2018-12-07 / Commentary

The Tybee Parking Attendant

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

We spent several days at Tybee Island last month. Hadn’t been there in years. Future brief coastal trips will probably terminate at Folly Beach. It’s closer and has surfers.

I did while away some lazy afternoons sitting on the hotel balcony watching crashing waves. With no surfers available, I had to make adjustments. Plus, there was a giant parking lot between us and the water. A detriment to enjoying the beach, but people watching is the same even if the people aren’t wearing wet suits.

I noticed the parking attendant the first afternoon. He was walking along, dressed in khaki shorts, a snappy, electric blue golf shirt, and a baseball cap with his long, blonde ponytail hanging out the back. I thought I noticed some gray in his goatee but can’t be sure.

He had a cell phone in one pocket, an E-tablet of some kind hanging from his belt, and a look of efficient authority without the overwhelming incompetence of some mall cops. He peered into each car, searching for some governmental permission to park on the paved surface owned by the community. When none was available, he quickly and expertly entered the auto tag information into an app on his phone. His only brush with consternation was a lengthy and animated conversation with two female beach goers that didn’t seem to think the parking rules applied to them.

I assumed some visitors had a monthly pass, having observed two different ladies pull to a space, get out, and make their way to the sand. One was in a van and had a motorized assist vehicle in the back. She wrestled the chair out and was on her way.

The second lady whipped into a spot in a Miata, slid out of the driver’s seat, and hobbled up the ramp toward the beach. She was sporting a cast on her right ankle. How she operated the accelerator was beyond me.

I once drove from Nashville to Chattanooga with a horrible ankle sprain. If I had been shifting gears I’d still be sitting outside Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

Neither of these women bothered to visit a paying kiosk for a ticket. The parking attendant walked past both cars with barely a glance. As efficient as he was, there had to have been a monthly pass hanging somewhere.

When he reached the next car after the Miata, he stopped and began writing a citation. Two women approached and began a long, possibly heated conversation with him. It was boring not knowing what words were being exchanged, but like with a foreign film, I was able to insert my own dialogue and make the story more interesting.

The ladies double-teamed our dedicated attendant. One kept wringing her hands and (I suppose) implying she was being dealt with unfairly. The other moved between the two closest kiosks, possibly implying mechanical failure.

The heroic parking attendant never wavered while performing his sworn duty. He let the evil users of the system know you can’t just park and enjoy the ocean willy nilly; you have to pay for the privilege. Government efficiency at its best. At least that’s how I interpreted the scene.

Or maybe he’s affiliated with the Illuminati.

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