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A Face From my Past: Randy, the Parking Attendant

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.

This is a SeaWorld car park attendant, NOT the Mississippi State Park Attendant, RANDY.

This is a SeaWorld car park attendant, NOT the Mississippi State Park Attendant, RANDY.

First of all, let me say

I'm sorry. I am not a very deep person. I wish that I were. I wish that I could toss an old penny into a real, true blue wishing well (if one exists) and wish that suddenly, I could become so intelligent that I wouldn't have to speak a word. People say that a person's reputation proceeds them. This would be the ultimate test of my being endowed with great wisdom.

Among the numerous things that are on my "Don't Understand List," are people rambling around my life going about their business and I find myself just bursting with curiosity in wanting to know why these things are even in existence. Others in life just march along happily and let the things that mystify and confuse just live without having an explanation on a heavy sign attached to their necks. I would, in a twisted way, like it if we would wear huge, attention-getting signs because life would be oh so simple and annoying questions would suddenly be less important.

I will, with your permission, give you a few staples that are at the top of my "Don't Understand List": Products that state, "just like living in a real home," so why is a 10-person, industrial size survival tent just like living in a real home? This is a blatant lie. There is nothing like a tent of this description like a real home or just a shack for that matter. You seldom drive steel spikes into the earth and tie ropes to the tent to keep harsh winds from blowing it to Kingdom Com. Your butt always rests on sharp rocks that are sticking through the bottom of your tent. You have no cozy kitchen in your tent . . .and do I make my point?

Service technicians who you have known for over 10 years and talked with them here and there, but let a new TV package be mailed on a flyer to your post office box and when you, the valued customer, which is printed there in big, bold type, finally work through this company's mazes and computer prompts that mostly say the same thing, and a human technician gets on your call and you hear: "Your name please?" "Johnny Fleeced," you say. Then the technician proceeds to look at your confidential contract information only seen by the tech's eyes--your home address, secret password, and name of your pet and the tech says, "and what is your name?" You have told them this twice. But you say your name a third name. The tech now hits you with: "And how do I know that you are you?" Suddenly you change from an angel of love to a demon from the lake of fire and yell, "is this a game?" You have to be able to prove that you are you. Sure, you look and sound much the fool, but you are a Prisoner of Modern Technology. And if you ever ask that annoying technician, "when you have to call your own company from your home, does another tech ask you these ignorant questions?" They say: "Now, sir. No need to be snippy." Snippy!? What doe snippy mean?

Now I Have the Mother

of all Irritations and Annoying People on this blessed earth. I don't recall the guy's name. I suspect that he loves his work. You see? I am trying very hard to give annoying Service People the benefit of a doubt so I won't be the fool. But this incident really happened to my wife and I when we joined her family about six years ago at a newly-created Mississippi State Park that the State Government said the park was needed for the families around a certain Mississippi town that I cannot remember, but what I do remember is the irritating parking attendant.

I didn't want to even go on this outing, but rather than hurt my wife's feelings, I went. And I felt that this trip went against everything that I knew ahead of time would be trouble, frustration, and unwanted questions asked of me, but I still went. Married couples still do these things. Right?

Upon finding this park, I noticed that there was no problem in finding a parking place, and I did notice that other people were parking (where I was headed) and getting out of their cars--smiling huge smiles with their spouses and kids headed for a happy outing. What a day that was going to be for them. Not me.

First, keep in mind that there were NO, absolutely NO signs telling us to "Park Here, Please," NONE. I just followed the other people who were parking like I did. Second remember the second irritant: Randy, the Parking Attendant. This is what I called him behind his back for the State of Mississippi when making Parking Attendants' plastic name tags, they neglected to include Randy's last name. Oh, I know why. That one move might have caused the State of Mississippi a huge budget deficit.

My wife got out of our car, smiled at this Randy character who was wearing Official State of Mississippi Parking Attendant gray overalls, but he was carrying a wooden stick with a nail at the end and to me, looked like he was sticking what litter he found and placing it in a gray bag--it was at this time that I knew that there was something suspicious about Randy's gray overalls and gray cloth litter storage bag. Hmmm. I then thought that these little coincidences are how The Watergate Scandal was hatched.

Randy had his eyes firmly attached on me. I could tell it for I was looking at him trying to smile since I was from out-of-state and I did not want any trouble for I knew that in the film, "Heat of The Night," traveling folks are sometimes mistreated in some southern states--Mississippi in this case for Randy was now glaring a hole at me and I was becoming more and more uncomfortable. And as for myself, I did NOT want my butt to be thrown into some cruel jail in The Magnolia State: Mississippi.

"Hey, Pam! Can you come here a minute?" I said in as much of a civil tone as I could.

"What's up?" she said softly.

"What did or what AM I doing to make that man over there looking angry at me?" I said trying to explain.

Pam quickly glanced at Randy.

"Oh, Kenny. You are just paranoid. You probably look like someone who reminds him of someone who beat him out of money or something," Pam said while walking away leaving me hanging.

Randy was now glued to me standing there and I had to say something.

"Sir, may I ask you something?" I said in a very quiet and humble way.

"Ask? You mean me?" Randy said looking like Stephen Segall ready to put out my lights.

"I, well, was just going to make sure that it was okay with you if my wife and I parked at this place?" I know now that this was the wrong thing to do.

"Whatta you mean, park here?" Randy asked now holding the wooden stick (with sharp nail) in my direction.

"My car--may I leave it here? I don't want to park in an illegal place," I said almost begging him to say yes.

"Here? You, uhhh, mean, leave the car here?" Randy insisted now with wrinkles surfacing in his face.

"Uh, yeah. May I just leave my car parked here?" Now I was growing scared and desperate.

"You want to park here?" Randy now walking toward me with that wooden stick (and sharp nail) getting closer to me.

"Yes, please. If that is okay?" I said hoping that I sounded convincing like Perry Mason.

Randy, with his wooden stick (and nail on the end), and his gray cloth bag, just stood there and looked at me. And looked at me. Not saying one word. Other people were now noticing what I hoped was not going to happen (a fight) for I looked quickly to my left and my wife was standing a few yards away from me . . .NOT coming to help me.

It was in late July. I forgot to tell you that. I was sweating. Randy was sweating, but his sweating was coming through his gray overalls.

"What do you, uhhhh, mean, park car here?" Randy said looking at our car.

"I just want to leave it parked here and walk over to that woman right there--my wife. Will this be okay with you since you are in charge here," now I was negotiating far smoother than Deion Sanders' first agent when Sanders started playing for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

One of his had to make a move. It did not look as if it was going to be Randy. So in a slow, methodical way, I started walking and looking Randy directly into his eyes at the same time. I was just waiting for his boss (if he had one) to ride up on one of those electric golf carts, but no dice. I just kept walking slowly and hoping that Randy would not follow me.

And as I saw my bland life go in a flash or much better like a firecracker that was a dud. I saw Randy continue to stand at my wife and I just slowly start walking. I did not think that Randy was a convicted killer who had served his time and out on parole. I just did not know how to read him.

One of us had to say something. I knew it wasn't going to be Randy.

"Thanks, friend," I said very friendly and waved at him.

Randy never smiled, but did nod his head in agreement. That was cool with me.

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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