This Week’s Winner (Edition 1)

Before we get to this week’s winner, here are a few recaps from the week.

#3 Right, but who’s on first?

Me: Okay, I’ll need to see your ID.
Guy: You need to see my ID?
Me: Yes, I need to see your ID.
Guy: My ID?
Me: Yes, your ID.
Guy: So you need to see my ID.
Me: Yes, I’m going to need to see your ID?
Guy: My ID, right?
Me: Yes. Your ID. Driver’s license, passport whatever.
Guy: Wait, I thought you needed my ID.
Me: Right. I need to see your ID.
Guy: But you just said my driver’s license.
Me: That is an ID. I just need to make sure you are who you say you are.
Guy: So why did you say you needed my ID?
Me: …Because I need to see your ID!!
Guy: Oh, so you need to see my ID?
Me: Yes! I need to see your ID!!
Guy: My ID?
Me: I NEED. TO SEE. YOUR ID.
Guy: Ohhhhh my ID. I thought you said something else.

#2 I’m Just Joking.

Me: “So, here is your receipt…”
Woman: **grabs my arm**. “Oh my goodness, sweetie, how did you get this scar?”
(It should be noted that unless you spend like, 5 minutes staring at my hand, there is no way you would notice it. I have NO idea how she even saw it).
Me: Oh, that one? I got cut by a sword.
Woman: “that’s so funny, is that what you tell people so you don’t have to explain *whispers* the accident?”
Me: “No, legitimately, that’s what happened. I didn’t know a sword had been sharpened and I grabbed it wrong, and someone pulled it out of my hand.”
Woman: “Honey, it’s okay. You don’t have to lie”.
Guy behind her in line: “That’s awesome”.
**The woman leaves. The guy behind her steps up**
Guy: “Okay, but really, how did you get it?”
Me: “Well, my father was a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he went off crazier than usual…”

#1 What’s cooler than cool?

Lady: “So I read in the paper that there is going to be a new ice rink in Moline…are you guys worried about the competition?”.
(I look it up).
Me: “Well, it looks like it’s going to be an outdoor rink, so no”.
Lady: “Why not?”
Me: “Well, our rink works all year round, so I feel like that will be more of a Christmas-y type activity, like at Central Park”.
Lady: “Right, but they’re brand new!”
Me: “Yeah, but we’re open year round”.
Lady: “Well, wouldn’t THEY be up year round?”
Me: “….it’s an outdoor rink”. (Blank stare) ” It’s outside. The rink. Is outside”.
Lady:”Oh, so they probably couldn’t air condition it?”
Me: “Probably not, ma’am”.

And now for this week’s (previously unpublished) winner:

On Wednesday, this tiny, wizened old black man came into my office. He had this really unique, kind of slurred, raspy voice and he wanted to know about the pavilions along the riverfront.

Old Man: ‘Scuse me, miss, but can you tell me about those gazebos down there?

So I explain the rental policy for them and how much they cost.

Old Man: Oh, so they’re gonna cost me some money then?
Me: Yeah, I hate that, don’t you?
Old Man: I sure do. Tell me, miss, do you got any tents?
Me: Well, we don’t really have any tents, but we do have a tent space. You would have to provide your own tent, but–
Old Man: Well hot damn, tell me about those.

I go through all of the tent space rental info with him.

Old Man: So what you’re saying is that I got two options.
Me: Actually, I’ll just make this easier for you, let me show you the page in our catalog where all of the rental information is located.

I do so.

Old Man: Tell me, miss, about that tent space. How much is it again?

I explain the tent space again. By this point, I’m really starting the like the guy, he’s really sweet and I can tell he’s a little confused, but I go through the whole thing again. By now, I’ve been talking to him for about 15 minutes.

Old Man: Now, what’s your policy on meetings?
Me: Generally, meetings are allowed, but if it’s going to be a large rally or something like that, it does need to get per-approved before the rental will be confirmed.
Old Man: Well, I’m wanting to hold a REVIVAL MEETING!
Me: Okay, cool, well, revival meetings are one of the events that do require pre-approval, so I can give you…
Old Man: Pre-Approval? We gots to be pre-approved to save folks from Satan?
Me: Yes, I’m sorry, but it is just city policy, since they are usually well-attended events, we like to make sure there is enough staff on hand to accommodate—
Old Man: But what if we don’t get approved?
Me: Well, honestly, most of the time it’s just a formality to make sure that our facilities manager knows that the space will be–
Old Man: BUT HOW WE GONNA SAVE PEOPLE FROM SATAN?
Me: Well, let me give you this special use permit, you can fill it out and bring it back on down, and I am sure our facilities manager will take a look and let you know as soon as possible.
Old Man: Oh, I see, she’s gotta know about it?
Me: Exactly. Thank you  for understanding.
Old Man: Well, I wouldn’t want demons runnin’ all over my park, either?
Me:….What?
Old Man: Well, we’re gonna be exorcising demons! Demons! Get em! Get em out!

The guy starts dancing around, waving his hands in the air, clapping, slapping his knee and singing a song that goes something like this:
Get ’em on out!
Get ’em on out, lord
Get those demons outta me!
Get ’em on out!
Oh Lord, Lord lord of mine
Gotta get ’em on out!

Me: ….So anyway, if you want to just fill out that permit….
Old Man: Why yes ma’am I will fill that permit out! I’ll bring it on back to you later on next week.
Me: That will be just fine, sir.
Old Man: You gonna come to the revival meeting? To (sings again) get those demons on out!
Me: Oh, um, I dunno, maybe I will try to make it—
Old Man: You got one of them blue hair demons all in ya!
Me: Um—
Old Man: Nah, I’m just kidding. You’re to pretty to have a demon in you. You have a blessed day and Jesus bless you.
Me: Sir, you have a great day.

The old guy turns around, starts dancing again, does a little dance in the lobby and sings a spiritual all the way out the door.

Awesome.

A Pantheon of Idiots

Someone recently suggested that I start collecting my experiences working for Parks and Recreation in one spot, so as to have them easily accessible for reading.

What I’ve decided is that every week, I will write up that week’s winners, for posterity and because it will give me something to do on Fridays and so the writing staff for Parks and Recreation will hire me. Because I would be so good at that job.

The Pregnant Girl:
(Girl Sobbing).
Me: “Um…can I help you?”
(Girl Sobbing) “I…I…I think I might be pregnant”.
Me: “Ah. Um. Well. This is parks and recreation? Not…you know..the other place you might want to call”.
Girl: NO YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I THINK I MIGHT BE PREGNANT AND I WENT DOWN A SLIDE IN THE PARK IN THE RAIN BECAUSE I’M DRUNK AND NOW MY BABY WILL BE RETARDED BECAUSE OF YOUR PARK!”.
Me: “….good luck with that?”

The Home-schooled Girl: 
Girl: “Um, why is your hair blue?”
Me: “I’m an actor”
Girl: “What type of theatre do you do?”
Me: “Well, I really like Shakespeare”.
Girl: “Oh. What’s Shakes-peare?”.
Me: “…Seriously? like…you know William Shakespeare?”
(Blank Stare).
Me: “Romeo and Juliet? Hamlet? 10 Things I Hate About You?
(blank stare). Girl: “I was homeschooled, and sometimes I don’t think my parents did a very good job”.

(According to her birthday, this girl was 26.). I gave her my copy of Hamlet.

Everything is Better With an Adorable Lisp
(Super, super gay guy): “OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO HELP ME I’M TRAPPED IN THE PARKING GARAGE AND I CAN’T GET OUT”.
Me:  “…um…what?
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I’M TRAPPED THERE’S NO WAY OUT THE EXIT IS BLOCKED OH GOD WHAT DO I DO?”
Me: “…Go out the entrance?”
“…Oh. Um, thanks.”
Me: “…No problem. I hate it when that happens”.

Spelling Counts
“Can you explain why your WEBSITE DOESN’T WORK?”
Me: …well, how are you spelling “Davenport?”
“Um, how its spelled. D-A-V-I-N-P-O-R-T-E”.
Me: “Ah. Well, its actually…”
“THAT DOESN’T MATTER I SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET TO THE WEBSITE ANYWAY”.
Me: “you know what, I just found out, we’re just out of internet today. That’s why you can’t get on”.
“oh, okay. Thank you”.

Saint Titus Of Andronicus. 
Me: “How can I help you?”
Guy: “Wow, how did you lose your voice? Yelling at your kids?”
Me: “No, I don’t have any kids. I lost it at rehear—”
Guy: “What do you mean, you don’t have kids?
” Me: “(Awkward laugh) Nope! No kids!”
Guy: “Well, how old are you?” Me: “24”.
Guy: “You’re 24 and you don’t have any kids?”
Me: “Not that I know of”.
Guy: “Wow. So what are you even DOING with your life?”
Me: “Um, as I was saying, I lost it at rehearsal.”
Guy: (Snorts) “Rehearsal, for what?”
Me: “Titus Andronicus. It’s a Shakespeare”.
Guy: “…..why?” Me: “Why what?”
Guy: “Why would you need to do that?”
Me: “Why do I need to have kids?”
Guy: “Because it’s your religious duty”.
Me: “Oh, cruel, irreligious piety”.
Guy: “What?”
Me: “Never mind, I just said that to give the Facebook post this is going to be a punchline”.
Guy: “Well, can I at least give you some information about Jesus?”
Me: “Only if I can give you some information on William Shakespeare. And Saint Titus. Of Andronicus”.

Free Steak:
Me: “So, this is your rental form, and if you have any questions, here is the number to call”.
Guy: “You are really attractive”.
Me: “Thank you?”.
Guy: “No, I mean, you’re REALLY attractive”.
Me: “…Thanks”.
Guy: “What are you doing tomorrow? I am going to take you to lunch”.
Me: “Well, I’m kind of working, plus my boyfriend might be mad”.
Guy: “What about dinner?”
Me: “Sorry, I have rehearsal. And a boyfriend. Plus, I only accept steak dinners from strangers”.
Guy: “I think I could handle a steak dinner with a beautiful woman. Well, I’ll give you some time to think about it. I’ll come back tomorrow”.

Reign of Idiots:
Guy comes in: “Hey. It’s raining”.
Me: “Sure is!”
Guy: “I want my money back”.
Me: “Your money back? Sir, the park is free, and you haven’t been in the conservatory so you wouldn’t have had to pay anything”. Guy:”Oh yeah. Never mind. I forgot parks are free now”.

Tights Androids:
“How was that Tights Android show this weekend? You’re in that, right?”
Me: “…Tights Android?”
“You know, the poster with all the blood on it”.
Me: “OH!!! It went well. Thank you”.
“Who’s that by again?”
Me: “William Shakespeare?”
“Huh. I thought he died. learn something new every day, I guess. Well, have a good day”.
Me: “…you too”.

DARE: Skyrim
Mom 1: “I’m sorry, Jake can’t come to Ashton’s birthday party this weekend”.
Mom 2: “That’s too bad, is he feeling okay?”
Mom 1: “Oh he’s fine, I just caught him taking drugs in Skyrim again.”

Pin-Up Girl
So today this old guy comes in pushing an even older man in a wheelchair. I greet both of them, and the older guy gestures for the other guy to lean down so he can whisper in his ear. The younger of the two leans in, listens, awkwardly clears his throat and says: “My dad wants me to tell you that he was in the Navy during WWII, and apparently, you look just like the pin-up that he had hanging in his bunk during his tour of duty”. I laughed, thanked him for his service, and I finished their reservation, and as they were leaving, the father turned back to me, winked, and gave me the “right finger going through the circle of left ring finger and thumb” signal. I didn’t know what to do so I gave him a thumbs up for being so awesome.

No, I’m Not
(In the middle of a reservation with this really cute old lady)–
Old Lady: “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be forward, but do you happen to be one of those lesbians like they call them?”
Me: “…No, ma’am, can’t say that I am, why?”
Old Lady: “I just think you’re adorable”.
Me: “Well…thank you, ma’am”
(After I print her receipt and she is headed out the door)– “You’re sure you’re not one of those lesbians?”
Me: “Ma’am, I think my boyfriend would be upset if I was”.
Old Lady: “What a shame. I just want to take you home and snuggle you”.
Me: “…You have a great day, ma’am”.
Old Lady: “Oh, I will. I’m going to spend it thinking about you” **WINKS**.

The Grass Guy: 
Guy on Phone: I WANT TO KNOW WHY NO ONE HAS CUT MY GRASS”.
Me: “…excuse me?”
Guy: “WHY HASN’T ANYONE CUT MY GRASS?”
Me: “Um, because as a homeowner you are responsible for your own yard?”
Guy: “DON’T LIE TO ME. EVERY YEAR, SOMEONE COMES TO MOW MY YARD”.
Me: “…let me check on that sir”*I check*. “Sir, it looks like every year, you are fined and the city comes to forcibly mow your lawn because it is in violation of city ordinance”.
Guy: “RIGHT! SO WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO MOW MY YARD?”
Me: “Well, have you gotten your ticket yet?”
Guy: “…no, my lawn isn’t high enough yet”.
Me: “Okay, well, let it grow for a few more days and I’m sure someone will come by to fine you and give you a ticket before the end of the month”.
Guy: “Great! Thank you so much for your help!”

411
Me:  “Parks and Rec, how can I help you?”
Guy: “Hi, I’m trying to get a hold of the River Bandits and I can’t find their number”.
Me: “Okay, sir, well we are Davenport Parks and Rec–”
Guy: “I know, I just thought you might be able to help me”.
Me: “Um, well I can google that for you”.
Guy: “You do that”.
Me: “….Okay, so I found that online for you, and the phone number is (blah blah blah)”
Guy: “Just so you know, that was really rude”.
Me: “I’m sorry?”
Guy: “That was rude. Telling me that you’re not affiliated with the River Bandits. If I wanted to look up the number I would do it myself. Next time, just shut up and give me the number”.
Me: “…..my apologies, sir”.

411 Part 2
Me: “Parks and Rec, how can I help you?”
Guy: “You better be able to. I’ve been trying to find Lake Storey all day and I have NO IDEA why YOU PEOPLE have such TERRIBLE INFORMATION!!”
Me: “Sir, are you referring to the Lake Storey in Galesburg?”
Guy: “YES THAT’S WHAT I JUST SAID WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING?”
Me: “Sir, this is Davenport, Iowa.”
Guy:”SO?”
Me: “Sir, Galesburg, Illinois, is a completely different city. However, I did google their Chamber of Commerce and I would be happy to give you that number”
Guy: “…WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
Me: “Sir, Galesburg is a different town. And state”.
Guy:”…don’t lie, how did you get their number if you don’t work for them?”
Me:”…The Internet?”.
Guy: “You’re telling me that in the time it took you to answer the phone AND listen to my question, you were able to find that phone number?”
Me: “…That is exactly what happened, yes”.
Guy: “You expect me to believe that?”
Me: “Believe what, sir?”
Guy: “That you just HAPPENED to FIND the RIGHT phone number in 30 seconds after you searched the ENTIRE INTERNET?”
Me:”…so do you want the number, sir?”
Guy: “NO! How do I know it’s even correct if you’re just making numbers up at random?”
Me: “A valid point, sir. A valid point”.

Your Face Is A Waste Of Time
(So the customer I  dealing with mentioned that she was renting out the Stern Center for her wedding.)
Me: “Oh, cool, my theatre company just did a show there, it’s a great space”.
Lady: “What kind of theatre company?
Me:” “We’re a not-for-profit verse theatre”.
Lady: “What’s that mean?”
Me: “We do like, Shakespeare and Greek Tragedy”.
Lady: “Prove it”.
Me: “Prove…what?”
Lady: “You’re just making it up, aren’t you? You don’t actually know anything about (finger quotes) “Shakespeare”.
Me: “Um…To be or not to be, that is the question, whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer….but soft you now, the sweet Ophelia!”. Lady: “….Whatever. It’s not like that was hard. Plays are a waste of time.”
Me: “Have a great day, ma’am”.

 

Actually Working for Parks and Recreation (adventures in living a real-life sitcom).

I love my job. I really do.

There are days when I want to punch myself in the face, repeatedly, but at the end of the day, somewhere along the line, I started liking my job.

When I first started, my job was literally entering trees into a computer, and I remember thinking to myself “this is going to last two weeks”. A year later, I’m still here.

Granted, at some point, someone noticed that I’m good at design and writing, so I’ve been able to actually use my skills and talents around the office, which has been really nice. It’s a great feeling to know that you’re appreciated, or at least useful. I like being useful. There’s also no such things as an “average day”. One day, I might be designing a poster for an event or program, the next day I might be teaching a group of 7 year olds about my chameleon’s eating habits while he crawls up my hair.

Hands down, though, the best part of my job, though, is interacting with the public. 97% of the time, the people I deal with are kind, considerate and grateful for my assistance. The other 3% of the time, though, that’s where Facebook statuses are born and legends are made.

There have been odd encounters before– the Duck Lady was really my first Great Story, but before and after that, there have been daily (if not twice and three times and four times daily) ridiculous encounters and experiences that have really made this job worth working.

Since the popularity of the NBC show “Parks and Recreation” has taken off, I get asked a lot what it’s like to work for a “real” Parks and Recreation department– and, well…it’s very, very similar to the show. In a good way.

A lot of the strangest things that have happened could be straight out of an episode, but I think that’s kind of the fun part about working here– you just never know when someone is going to kidnap a duck or fall into the river or one of a million other strange complaints and concerns I’ve gotten in the year I’ve been  working here.

While we might be short a real Ron Swanson, everyone I work with is a character– in an awesome way. I  get along with everyone at the office really well—even though I have been dubbed the “Office April”, (which is awesome), and the general “we’re all in this together” feeling means that for the most part, we are all willing to go out of our way to help each other out. Sure, there are some days when covering the phones is really the last thing I’d rather be doing, but, in all honesty, the potential to have an Awesome Story usually gives me the motivation I need when I’d rather be working on a design or something.

There is also just a kind of sense of humor about what we do that I appreciate. I love designing stuff because I just get to have fun with it.

I’ve realized that I might not do this job forever, but I really do love it.  Sure, there are good days and bad days, just like any other job, but the fact that I get to do something I’m good at and I go in every morning with the potential to get a Great Story out of the day is pretty special to me.

In a perfect world, I would be working for a Shakespeare company that rotates between productions of Titus Andronicus and Two Gents, but the fact that I get paid to plan Halloween parties and help people plan weddings is a fair trade off for now.