Yesterday was an ordinary day—until I stopped to pick up my laundry on my way home from work. That’s where things got interesting. As I parked my car, I noticed a guy lingering in the parking lot. Given my several experiences in Seattle where I’ve mistaken homeless people for legitimate parking attendants, I was adamant that I wouldn’t fall for it this time. I ignored the strange man’s “Excuse me, excuse me” attempts to hassle me, and I crossed the street to the cleaners. I quickly paid for my dry cleaning and crossed the street to return to my car. That’s when I noticed he was still lingering by my car and appeared to be taking down my license plate number. What was this homeless man DOING? It still hadn’t dawned on me that I was on the Eastside, and it might not actually be a homeless person.
As I got closer to my car, the man walked away and mumbled under his breath, “You really shouldn’t do that again.” To which I replied, “Excuse me? Do what?”
“Park here and walk across the street,” he said.
“Well, there weren’t any parking spots on the street, and it took less than two minutes,” I told him. I then began backing out to drive away, but I felt compelled to roll down the window and say,
“Are you an official parking attendant?”
“Well, you should really think about wearing a uniform because I thought you were a homeless person trying to harass me.”
“This IS my uniform,” and then in a shy voice, “this is what they gave me.”
*commence feeling like a total jerk.* “Oh, umm, well, there are no signs.”
“There are signs everywhere.”
“Well, I don’t see them, and I don’t think the less than two minutes I parked here did any harm.”
I immediately called my best friend, M, as I drove away to tell her the story. She laughed hysterically, and then I spotted a legitimate homeless person (with a sign) at a stoplight.
“I can reverse my karma and hand out a blessing bag!” I told her.
“I don’t think it [karma] works if that’s the reason why you’re doing it,” M said laughingly.
Truth be told, I had been waiting for an opportunity for the past few months to hand out one of the blessing bags I made after my experience I wrote about in a previous blog post. You can find it here.
The man enthusiastically thanked me and took the bag, which was full of goodies like snacks, wipes, hand warmers, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. I guess this answered my question of whether or not people would accept blessing bags in lieu of cash.
So this makes up for me telling a nice dutifully employed man that he looked like a homeless man, right? Err, maybe not, but at least the other guy was happy. Here’s hoping I don’t somehow end up with a parking ticket in the mail!