Do you remember the last time you parked in a gated parking lot, received your ticket with the time stamped on it as you entered, and then when you left, you paid an attendant? Yes?
OK, quick, name one characteristic about that parking attendant? For most of us, that’s a hard one.
The NPR story is consistent with the theme I wrote about yesterday, Simple Conversations. The point was its the little conversations, connections, in everyday life that can make a difference in another’s life. We’re always looking for the big thing to make a difference, but we miss the small things right in front of us.
The documentary “Parking Lot” is about real guys who were philosophers, intellectuals, musicians, artists, marginal-type characters, and undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA). Eventually some became a “Fulbright scholar; another is the senior librarian at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. James McNew plays bass with the band Yo La Tengo.” They were/are creative guys who made their jobs as parking lot attendants hilariously fun and interesting and reflective. They connected with people, most of the time. And they had fun and looked for meaning in the mundane.
But one comment caught my ear:
“You develop a strong sense of self,” Slade explains in the film. “You get to know who you are fundamentally in the absence of any other external trappings … that typically frame our identities and make us who we are. Y’know, ‘I do this, or I do that.’ Well, when you’re at the parking lot, you do nothing.”
So let me ask you to answer one or both of these questions in the Comments section below without telling the readers what you do in your work or what your role in your family is, answer the question(s):
- “Who are you?” in three sentences or less.
- When was a time you were in a potentially meaningless situation, and found or created meaning in it?
Living Simply is about finding meaning as we live each and every day. Especially in the routine.