It was Saturday and the parking lot was intensely busy. By 10:30, my co-worker and I were telling people to find a place to park before they paid us the parking fee.
A car pulled in, and I approached it. A young blond woman was driving. Before I could say anything, she started talking. She had an accent my untrained ear pegged as Russian, but I don’t really know her ethnic/geographic origin.
She said, Is this valid parking?
I looked at her silently, confused, then said, What?
She said again, Is this valid parking?
I thought she meant Is this a legitimate/legal place to park?
Then I realized she was asking, Is this valet parking?
I busted out laughing.
I suppose some people do frequent establishments where they hand over their keys to a uniformed attendant who parks the car, but that’s not anyone I know. I’ve never once had a valet park my car. I’m not even sure where I’d go if I wanted to experience valet parking. (On second thought, I guess I’d try Las Vegas if I wanted to experience valet parking.) If I were on Family Feud and Steve Harvey said, Name a place where a valet parks your car, I might save the day by saying A casino, but probably I’d stand there silently and get a big fat X.
So when I realized this young woman had asked Is this valet parking? it was just about the funniest thing I’d heard all morning.
Who expects valet parking in a National Forest? At a casino, maybe. Or at a restaurant or hotel. (I guess I do have some idea of where valet parking occurs.) But at a National Forest? Is valet parking at a National Forest a thing?
A better question is, who would look at me in my dirty, stained uniform (probably with crushed mosquito remains over my left eye and ash smeared on my chin) and think I should be trusted with her/his car?
Through my laughter, I said to the young blond woman, Yeah, you give me your keys and go walk the trail, and I’ll drive your car around. (I waved my hand around, indicating I would drive her car not in the parking lot, but in the wider world of roads.)
She said, Then just tell me where to park!
I don’t blame her for being testy; I was being an asshole. But valet parking in the National Forest? That’s rich!
When the young woman walked up to pay her parking fee, I became very interested in the contents of my backpack and let my co-worker deal with her.
I think I’ll let the president of the company I work for know that what the parking lot needs is valet parking.
Wealthy people have a different view of the world, and what they expect from it, especially when they’re born into the situation.
The fact that the young woman left the cities and went out into the “wilderness” may indicate that she is willing to expand her horizons. If so, hurrah for her. Many people don’t have the “intestinal fortitude” to leave what is familiar to them. I live in a place where many of the people don’t seem to have explored any farther than the adjoining county’s main city — and they’re middle-aged.
You and I are roamers. We’re curious to discover what is around the next bend… and the next, and the next. I drove from SoCal to Maine just to see what it looked like after reading a good book. I’ve climbed into ancient Anasazi ruins in AZ, and zigzagged over the Rocky Mountains. The joy of traveling by yourself is incredible: you can see a sign that says ‘Alligator Farm ahead’, or ‘Rockhounds turn here’, or ‘Castle Tours, Mon-Fri’ and stop to see what’s what. You can make plans to go to somewhere specific, and don’t like the look or feel of it when you arrive, so you ditch the whole idea and head somewhere else. Yellowstone National Park gave me the creeps; I drove through it during the day, but left it to camp outside its borders. Why? I don’t know.
When I was maybe ten or less, I watched my Mom talking to a strange older woman who came up to ask her something in a small parking lot. The woman was acting a bit odd, but Mom was treating her kindly answering her questions, and the woman seemed to calm down a bit. When we went on our way, I asked Mom what was wrong with the woman. She looked at me and said, “I don’t know. We don’t know the whole story”.
We don’t know the whole story.
Good point, Sue, about not knowing the whole story. We never know the whole story, probably not even our own. All I can do is tell the stories as I see them. There’s surely a whole lot I don’t see.
Thanks for commenting.