Monday, November 16, 2009

Just doing my job

I was picking up my daughter from school one day.
I came in a little late and of course there was no parking left for me.
So I ended up parking in somebody’s driveway but I was thoughtful enough to stay in my car - just in case the house owner would show up and needed the access to his garage.
Honestly, I was feeling a little bit uneasy intruding like that on somebody’s property but I thought that 15 minutes was not that much, especially if no one saw me :)

As I was waiting for the school gate to open, a parking maiden shows up in her carriage.
She promptly parks in the fire hydrant zone – the only spot on the street available – and without any further delay started giving away parking tickets.
These days they have a hand held computer. They just punch in your plate number and out comes the ticket freshly printed.
That makes it very effective and she was quite good at it.

I promptly put my car in reverse and drove a couple of blocks away where I could find a legal parking place, and then I walked back to the school entrance.
There was a little commotion going on as the parents were finding out they were ticketed – and by this time there were quite of few of them.
There were some quiet mutterings and some people were talking about it, but nobody was saying anything to the parking maiden, which was serenely continuing to give out tickets.

So I went to her and asked:
“These are hard working parents picking up their children, why are you doing this to them?”
She answered me something like “please sir, do not interfere with my job” – on a pretty stern voice – and continued undisturbed.
Then I said to her:
“You know the slave traders were just doing their job too. You don’t think that just because it was legal they had right to do it. Do you?”
She gave me a killer look and that same lame excuse “I am just doing my job, sir”
And yes she was an African American.

I don’t know if it was my conversation or the children bursting out of the school gates but she turned around and walked to her car.
And although I did not get a ticket that day it left me with a bad feeling that something was wrong in this country of ours.

We all have a job.
But that job is not what we think it is. Our job is to be decent human beings.
It is what everybody should aspire for – to become a better human being every day.
Our so called “job” or as I like to call it our “trade” is just the way to earn our living, a way to provide goods and service to our fellow men.

Is it not that the government should be a government of the people for the people?
Is it not that our civil servants – as the name implies – should serve and protect us?
Since when have we stopped serving our fellow men and started serving corporations and institutions?

Every great crime against humanity was done by people that were “just doing their job”
That excuse has popped up its ugly head again and it is on everybody’s lips from Wall Street to White House.
If you are “just doing your job” you are one of the perpetrators of injustice and abuse.
After all is said and done, when you have spent your working days and are ready for retirement, the only thing left to you is not your career but that decency of a life well lived.

We all have a job and that job is to be a decent human being.
Everything else is just an illusion.


Ted Bagley said...

Oh, go park where you're supposed to! :)

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ Ted - Am I supposed to go park where they want me to park?
Or are they supposed to facilitate the parking where I need to pick up my kid?
Is the law supposed to serve us, or are we supposed to serve the law?

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills said...

You made an excellent point here. If our job is in opposition to our integrity as a person, then we need to make a choice. If we choose money over character then we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Ted Bagley said...

No, you're supposed to park where you would want you to park if you were them.
Them making it easier for you is up to them.
Then you would BE the law and the law doesn't care how easy it is for you. _/\_

Ted Bagley said...

There was no choice in my description. I say character is arbitrary as is our integrity as a person implying a value system that can be used as an excuse.
We're just getting "All Kant' here, aren't we?

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ Jonathan - Thank God for your comment!
I thought everybody thinks I was writing a post about parking problems :)

@ Ted - "man is the measure of all things" - IMO
A law that doesn't serve the human kind doesn't serve anyone - IMO
Behind any law that serves "them" but not "us" or vice versa there is discrimination and injustice - always.

Ted Bagley said...

Man is the measure of all things.
All things are what Man is not? That's your opinion?
The law is for everyone and always has an exception just like you did in your story.

Ted Bagley said...

Oh, Buddha, someone always sees you. ;)

Tim Colohan said...

It is a crowded world. Our inside job is to keep clear. Our outside job is to let go of all selfish desires and save all beings from suffering. This starts with you and your daughter, the meter maid, the other parents and where you park. Try to use your wisdom to stop your habit thinking and discover your correct situation, relationship to that situation and your function in that moment by moment, by moment. Try not to imagine opposites that are not real. Rest in Openess and act in Kindness, everything will be O. K. You are Buddha, wake up to that 100% Good luck

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ Ted - We made the parking signs and the parking laws.
Without people there would be any parking signs and laws.
That's what I mean.

@ Tim - Sorry but I am not Buddha.
And the post is not about parking my car or about me :)
This is just a metaphor, an invitation to dialog about our society and some of the problems we are facing nowadays.

Ted Bagley said...

You're not Buddha?

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ Ted - No.
I am a Buddhist but not Buddha :)

Nishant said...

we need to make a choice.

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Tim said...

@ Buddha of Hollywood- My bad. Thanks for cluing me in. I was just passing by. Cheers.

David G said...

The law is there to enable the masses to be easily manipulated and controlled.

People who question are a danger!