Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"Yes, I am." His response was flat and devoid of all emotion.
I had just arrived in downtown York, PA for my interview at the York Heritage Trust regarding some volunteer opportunities. I pulled up to a parking meter and was still sitting in my car, digging through my purse for change when I noticed a young man walking by. I smiled at him as he passed, then went back to counting change.
Just then, I noticed the same man in my rearview mirror, peering at my license plate and writing something on a pad. That's when the above interaction took place. He didn't appear very moved by my "but I just got here and was collecting my change" story, and silently continued writing. Defeated, I held out my hand to receive my undeserved punishment. He ignored it and walked past me. "Actually," he said with his back to me, in a monotone so low I could barely hear, "the law requires that I must place it directly on your windshield." He placed the ticket in the law-approved spot and walked away without so much as a backward glance.
I finally realized it was the cold, emotionless way in which this man spoke to me. Although he never raised his voice or uttered a single insult, he also never made eye contact, never stopped writing, never really even acknowledged my presence. He simply presented me (or rather, my windshield) with his business at hand and walked away. I had been dismissed. For the rest of the day, I couldn't shake how awful that made me feel.
I understand that this man's job is a difficult one. It's probably essential for his own well-being that he keep up his guard. I'm sure he's confronted with angry, belligerent people on a daily basis. I, however, was not one of them, and he knew it. It was just easier not to care.
Wow, what a downer! Thanks for reading, anyway!!
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