On whether or not Maggie would smile at me through the window

March 12, 2013

How in the world one is supposed to find an office in the middle of a multi-story parking garage, I don’t know. I entered the “Do Not Enter” exit ramp and walked up to Maggie’s window. Anyways, the sign said she was Maggie. I guess people exiting the garage of Republic Parking want to know who they’re giving their money to.

I approached with trepidation, of course, because this was Boston, and Maggie was in the customer service industry. There was a large chance she might not look me in the eye. Even worse, she very well may just refuse to open her service window at all, since, after all, I was standing where only cars should appear. And there I would stand, outside her window, rebuffed, ignored, and fuming. I hate fuming.

However, I held out some hope that the exchange would be pleasant. First of all, she had a pleasant face. Second of all, I had already stereotyped her: she would be Eritrean, she would speak with that wonderful deep sound to her “r”, and she would treat me practically—neither overly warmly nor, most importantly, rudely.

I walked up to the window, and she smiled at me and opened the window. I smiled back. There was a round-faced smiling man behind Maggie. “Hi! Is Gideon there?” I asked. Maggie looked behind her at the smiling man, and he said, “Hi! I’m Gideon.”

“Oh hi! I’m Sarah.” I had called him twice already this week. Once, to tell him that the check I had brought back from China for my friend wouldn’t come on Monday after all, because I was stuck in Virginia due to the Boston blizzard. The second time, this morning, was to let him know I was coming and would he be there?

“I have that check for Alberto Chen*?” the way my voice rose indicated I wasn’t sure if I should stick my arm in the window or if there was an easier place to interact somehow.

He took the check from me through the window, and asked, “Would you like a receipt?” I said I would, and they smilingly directed me around the building to the entrance of their tiny office. I never would have found that office on my own!

We made small talk as he wrote out the receipt. He envies Alberto his job, because he gets to travel all the time, even though he has to get ex-girlfriends to pay for his car parking while he’s in Beijing. The man is Kenyan, but only goes home once every two or three years.

The receipt he handed me was for Wanyu Chen. I wondered if he wondered about Alberto’s real name. I thanked him.

“You take care, Sarah!” he called out to me as I walked back to the mini-van I had perfectly parallel-parked. I smiled and waved back.

Boston ain’t always half bad.

*Name changed.

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