Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Parking Lot

 After doing an awful thing at my first job at S Mart, I was reluctant to do any work, but I got a summer job in 1972 at Bankers Trust on Main St. in Columbia.  My job was the Assistant Parking Lot Attendant.  The parking lot was outdoors, and the main attendant was much older and needed to take a lot of breaks.  Outside in the summertime was not real fun, but I had a chair under a shade tree.
 The parking lot had about 20 spaces and it was for the customers of the bank.  The main bank building had a back door that led to the lot.  There was also a building across the street for other bank offices.  They told me the first day that the parking lot, which was free to park, was just for bank customers.  It wasn't for anyone who wanted to park and then go shopping.  They knew how long a person should be in the bank, and if the car just sat, I was to get the license plate; call the DMV to find out who owned the car; and if the owner could not be accounted for, we had it towed by Happy Daddy Towing Service.  There were signs in the parking lot noting that fact.
 One day, I was watching the cars, and one had been there for quite some time.  I went through the procedures, and I called around to the offices, and no one recognized the name on the car.  So, I had it towed.  A little while later, a girl came out to leave, and she could not find her car.  I told her that it had been towed.  It turned out that she was in Personnel interviewing for a job, and the car was her mother's.  The bank had to pay Happy Daddy to get the car out, and I had to go out there to pick it up.  I don't think the girl took the job that was offered to her.
 I also learned that just because there are rules about only bank customers parking there, it doesn't mean they are strictly enforced.  The lot was one block from the State House, and I was told that folks with special state license plates could park there.  But, they took up the spaces for the customers.  There was always a grey area between right and wrong at the bank.
 One of my duties was to direct traffic in the lot.  Some of the spaces were hard to back out of, and I worked to get the cars in and out, especially during the noon rush.  One day, I was trying to get a woman in a Cadillac to back out, so that a VW Bug could move into the spot.  The woman was doing fine.  I was in between her car and the VW.  As she was pulling away, she forgot her car was still in reverse.  She put her foot to the gas, and her car lurched backwards, pinning me between her car and the VW.  Her heard something pop in my knees.  I had to climb out on the hood of the VW.  She leaned out her window and asked me if everything was okay.  I just said yes, as I was in great pain, and she sped off.  I went into my supervisor's office to tell him what happened, and he sent me to the hospital to be checked out.  They did some x-rays and determined that I had just bruised a bone.  My right thigh muscle hurt a lot, but they said it was just a trauma and to go home and rest.
 My parents were out of town.  I was back at work the next day after a hot bath.  Two years later, I started having pains in my knees.  I ran a lot and was in really good shape, but my parents felt I should go to an orthopedist just to see if there was a problem.  The doctor did x-rays and found that both knees were dislocated.  My right knee was worse than my left.  He said that he could fix them, but I would be in a cast for six months.  Or, the other alternative was not to fix them, and I would get arthritis when I was 40.  I was heavily into Theatre, so I couldn't see taking the cast option, and 40 seemed a long time away, so I opted for the arthritis.  Sure enough, when I turned 40, I got arthritis in my right knee.  My right foot is wider than my left, because my weight shifted.  My right calf turns out to the right instead of being straight from the knee to my ankle.  Years later, I was talking to a doctor about my injury.  He said to never go to an ER when you think you have broken a bone.  They don't know what to look for.  I learned that lesson the hard way.
 I did complete my summer job without further incidents.

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