This morning, I parked alongside of a station wagon at my workplace. I wouldn’t have noticed the particular car before, of course, had I not been so distracted by space and my apparent lack of depth perception. I always have a hard time parking vehicles simply because I cannot assess parking space measurements correctly. Anyway, I fully concentrate on the cars parked beside the space I’m trying to turn into, so of course, I couldn’t help but be momentarily distracted by the station wagon to the right of me. I did a double-take while maneuvering my car into the spot. It wasn’t until I got out of the car when I could fully examine what I’d thought I’d seen.
(And I actually had.)
The entirety of the inside of the station wagon was filled with…stuff. Only the driver’s seat was bereft of anything except for stray bits of this and that. It was filled to the roof of the car with the contents of a life. I had once known that life only a few months after I’d left my old one.
The interior of that car represented a life under the strain of part-time employment, and employment that wasn’t guaranteed to remain steady. I mean, the issue itself could’ve merely been a case of hoarding, but the contents of the car weren’t indicative of a hoarding pattern — it wasn’t filled with trash or some sort of collection (even some kind of collection hinting at a mind from the Depression era). The car was filled with necessities, including pillows and blankets and comforters. That person who drove it, and probably barely owned it, was living in her car. Oh, and I know the person was a “her” due to the name on the “PAST DUE” bills that had been smooshed flat against a passenger side window, stuck there due to the mountain of blockage preventing them from actually fluttering down onto any sort of horizontal surface (of which there was none).
I felt heavy, incredibly worn for the driver, the one working at my school whom I knew was only there part-time due to the parking “Staff/Faculty” card dangling from the rear-view mirror (those who are full-time have a decal, physically representing a sense of permanency). When we’ve an issue with the over-hiring of administrators, and a lack of serious interest in those who are severely underemployed, there’s just no excuse for it. So much waste on those who cannot begin to empathize with the plight of a part-timer.
It’s utterly shameful.