“The only down side to this temp job I have for you,” the agent said over the phone, “is that you have to pay for parking.”  She added that there were certain residential streets I should be able to find parking on– one of them had the word “Blood” in the name.  Eep.

I decided to park in a garage for my first day at the job.  There was one right around the corner and it was $8 for the whole day.  Granted, when you’re making little more than that per hour, it’s a little sad to think about how during one of the hours that you are doing data entry, it’s for the priviledge of parking your car around the corner.  The next day, I figured, I’d check out those residential streets.

The next day I did manage to find street parking– it was a ten minute walk to the office, which apparently, is an almost unfathomable distance.

“You parked WHERE?” more than one person said.  (Parking is a hot topic of discussion an office full of temps who have to find it).  “That’s so far away!”  Several people also added, “I never park on the street.  I just…wouldn’t do it.”

This left me seized with panic.  I love my little car.  Ours is a new relationship, but so far it is strong.  On my lunch break I scurried back to the parking spot to make sure my car was not on fire or missing doors.

It looked fine to me.  The neighborhood also looked fine.  It was not the nicest part of town, but, I thought to myself, it was nicer than any neighborhood I have ever lived in since leaving home.  I don’t know what everyone is talking about, I thought. My car will be fine.

Several conversations about not parking on the street later, I was less sure again.  “I’ve heard that if you leave the building after 7pm, you’re supposed to ask for someone to escort you to your car if it’s in certain neighborhoods,” several people told me.  I became alarmed.  After all, I am new to this city.  There’s a lot I have to learn about Raleigh.  Perhaps my attitude so far has been a little on the cavalier side.

What if my car is being broken into…RIGHT NOW?  I began to panic.  What if my GPS unit is being stolen…AS I SIT HERE ENTERING DATA?  I would never find my way home– or anywhere else again, for that matter.

At 6:15 I shot out of work and sped toward where my car was parked, noting with apprehension that it WAS in kind of a shabby neighborhood, now that it was getting late and dark.

When I reached it, my car was surrounded by flashing police cruisers.  Although it was fine,  the vehicles that had collided on the now almost empty street where I had parked were not fine.  Not only that, but there was inexplicably a giant pile of horse droppings in the middle of that street.  I hadn’t seen a single horse in Raleigh since I’d been there.  I took it as a sign.

Back to the garage.

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