to where he was pointing and realized the “box” he was talking about was the iron ranger, the long metal tube where folks deposit their self-pay envelopes (with $5 in them) when there is no attendant on duty.
(The iron ranger looks absolutely nothing like any box I’ve ever seen.)
I explained to him that the iron ranger has been working fine, but attendants (like me!) collect payment during busy times.
(Actually, I’m not sure the iron ranger does work fine. I think it’s way easy for people to overlook the fee when there’s not a human person standing in front of them asking for payment.)
In any case, after he drove away, I realized I had missed an opportunity. The first time he said Is your box not working? I should have gasped How dare you! and slapped him across the face.
When I got called into the boss’ office, this would have been my story:
That man said something lewd to me, and I reacted without thinking. I know I shouldn’t have slapped him, but he was talking about my vagina! He asked me if I’m not having sex because my vagina is broken! The nerve of him!
My co-worker and I had a good laugh about the whole situation, but it’s probably for the best that I’m slow on the update and didn’t make the connections box=vagina, is your box not working=why aren’t you having sex? until after the man drove away. Slapping visitors is probably not a good way to get myself rehired next summer.