My one life asset is my car. Last week, in preparation for Sandy’s visit I decided to store it in a cool, dry place- a parking garage. I was told it would cost about $35.00 if I stayed till Wednesday. I dropped it off on Monday at 11:00am; I tried to collect it on Tuesday at 12:00am but the gates were down. Unfortunately, I overslept on Wednesday and had to pick up the car after work. Roughly 6:00pm.
When I got to the ticket window, the guy on the other side was sitting hunched over on a stool, he didn’t pull his eyes away from his phone. He appeared immersed in some video phone game. I noticed that his knuckles and arms were heavily tatted; face serious like a guard dog. With ticket in hand, I stood there waiting for him to acknowledge me, eyes wandering around at the posters on the wall. I must have been humming some song ditty to myself because when I looked back down, his amused eyes were staring up at me.
I smiled sliding the ticket through the slot, “Here to pick up my car.”
He punched in the ticket, on the screen it read: $54.23.
“Oooouch.” I said as if a little kid just socked me in the gut.
“That’s pretty high.”
“You’re telling me. You guys weren’t open yesterday, huh?”
“Yes we were…”
I cut him off, “Ehhh, not when I came. The gates were down.”
He shook his head, went to the desk and pulled out a punch card then slipped it through the window to me. His thumb pointed at the time and date. “I was here.”
I looked at his proof and then back up at him. “Dah! I must have been an hour too early.”
He grunted. “Maybe we can work something out.”
I looked up one part skeptical, two parts hopeful.
He asked me, “Where were you coming from?”
I had the impression he wanted me to lie so I said “East Falls.”
“East Falls? No you weren’t coming from East Falls, where were you coming from.”
I looked back at him feeling stupid, not sure if I was reading this right. “Center city, I live in the city.”
He gave me the stink eye. “You sure you were coming from center city?”
I stayed silent.
“You weren’t coming from a hospital or hotel were you?”
“eh…actually I was coming from the Hospital, just had some x-rays done.”
He shook his head, “That’s too far.”
I smiled feeling stupid, like I didn’t know the joke or something. He tapped at the register. The numbers dropped to $40.00. “That’s the Hospital price.”
I was starting to get this game; “You know before I was in the hospital, I was staying at a hotel.”
“Interesting…” He said rubbing his chin. Then he punched the register again-the number dropped to $24.00.
I paid elated thinking, well that was fun!
As I waited for my car, I stuffed a five dollar billed into a gum pack with two sticks left. On the inside cover I wrote, “You made my day. Have a beer and fresh breath on me!” Before I got into my car, I slipped this gum package through the ticket window and drove away.
A Warrior Princess