Friday, May 4, 2007

late for work

OK. I always think I’m going to post something witty, thoughtful, clever, enlightening even.

I have decided to try to get over it.

The thing is, I’m a storyteller, not a writer.

I gesticulate, use great expressions & sound effects, so who knows if the essence of the story will even come across remotely how I had intended.

Here goes:

So I’m late for an appointment this morning, I try for a spot at the parking lot that is cheap after 9:30am not the one that gets more expensive after 9am. They’re pretty close to each other, I don’t get it.

Thursday for some reason is the busiest day downtown. It is always hard to find a place to park and inevitably this is the day that I am the latest.

So I see one lone parking space at the very far end of the lot. I decide to go in. I’m late for my 10 o’clock appointment already. It’s a tricky spot, up against the 5 foot high cement wall, a red convertible (who would notice if I even touched their car with a feather) on the other side and to boot there is a giant white truck blocking me from getting in at good angle.

I should say that I am a fabulous parker, is parker a word? I’m great at the parking of cars. I have managed an amazing angle that I’m sure will get me into the spot, then I panic and think maybe I misjudged and then my second-guessing-I’m-late-for-my-meeting freak-out steps up and I have lost my confidence. A guy walks by and sees from where he is up above the sidewalk that I need a little help. He says simply “I’ll help you”. I look at his eyes, put the car in neutral, pull the parking brake and hop right out of my car, he sets his coffees down and scooches through the bars on the street down into the parking lot and his look tells me he meant to verbally help me. Oh well, he hops in and decides to follow my lead. Then he pauses to look at my open purse, the keys in the ignition. I am also thinking on the one hand how great it is that I can trust this guy with my car, car keys, purse full of credit cards, cash, cell phone and all the odd personal and intimate details one carries around every day with such thoughtlessness.

I am happy to have help when the sweet helper man starts backing out very quickly (towards the exit!) and I think maybe I have made a mistake. After a few moments I actually run after him and when he slows down I reach in and touch his shoulder the way one does to a friend and say “you’re not going to take my car, I’m not being an idiot am I?” he looks as if I had tempted him and yet of course I can trust him and yes maybe I am a fool. But he just tells me that he needs to back my little car in.

I know this is a long story and I think it would go faster if you could see my hands and I'm also talking really fast but alas.

Finally the car is parked and we are both smiling except he’s not and I think maybe I've offended him after all, but he says sadly that someone took his coffee. He is really disappointed, and very sad. I looked in my wallet to give him the money to cover his drinks but of course I had a single hundred dollar bill and a single dollar.

And remember I am late for my appointment.

I asked him what drinks he had and told him I would bring coffees to him in an hour.

Because the coffee he had stolen was two tall lattes from Starbucks it seemed only right to get him two tall lattes from Starbucks in their place.

I am now late for work, 11:10. It’s my store but still I’m late.

It’s not like there are hordes of people standing outside my store at 11am on the dot, but you never know.

There is a local coffee shop a few blocks closer but I am replacing something specific that I was responsible for getting stolen. I go the few blocks get the lattes, and a weird cookie bar with toffee as a meager gesture while I am thinking would I eat this? I should be baking him cookies.

I’m now walking down the street with a beverage tray of Starbucks thinking, I’m an herbalist, I make tea for a living, I am the queen of tea, I’m all about the local, and here I am advertising with what at the moment makes me feel like the largest Elizabeth in the world of coffee.

I find the parking garage that this guy works at, (not the one he helped me at) and he looks equally happy and surprised to see me like a vision walking across the parking lot towards him in slow motion with two tall lattes.

It’s not so bad being late.

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