The Parking Attendant
Marty the Parking Attendant
Marty has had the same job for almost fifteen years. Marty is a parking attendant for a large pharmaceutical plant. When he finally passes on to the next life he is guaranteed a position at the Pearly Gates for it is Marty who checks your credentials each morning and decides whether your car can enter the heavenly free employee parking lot or be banished to the hellish overpriced pay lot across the road. If Marty finds you worthy he presses once on the buzzer he holds in his right hand and the gate magically swings open and beckons you in.
Such was Marty's life for fifteen years. Originally he had to learn how to raise or lower a makeshift roped pole. After five years this was replaced by a real pole that he maneuvered up and down and finally automation took over and he was awarded the electric buzzer. Poor Marty dealt with these major innovations without ever complaining, though he was never sent to any kind of seminar or refresher course to enhance his training. His job was complicated, no doubt about that, but hey, he was a professional. Then one day the bulldozers arrived. They worked for almost a month, under his scrutiny, and when they were done a new reality beheld him. The employees' parking lot had been split into three separate areas with each area having its own automated entrance controlled by state of the art recognition software. According to the signs, the left area was designated to general employees, the right area to managers and the center reserved for upper management, important visitors, rock stars and the Queen of England if she ever fancied a royal visit. Marty now had to control three sets of electric posts.
The first day he took it in his stride. Many of the cars had already been issued with computerized stickers which once stuck correctly on their dashboards automatically let them in. Few, if any, VIPs turned up and after a week it appeared that Marty had everything under control. Marty even started experimenting. He found he could use the buzzer while held behind his back while chatting to the secretary from Sales or even opening two posts simultaneously while balancing a half full cup of coffee between his knees.
Two weeks later Marty broke the 74th commandment. He became overconfident. It was a slow winter morning. The rain was pouring down and more than a couple of employees had decided it was time for sick leave. This particular morning found a slightly bored Marty holding a large cappuccino in his left hand, playing traffic on his Iphone with his right index finger and thumb and controlling the entrances to the plant's parking lots with the buzzer held tightly between his knees. You are right to conclude that he had completely lost it. Around 9:45 a stretch limousine pulled up at his post and the electric window that lowered itself revealed the driver to be none other than George Mantomello, the managing director, himself. Marty had never met the man but had seen his photo several times on the cover of the plant magazine and in several gossip columns.
The first thing Marty did was to stand up and salute the man, army fashion. The second thing he did, less effectively was to bend over and search for the buzzer he had let fall into the puddle beside him. Though the puddle was relatively large, Marty managed to retrieve the buzzer in less than three minutes. The buzzer, unfortunately, was dead meat. If Marty had been more conscientious he would have read in the handbook that dropping the buzzer in a puddle of any depth was a no no as the intricate sophisticated electrical circuits weren't waterproof, or for that matter water resistant.
George Mantomello was a man known for his patience. He held back his tempter for at least thirty seconds.
"You - parking guy. Do you know who I am?"
"Then please let me pass."
Marty kept pressing the dead buzzer but to no avail.
"It doesn't work"
"Then fix it."
And here is where poor Marty was defeated by modern science and became yet another victim of progress. If he had lived in an earlier age he would have lived out his years happily raising the drawbridge of a medieval castle in Northern England. As of now he has reverted to become yet another unemployed couch potato at home all day with a remote control in one hand and an empty beer can in the other.
Progress has its price!