Tag Archives: tourists

I Have a 4th Grader

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Last summer when I worked collecting parking fees across the street from a popular trail in a National Forest, many visitors tried to avoid paying to park their cars. I heard many reasons why people thought they shouldn’t have to fork over $5 to park, including I’m disabled, I’m a veteran, I’m a disabled veteran, I pay taxes, I have an America the Beautiful pass, I’m a senior citizen, I’m a local, and I paid to camp.

Some time after Labor Day when I thought I’d heard it all, in response to my request for $5, the woman driving said, I have a 4th grader.

I suppressed the urge to say, What the fuck’s that got to do with anything? and looked at her blankly (which wasn’t difficult since I honestly had no idea what she was talking about) until she handed over the cash.

When I told my coworkers about the woman and her 4th grader, they were as perplexed as I was. A 4th grader? So what?

Four months later, the Divine Miss M and I visited the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm). We were on a van tour of the Ajo Mountain Drive, and our driver was a lovely young ranger named Anna. As she made chit chat with us and the couple sitting int he first bench seat, Anna told us she wanted to make a career of working with kids on public (federal) land. She mentioned a program called Every Kid in a Park, and explained this program waived admission fees to public land for every fourth grader in the United States.

In an instant all became clear. The woman with the 4th grader thought she shouldn’t have to pay the parking fee because of the Every Kid in the Park program.

(According to http://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm,

To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, the White House, in partnership with the Federal Land Management agencies, launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative. The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their federal public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Beginning September 1st all kids in the fourth grade have access to their own Every Kid in a Park pass at www.everykidinapark.gov. This pass provides free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!)

Far down the list of official rules for the Every Kid in a Park pass (found at https://www.everykidinapark.gov/rules/), it says

Also, some sites are managed by private operators. They may not honor the pass. Check with the site ahead of time to find out.

If the lady with the 4th grader had checked ahead of time, she would have found the parking lot I worked in was indeed managed by a private operator and did not honor the pass.

As Anna explained the Every Kid in a Park program, I wondered–if I lived long enough, would I eventually understand the reason for everything I experienced?

 

Mean Daddy

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It was another slow, cold day at the Bridge. I noticed the family—Mom, Dad, young teenage daughter—because their clothes said they had money, and they were actually stopping to look at the merchandise on vendor’s tables.

I told the mom about my bracelets and necklaces (handmade by me from hemp, able to open and close completely). The mom liked my jewelry and wanted her daughter (between the ages of 12 and 14, I’m guessing) to like it too. The daughter, however, was at the age and the stage where she didn’t want to like anything her mom liked. They wandered away, and I was disappointed I hadn’t made a sale.

Before long, the daughter was at my table alone. She asked me a few questions about my jewelry. Then she saw my hats. She really liked the hats. I even pulled out my back stock so she could choose from everything I had available. She picked out a cute one with a pompom on top. I told her it cost $10.

Her father was walking by, and she demanded, Dad! Buy me this hat! (I admit, she sounded like a real brat.)

Her dad said, No!

The girl said, Come on! It’s only $10. Buy me the hat!

Her dad sneered, This is just a knit hat. You don’t need this.

He said just a knit hat the same way someone might say just an old boot or just a pile of dog shit. He obviously felt great contempt for that hat I’d made with my own two hands. I stood there wondering if he realized I was the person who’d made that just a knit hat.

I could understand if he didn’t want to buy anything for his daughter because she was being a demanding brat. I could understand if he’d already bought her a lot of stuff on this trip and didn’t want to spend any more money. I could understand if the girl had plenty of things and needed nothing more. But the guy could have been nicer to his daughter and to me. (How about: This is a nice hat, but you don’t need it, and I’m not spending any more money until dinner.)

The girl kept pleading, and the man turned to me in exasperation and demanded, Will you take $5 for it?

Time froze. On the one hand, at $10 per hat, I’m not paying myself minimum wage, as a hat takes me more than an hour to make. At $5 per hat, I am paying myself a seriously pitiful wage. On the other hand, I’d only made $3 so far that day, and $5 was better than no dollars. Besides, a teenage girl liked a hat I’d made, and that was pretty cool. So I sighed wearily and agreed to take $5 for the hat.

The dad pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket. I saw a $100 bill in his hand. He fished a twenty out of the pile and asked if I could make change. I signed wearily again and said yes.

As I gave him the last of my change, he said gruffly, I don’t know if I’m going to get out of here with any money left.

Isn’t that what vacation’s for? I asked brightly.

(I don’t believe vacations are primarily for spending money, but that man had just shown me he actually had plenty of money to spend.)

To read about other hemp jewelry customers, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/05/we-feel-for-your-situation/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/10/red-letter-day-2/ , here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/26/turtle-ass/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/03/17/how-much-are-these/ here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/12/hard-times-on-the-highway/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/09/selling-hemp-again/

Tourists and the Crisis Hotline Call Boxes

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Within the last year, the DOT installed crisis hotline call boxes on the Bridge. It was a long time coming. Every time someone committed suicide by jumping from the Bridge, there was an outcry that something needed to be done. One idea offered was to install nets to catch anyone who jumped. Another idea offered was to install phones to connect people with suicidal thoughts to the suicide prevention hotline.

I think people who truly want to end their lives will find a way to do so. However, I also think we (as a society) should do whatever we can to help people who are thinking about committing suicide. Many people having suicidal thoughts need counseling or other assistance, but don’t truly want to die. I’m not opposed to the crisis hotline phones, although I’m not sure they will actually keep anybody from jumping. Until statistics on how many lives were saved through the use of the phones are published in the local paper, we’ll probably never know if they are successful.

In any case, I am glad the phones provide an immediate way for folks who are considering jumping from the Bridge to get counseling from someone with training.

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This call box is out on the Bridge. In addition to the message “YOU ARE LOVED,” someone has also written on it, “Somewhere in the world someone is drinking coffee and smiling.”

When I left the Bridge over a year ago, the phones were in the process of being installed. Since I’ve been back, I’ve watched tourists notice and react to the phones.

Some people are confused by the phones, probably because they don’t much look like telephones. There’s no receiver and no keypad. There’s simply a button to push to connect to a counselor, and a series of holes which make up the speaker. I see people noticed the phone across from the vending area, do a double take, then stop and exam the phone while trying to figure out its purpose before moving on. I guess “call box” is a more accurate term for this equipment, but most of us vendors still call them “phones.”

Some people think the call boxes are pretty funny. When these folks realize what the call boxes are for, I hear them laughing, see them pretend to press the call button. Some of these jokesters (usually older-than-middle-age, ostensibly white men) pose in front of the call box and have someone in his party take a photo.

I don’t think the call boxes are funny. I don’t think suicide or attempted suicide is funny. As someone who’s struggled with (lived with, fought against) depression and suicidal thoughts for over 30 years, I don’t think anything associated with jumping off the Bridge is funny. I’ve been at the Bridge in the hours after someone has jumped, and it’s awful—sad, depressing, demoralizing, sobering. There’s nothing silly or lighthearted or funny about it.

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This call box is the one closest to the vendors. Friends of someone who jumped wrote their words of love and grief on it.

One Sunday at the end of November, the call button on the phone directly across the highway from the vendors was pressed twice.

Business was excruciatingly slow that day. It was cold and overcast, with few tourists and fewer shoppers. I was still at the Bridge less because I actually hoped to sell anything and more because I wanted to spend time with my vendor friends.

Out of the quiet of the day, I heard what I thought was a cell phone set on speaker ringing. The sound was louder than it would have been if someone nearby had actually had their phone set on speaker and was waiting for the person called to answer. I looked around to try to find the source of the sound.

No one else seemed to notice it.

I continued to look for the source of the sound. I glanced across the road and saw an Asian tourist family—a mom with two kids under ten years old—hanging around the crisis hotline call box. The mom looked confused, but the kids were giggling. I realized the ringing was coming from the call box.

I began screeching, They dialed the suicide phone! They dialed the suicide phone!

Vendors turned to look at me. I was pointing at the tourist family and still screeching, They dialed the suicide phone!

The crisis counselor came on the line and asked how she could help. The tourist mom said, Wrong number! quite loudly, and we all had to wonder how one could dial the wrong number on a phone that only connects to one place.

Hours later, only three vendors were left, and two of us were packing to leave. As Tea helped me fold my tablecloths, the other vendor told us that some kids had pushed the call button on the crisis hotline call box as they walked by. Sure enough, I could hear the ringing, then the counselor’s voice. The other vendor said the cops would be sent out if no one responded to the counselor.

What a waste of time and money and human emotion it would be if first responders were dispatched to look for a potential jumper or a body that wasn’t even out there. So I hurried across the street to talk to the counselor on the other end of the line.

When I walked up to the phone, the counselor was saying, Are you there?

I explained I was a vendor and one of us had seen some kids press the call button, but everything was ok. She thanked me, and I went back to finish packing before the snow started.

Wouldn’t you know, the car full of kids (teenage boys) who’d pressed the call button stopped on the highway right in front of the call box. One young man got out of the car and stood next to the call box.

I started screeching, Don’t press that button! as I stalked across the road. The boy looked confused and a little frightened.

I forget what I look like to other people. Here I was, this short little woman with fleecy, black sweatpants peeking from beneath a light summer skirt that didn’t match my heavy, multicolored wool sweater, the hood of the jacket under the sweater pulled up over my handmade wool hat that didn’t match anything I was wearing. And not only was I wearing weird clothes, I was also yelling and walking toward the kid. No wonder the young man looked concerned.

As I was repeating, Don’t push that button! the young man said, They (his friends, I presume) wanted me to hear what it said.

By that time I was standing in the road in front of the car so the boys couldn’t drive away until I was finished with them.

Do you know what that it? I asked him as he climbed back into the passenger seat.

He said he didn’t know. I told him it was a suicide hotline phone and if someone pushed the button, the cops would come out.

About then, I saw a truck hauling wood approaching in the lane behind the car full of young men. Tea saw the truck too and started shrieking at me, Blaize! Get out of the road! Get out of the road!

I yelled across the street to her, I see it! It (meaning the truck) can stop!

Then I turned back to the car full of young men and said, Don’t fuck with it! (meaning the crisis hotline phone.) I stepped up on the sidewalk and let the car full of young men drive away, then waved at the confused people in the truck as they slowly went past me.

I don’t have a job description at the Bridge, but if I did, I guess I’d have to add “crisis hotline call box monitor” to it.

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This is the call box that was getting all the attention.

God Bless

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I see a lot of white folks on the mountain and a lot of Latino/as too, but not so many African Americans. (Of course, I know the color of a person’s skin doesn’t tell me everything—maybe doesn’t tell me anything—about that person, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice skin tone.) So I noticed the slightly-older-than-middle-age African American man talking to the (on her day off) camp host when I pulled into the campground to start my patrol.

I went about my business as they talked. I emptied trash cans and made sure the restrooms were clean and had plenty of toilet paper. By the time I’d finished spiffing up the restrooms, the man had moved on, but I saw him (and his lady companion) as I rolled through the campground in the company truck. They’d pulled their pickup into site #7 and were unloading camping gear from the back.

I pulled the company truck to the side of the campground street, got out, said hello. I asked them if they’d put their payment in the iron ranger up front or if I needed to collect money from them. The man said they’d put their payment for two nights into the iron ranger. I then made sure they knew about the fire ban, made sure they knew they were not allowed to have a campfire or a charcoal barbecue. He said the camp host he’d talked to earlier had told him about the fire restrictions. Then I told him he was allowed to use a camp stove, but he needed a fire permit to do so legally. He said he did have a camp stove, but he didn’t have a permit. I told him no problem and said I’d get one for him.

Back at the truck, I looked through my bag of campground paperwork and couldn’t find a fire permit. Damn! I must have used the last one. I told the man I’d be right back, then went to bother the camp host on her day off.

She had some fire permits, but they were a little different from the ones I’d been using. I was supposed to sign this new one, and write in USFS (United States Forest Service) in the appropriate space. No problem.

When I swung back around to site #7, the man had his driver’s license out for me. I didn’t really need to see it, but I looked at it just to be polite. I gave the man the fire permit and pointed out the blanks he needed to fill in (name, address, signature) in order to make the permit valid. I said I hoped they’d enjoy their stay.

The man gave me a hearty thanks, but he didn’t just say, thank you. He said, Thank you for being here for us! Then he said, God bless you! But he didn’t just stop there. He said, God bless you and all of your family!

I often don’t know what to say when people throw a God bless you! my way (especially if I haven’t just sneezed), as God blessing me isn’t really part of my belief system. But this man was being so kind and so sincere…I was really touched. I said Thank you to him, and I really truly meant it. After a summer of freaks and jerks and idiots and assholes and weirdos, I so appreciated the kind words from this stranger.

Selling Hemp Again

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I’d been back to selling hemp jewelry regularly for over a month, and not a single person had snickered when I said the word “hemp” or asked about smoking a necklace. I was beginning to think people had become more informed, that maybe hemp had taken a step or two into the mainstream. However, on a cold afternoon, I found there were still misperceptions about the fiber.

The first shoppers were a mother and teenage daughter, both tall and blond and from Oklahoma, it turned out.

(Sidenote: The majority of people from Oklahoma I’ve met at the Bridges act as if they are on their first trip away from the farm. Old people, middle-age people, young people, kids…trying to get any sort of conversation out of folks of any age from Oklahoma is usually like trying to pull teeth out of a firmly champed shut mouth.

Me: Where are y’all from?

OK Tourist: (Long Pause) Oklahoma.

Me: Oh, cool. Are you enjoying your vacation?

OK Tourist: (Long Pause) Yes.

Me: I made all the jewelry on the table.

OK Tourist: (Long Pause) (Silence)

Me: All the bracelets and necklaces are made from hemp.

OK Tourist: (Long Pause) That’s…in-ter-esting.

It’s maddening. And forget about making a sale to 95% of Oklahoma tourists.

Of course, there have been some exceptions. There were two lovely fat women who bought four necklaces from me one summer afternoon and offered to take care of my not-very-nice ex-boyfriend if he ever bothered me again. There was the rock guy I met at the Bridge who eventually supplied me with ammonites, and the fused glass artist I bought pendants from. There seems to be some sort of renaissance of cool going on in Tulsa, and in fact, all the folks I just mentioned did live in Tulsa. The visitors from the rest of the state seem to have a very difficult time mustering up any personality.)

So the mother and daughter walked up to my table and were exhibiting enough personality that I didn’t immediately peg them as Oklahomans. (Maybe they were from Tulsa.)

When I told them the bracelets and necklaces were made from hemp, they started giggling. The mom said to the daughter, I’ll eat it and you can smoke it!

I said, You can smoke it if you want to, but it will probably only make you cough. If you want to get high, Colorado’s right over there, and I pointed in the general direction of the state where recreational marijuana is legal.

That’s where we just came from! the teenager exclaimed. She (the girl gestured to her mother) kept saying she was going to buy me a brownie. (More giggling…)

You have to be careful with those brownies. They’ll get you real high, I told them. I think I scandalized them a little. I don’t think they planned to talk to someone with real life pot brownie experience.

They giggled some more, and I asked them where they were from. They said Oklahoma, and I realized they were more interested in giggling about hemp than buying any. I didn’t even try to explain the differences between marijuana and hemp. It seemed like a lost cause.

Not very long after that a young man in his mid-20s was at my table with his mother. When I said the bracelets and necklaces were made from hemp, the young man picked up a necklace and sniffed it. I’ll give him credit for doing something I’d never seen anyone do before.

I might have given him a strange look (although I swear I was trying to be cool), because he said, You said it was made from hemp, that’s why I smelled it.

Natural hemp (undyed and not manufactured to be totally uniform and soft) does have a particular scent, a bit like hay, I think. But I don’t know if that was the smell the guy expected to encounter or if he expected the necklace to smell flowery like marijuana. I didn’t ask. I was too cold and too tired to go into educator mode.

 

To learn more about hemp, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/19/hemp-2/.

To read more about customers, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/05/we-feel-for-your-situation/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/10/red-letter-day-2/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/26/turtle-ass/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/14/mean-daddy/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/03/17/how-much-are-these/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/12/hard-times-on-the-highway/

 

Hard Times on the Highway

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I was back to selling jewelry on the side of the highway at a small arts and crafts market near a large natural tourist attraction. I’d missed the summer crowd, and this bunch of mostly old, mostly stuffy visitors was not my target audience. Most of these folks had no personality; the ones who did have a personality, well, their personality type was “asshole”.

One morning a man strolled up to my table. I saw him looking at the rocks, so I said to him (as I say to almost everyone who looks at my rocks), Let me know if you have any questions about my shiny rocks. Usually people chuckle or say thank you, but this guy said (in a snotty tone of voice), I have a rock business myself. I don’t know if he meant, Don’t try to hustle me because I know about rocks and their prices or if he was trying to tell me he wasn’t going to buy rocks because he already had a bunch, but he came across as a real jerk.

I just said (coldly), That’s nice. 

Then he picked up a piece of skeletal quartz and demanded, Where did you get this? 

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This is the piece of skeletal quartz the jerk man picked up. It may be difficult to see in this photos, but there are three clear quartz points that formed around a chunk of quartz.

I said sweetly, From my rock guy, even though I knew he wanted to know where on the earth the rock was originally found.

No. he said. Where did it come from?

I don’t know, I said (because I didn’t, although since then I’ve been told it came from Colorado).

By that point I was 97% sure the man was not going to buy anything from me, and I was 100% sure I didn’t want him to have that beautiful piece of quartz. If he had asked the price, I would have said $50, even though I usually ask $20 for it. I didn’t want him to have it , but I’d want $50 more than I’d want to keep the stone from him.

On another morning, two women and a man stopped at my table. The man was admiring the winter hats I’d made. He asked one of the women if she wanted one.

When have you ever known me to wear a hat? she snapped at him.

She stalked off, but the man and the other woman stayed at my table. The man asked the price of the hats, and I told him they were only $10.

Where are y’all from? I asked them. Due to his accent and the first woman’s attitude, I wasn’t surprised when he said Chicago.

I commented on how cold it gets in Chicago and said the lady must be really tough if she never wears a hat during a Chicago winter.

She’s tough as nails, the man said.

He asked me if men wear my hats. I said yes and told him about the man who’d bought one the day before.

He liked the hat my styrofoam model was wearing, so I told him he was welcome to try it on.

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The man from Chicago liked the hat the model is wearing.

He pulled it on while I got the mirror.

I told him the hat looked really good on him. I wasn’t only trying to make a sale; the hat did look really good on him. He said he wanted it so he could keep his ears warm while walking his dog this winter.

With the hat on his head, he called to the woman who’d walked away and was now three tables down the line of vendors, How do I look?

She replied immediately, after barely looking at him, Stupid!

Wow! I said. Is that your wife?

Yes, he said. We’ve been married 30 years.

Wow! I said again. “Y’all must really love each other.

He called out to his wife again. Should I get this hat?

She looked totally disgusted and said, You’re the one who’d have to wear it.

He didn’t buy the hat.

I thanked him for his admiration of my work, and he said, We haven’t left yet. He said if his wife bought something, he’s be back, tit for tat, but I didn’t see him again.

A few days later, a young man and woman stopped at my table. The woman was wearing a pink hoodie with “Vinton, Louisiana” printed on the chest. Since I have family in that area, I asked her if she was from Vinton, Louisiana. She said no, she wasn’t from there. But there’s a pit there, she said. She turned around and there was a rooster screen printed on the back of the hoodie.

Cockfighting, you mean? I asked her.

Yeh, she said. My dad made his way down there…

Whenever they asked me the price of something, I added a few dollars–let’s call it a cruelty to animals tax–but they didn’t buy anything. It wasn’t until after they walked away that I realized I should have said, That’s barbaric, as soon as she confirmed we were talking about cock fighting.

The most annoying jerk was a young guy. He was clean-cut and looked totally straight, but the young woman he was with had long dreadlocks. It was the end of the day, and I had all of my rocks and most of my jewelry packed up.

They expressed interest in my highest priced necklaces.

Pendants of wire wrapped stones by James Smith. Hemp work by me.

These are the necklaces the couple was interested in.

I told them the pendants on the necklaces were made by a young local artist who charges $45 for them; I offered to let them have an entire necklace for $40.

The young guy said, They don’t charge that much at the expensive stores in town.

I replied (in a calm, neutral tone of voice), I don’t know where you’ve been shopping, but I know this guy charges $45 for his pendants.

The woman liked the lepidolite necklace, so I gave her the spiel.

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This is the lepidolite necklace the woman liked. In real life, the stone is a deeper purple. Please forgive my overexposed photo.

That’s lepidolite. It’s a local stone, mined in this county. It contains lithium, so it’s good for lifting depression and stabilizing mood, and it helps with insomnia.

The young man kind of snorted and said, I’ve never heard of it before, as if I were lying to them about a stone so they would buy it.

Sure, there are people who would lie about a stone to get someone to buy it, and the guy had no way of knowing that I’m not one of those unscrupulous people. But this guy was acting as if because he’d never heard of lepidolite, it couldn’t possibly exist. I hear about new rocks all the time. I never think a stone can’t be real just because I’ve never heard of it.

The couple wandered off, and I continued packing.

Soon they were back, and the woman was looking at the necklace with the ledpidolite pendant again. I hadn’t made much money that day, and one more sale before I left would have been nice, so I told her she could have it for $30. The man was standing next to her, and he asked, Would you take $20?

I flatly replied, No.

It was cold and windy, and the man left to get his coat.

I told the woman, For $30, you’re getting all my work for free and $15 off the pendant.

The woman also looked at a short necklace with a pendant made with a local amazonite. I’d done the pendant’s simple wrap and was asking only $15 for the necklace. I told her the price and said the rock had been found locally.

The man walked back up to the table, and the woman showed him the necklace with the amazonite pendant.

That looks like just a rock, he said,

That’s because it is a rock, you idiot, is what I wanted to say, but instead I said, It’s a natural stone. It hasn’t been polished.

The man told the woman she should only get it if it were the best necklace she’d ever seen and she was totally excited about it. She put down the necklace, and they were off again.

I finished packing quickly, hoping they’d come back wanting the $15 necklace so I could tell them they were too late and had missed their chance. If they’d wanted the lepidolite necklace for $30? Well, I guess I would have unpacked that one.

(I took all the photos in this post)

To read more about customers, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/05/we-feel-for-your-situation/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/10/red-letter-day-2/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/26/turtle-ass/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/03/17/how-much-are-these/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/09/selling-hemp-again/ or here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/14/mean-daddy/

Broken Box

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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.

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This is the iron ranger.  The opening where the self-pay envelopes go is at the top. On the white strip below the opening are the words “Pay Here. (I took this photo.)

(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.