Sunday, May 20, 2007

Waiting for a Car

Kizziah to man in line - This line is incredibly long.

Man in line - (with slight stutter) Everything happens for a reason.

K - Where are you from?

MIL - Upstate Michigan. I work in a penitentiary there.

K - You here with family?

MIL - Yeah, my wife and daughter are out there waiting for me.

K - Is your daughter looking forward to Disneyland?

MIL - Well, sort of, but she's older, trying to figure out what to do with herself. I want her to go into the service. There are too many options out there today for a 17 year old. I served 20 years in the Marines, seven of them in Vietnam. I liked the service, saw the world, got an education and had a lot of fun, except when I got shot up.

K - Got shot up?

MIL - Everything happens for a reason.

K - So you now live in upstate Michigan.

MIL - Yeah, we live in a town of about 250 folks and there are two businesses, the prison and the casino on the Indian reservation. Lots of people I work with like to go to the casino, spend a hundred dollars for dinner and gambling. Me, a good night is a hamburger and a movie, twenty dollars, that's enough for me. I'm cheap, but that's what I like to do, that and washing the vehicle.

(Kizziah did not choose to ask what kind of vehicle and having missed his cue they waited for a long time before the man in line finally spoke)

MIL - What kind of work do you do?

K - I work in banking, at Chase in New York.

MIL - Chase, yeah, they have our mortgage. Used to have a Visa card too, but a few years ago I came down here and charged $2500 on the card. It never came through. After a year I called the 800 number and they said don't worry about it. Now I didn't mind, but something was wrong. So I got a MasterCard instead, and cancelled the Visa. Everything happens for a reason.

K - Well, that worked out ok for you.

MIL - Where I live is on a farm where one big family has been making maple syrup for 200 years, tapping the hardwood. That's great for them but, you know, my family, if we're within 500 miles of each other that's too close. But overall , I think things are much better today than before. I'm really encouraged. Just remember the '60's and '70's. I'm encouraged. Things are much better.

K - Why?

MIL - It's the people.

K - The people?

MIL - They're less arrogant. Look at this line. We got hundreds of people waiting two hours for a rent a car. People wouldn't have done this 20 years ago. What's it like where you live?

K - I work in New York City but live in a small town in the suburbs where my children can walk to town and the storekeepers know them. It's good.

MIL - Everybody wants that, a place where you can go to town and buy a pop and say put it on the old man's account. That's not going to happen anymore because of automation. It's changing everything.

K - (after a pause in the conversation) So you don't like gambling.

MIL - Not gambling in a casino.

K - Gambling is something I've never gotten into. I just don't see the point.

MIL - But you know that you gamble every day no matter what you do. I think the same as you about going to a casino, but I said that to a fellow the other day and he asked me if I have a 401-K. I knew what he meant. I made 13% off my 401-K last year and that's ok. In 1978 I bought Chrysler at 7. That's when they were having all those troubles and a friend of mine said they'd be ok. Bought 5000 shares. That was ok. Bigger things than that happen all the time. I was here in Orlando in 1971. Look around you. Land prices have probably gone up 10 times since then. Wish I'd thought about it at the time. Everything happens for a reason.

MIL - (after another pause) Do you go to Central Park. Is it big?

K - I work near there.

MIL - My sister lives in an apartment that has a view of Central Park. She owns it, but she rents everything else. She's in the ad business. She doesn't have a man right now and she and her girlfriend went to Switzerland just for the weekend to go skiing. People do different things I guess.

K - (another pause) It's been more that two hours now. This is not right. Something's wrong, I mean look at this line.

MIL - (stutter returns) I like it. It's well organized. Just look at this line.

K - But I've got a 3 year old and a 9 year old out there in the heat and we've been up since 5:30am.

MIL - Isn't somebody with them.

K - My wife, but she's tired too. I hope the three year old falls asleep.

MIL - No way. She's just flown on a big bird to a strange place. She's awake. She'll stay awake.

K - (agitated) But something's wrong here. This is not right. This is incompetence.

MIL - I sort of like it, you know it's like being at the park already.

K - (more wired) But it's incompetent. Do you think I can get a cab from here. I can't wait any longer.

MIL - Sir, you can do anything you want, but you're over halfway there. And just look at this line. It's like a maze and they've got video monitors all around us. It's really well organized don't you think.

K - (no response)

MIL - Let's time the people in line. Causcasian male in plaid shirt will be at the counter in fourteen minutes. Watch the heavy guy in the brown shirt, twenty minutes.

K - What about us?

MIL - I'd say 1500 hours.

(Kizziah and the man in line continue to talk, time passes and at exactly 3pm they reach the counter)

K - You were right.

MIL - Well I guess that by now you know my response to that.