There is an angel hanging from the rearview mirror of my car. Tasteful, it is not. It's the kind of kitch that my grandmother would have on the shelf above her kitchen sink. My plastic-bead-and-safety-pin angel is there for protection -- not for my protection but yours. It reminds me to be nice to those around me. To tell you how I came to be in possession of this angel, I have to take you back a couple weeks.
After a long day of testimony in a corruption trial, I went to grab a beer with a friend. We left court at about 6, and I knew I had until 7 to get back to the parking garage before it closed. (Seriously, parking garages in Harrisburg have a closing time.) A little before 7 I headed back to the parking garage. The attendant was already closed up and getting in her car to leave. She had to wait for me to get my car, and when I got back downstairs she gave me the business. Now, I'm a person who tries to follow the rules and hates to inconvenience other people, so I was frustrated that I had been given such a hard time when I tried to do the right thing. Besides, I pay $15 a day to park there. It's the principle.
Over the weekend, I happened to look at my credit card receipt and noticed that the time stamp was 6:58. On Monday, I pointed this out to the attendant. She said she it takes her time to close up and that she only gets paid until 7. We had words. I told her I pay a lot of money to park in the garage, that I should be able to leave my car there until closing time if I want to, and that it wouldn't kill her to stay a minute over anyway. I left in a tiff and with a mind to write to the parking authority.
When I arrived home, my phone was ringing before I even opened the door. When I answered a voice said "Tracie? This is Peggy from the parking garage." I was stunned. How did she even know my name?
She told me she had my credit card. Apparently I was in such a tizzy that I left it behind. I couldn't believe she was kind enough to look up my phone number and call me after I had given her a hard time (deservedly so, I still maintain.) I retrieved my card, thanked Peggy and apologized for being out of sorts earlier. She apologized, too.
I'm continuing to park in the garage every day while the trial is going on. (Hopefully not too much longer; the case is in the hands of jurors now.) As I was leaving a few days ago, Peggy handed me back something extra with may receipt -- a softball-size red angel hanging from a gold ribbon. It's gaudy, it's heavy, it doesn't match my car, and it swings wildly from the rearview mirror ever time I make the slightest turn. But, I keep it there just the same.
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