Life just isn’t the same any more. Not since the day. Or at least this morning.
I was at the coffee station in my favorite bagel place this morning, minding my own business as I shook the fine cocaine-like granules of Splenda and poured them into a paper cup. There is a certain simple pleasure gained from the feel of the packets as they empty into the bottom of the cup and I am certain that my face demonstrated the elation that welled up in my soul as the heavenly sweetness blessed what would soon be dark coffee nectar.
Someone was sharing my moment. I looked up to see a man observing me from a table ten feet away, his head cocked to the side with a quizzical ‘who are you?’ look in his eyes. The guy wasn’t even hiding that he was watching me.
Geez, I know that I have five packets of Splenda in my hand, but geez it’s how I like it. I mean, I like a little coffee with my sweetener. Just wait until I add the half and half creamer.
He pointed at me, certain that he recognized me but just couldn’t figure out why… “Bob?” he asked with uncertainty.
I smirked back at him, “Nope. I’m not Bob.”
A weird thought popped into my head — I hope he doesn’t think I resemble some guy he saw in an online personal. Then it dawned on me. Church. This guy recognizes me from church.
“I bet you and I go to the same church.”
The light bulb went off, especially when the guy sitting across from him turned and I could actually see the light bulb over his head. OK, yeah, there was a lamp over his head.
“Church? Yeah! That’s it. We go to the same church!”
“CCC? Yellow box?”
“Yep. YOU’RE PARKING LOT GUY!!!!”
I likely looked a little sheepish as I acknowledged his accurate identification. Yes, indeed, I am ‘parking lot guy’. CCC (Community Christian Church) or the yellow box as attendees like to refer to it, due to the distinguishing yellow color of the church building, is a big place. Our services each Sunday attract thousands of people.. and that requires parking lot supervision. Usually there are one or two of us out in the church parking lots, clad in bright orange vests, walkie talkies in hand.. parking nerds who help the helpless find a spot to park, then make sure that no one generates too much road rage leaving the lot after service. Not once have I had to escort someone back into the church building after saluting another motorist with a one way to heaven salute.
Truth be known, I am a little embarrassed to be parking lot guy. It’s not that there is anything wrong with it. I don’t even mind the sexy orange vest. During the summer months, I get a chance to work on my man tan, the glow of my skin matching the glow from my heart as I serve God at my church. Additionally, I am not the type of guy who is happy with just going to church and sitting in my own pew. I need to do something. I need to be involved. There was a time when I was well known around the church for being the funny guy who acted in the sketches performed each service. That was real cool and it got me a lot of recognition. Those days are long gone, though, and now I am parking lot guy. My real purpose isn’t to maintain motor safety, it’s to stand in an appropriate spot to greet people as they arrive and as they leave. I usually have a coffee cup in my hand, high on Splenda, toasting everyone as they drive by, a massive grin on my face.
Welcome to CCC! Come again. Have a blessed week.
There was one Sunday last year when a guy stopped me on his way in to the building, told me that he missed seeing me on stage. Awwwww, shucks. Someone still remembers. I promised to save him a spot close to the building from then on, just for the kind words.
So this morning I simply acknowledged the recognition as I filled my paper cup with coffee, stirred in the creamer. Honestly, the guy seemed genuinely excited to see the parking lot guy. I felt the tinge of celebrity wash over me.
I found a quiet spot in a corner, ate my hot and tasty Asiago bagel, sipped the soothing warm nectar, read the book I had with me. Those precious fifteen minutes I allotted to myself before work are important to me. When I walk through the office door, I like to be relaxed and ready for business.
However, I made sure I walked over and said a thank you before I left. It felt good to be recognized. Tony and Matt, my two new fans, will now be two new friends when I help them park this Sunday.