FRANK TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DO WITH OUR LIVES

Entry #2 (2013)

“Bring us into your world. What is something about your work (past or present) that outsiders typically don’t understand? It can be something required by the job, something that happens on the job, something you feel about the job—but whatever it is, do not exceed 800 words.

Diverted

The hole was big enough to swallow a Chevy, and a city bus driver called in the ominous development. “There’s a giant sinkhole on Battery Street at Main. Better tell BPD to shut it down quick.” Sirens raced each other from several directions, sealing the 4-lane downtown bypass road efficientlycatching a big semi in time to route it away. Three of the busiest blocks in town came to a halt.

I was ticketing yet another Volvo when I noticed it: every street was jammed bumper-to-bumper with big trucks and all manner of vehicle. Unhappy drivers crept along, inching when they expected to be accelerating past all this; snarled in downtown Burlington.

I kept to my task relieving tourists of a few dollars for the privilege of parking, curious how bad this traffic jam would get. I reached for my two-way radio to call in but was stopped mid-motion by a familiar voice. “Jim? Jim Mathers?” It was useless to deny it; impossible to un-hear my name and slink off anonymously. I turned and looked behind me but only saw stone-cold stares. “Over here, Silly!” She was jammed between an 18-wheeler full of mattresses and a plumber’s van: the white Acura a mere pimple to the line of vehicles.

“Is the Mercedes in the shop?” She laughed, waving the thought away like an insignificant bug. “What are you doing now?” The uniform; the ticketing computer; my clutch of orange envelopes spilling from a burgeoning pocket: I wonder if she even saw me. “Not much.” I kept pace with her open windowcareful to keep out of reach of those razor-length nails. “Let’s have drinkies! How about…” I held up a hand, pausing in the streetoblivious to a charged-up Harley muscling by too close on purpose. “I can’t. You know why.” She stopped alongside me much to the consternation of those behind who tapped their horns immediately, futilely. She reached for my hand but came up empty. “So, it’s like that? O.K. Stay with HER. And in a job like this, you pathetic meter maid!” The traffic lurched forward again, digesting the white car as it sped through a reddish traffic light. I stood in the gutter and watched it vanish around the bend just like my prospects for sure wealth.

***

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  1. I think I know who wrote this – this person has a pretty distinctive writing style – and it’s a style I do like. Very evocative, engrossing to read. With this essay though, I’m not entirely sure what point we’re supposed to come away with, as far as telling us something we don’t know about their work. That menial jobs are embarrassing? That….hmm, just not sure.

  2. LOL love the description “a mere pimple to the line of vehicles”!

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