Stadium Views

Shade, a lawn chair, a newspaper and free beer. Does this sound like a tough job to you? by gpiv
March 28, 2010, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Eighty three bottles of beer in the fridge.

On the day his story ran Lee Folger sent me the issue of Baseball America which says good-bye to Rosenblatt.  I think it would be great if we could photoshop a photo of Stadium View onto that cover of Baseball America.  The headline is thanks for the memories.  Those would sell well as a final farewell for the shop.

Having lunch with the parking Nazi today so it’s time to write a bit about him.  Just like most of my followers you’re waiting to see if you get your five minutes of fame/debasement in this blog.  You’ll all get your chance, some more than others.

The Parking Nazi’s real name is Tom Stratman.  As stated in the LSU blog, Tom got his moniker from Big Wayne.  It took a long time for the two of them to warm up to each other, like never.

I met Tom when he hired me to do a divorce for him years ago.  It was one of those ten-year divorces.  Some people just can’t get along.  His ex took the easy way out and moved to California.  A few thousand miles and things simmered down.

Tom started hanging around the store in the early years and then like any good salesman he saw a way to make a buck, and help me out in the process.  He was going to take care of my parking lot and maximize the income from that operation.  At that time I still had a partner, Neal, and he was letting every one of his friends, park in the lot for free.   Tom would fix that situation.

I made him Director of Outside Operations.  Just like a bank, we don’t pay too well at Stadium View, so just like a bank, we give titles out like candy.  Tom was extremely proud of his title.  He promptly went outside, found a tree in the neighbor’s yard to sit under, got a lawn chair and a newspaper and went to work.

Now the lot at Stadium View is approximately 30 foot by 50 foot.  Then we have the city’s right of way and the parking on the street.  I think Tom can squeeze somewhere between 16 to 18 cars, depending on their size in the lots.  People have to climb out the windows because their doors won’t open, but he gets them in there.

Every morning during the series Tom wants to know how many freebies we have coming.  Hell I don’t know.  He has a better idea than I do.  So I tell him what I know, preparing to be confronted later when the number that I gave him is wrong.  I’m all about confrontation from my employees.  It keeps them from walking and I don’t have to give them a raise.

Just as Batman had his archenemies like the Joker, the Riddler, etc., Tom has his Pantheon of Archenemies in running outside operations.  There is of course the scalpers.  They steal parking places early in the morning and make things difficult for him, as he sits under his tree and obsesses about them.  They usually move their cars fairly early, but not before Tom comes in five or six times to ask me if I know where Ron and Jay are.

Not just Ron and Jay of course.  There is all the scalpers who sit on the stoop outside.  He wants to keep them moving along and they want to sit on the stoop and rest.  I’m all right with them except for two things.  Don’t interfere with my outside sales and do not cuss.  It’s a family, beer drinking atmosphere we want to promote at Stadium View.

Then there was the cop who decided that Tom could no longer park on the cities right of way.  Boy did that cut into his operation and income.  That happened halfway into the series a few years ago.  Tom came running in and said the cop was going to tow all the cars if we didn’t move them and that I had to go talk to the cop.  Those negotiations proved fruitless and we were without about six places for the rest of the series.  Luckily things have loosened up.  Tom always blamed the scalpers for that incident and I’m not sure that he wasn’t right.

But at the top of Archenemies is the person who struck fear into his heart.  The Woman Cop on the Horse.  affectionately known as the Bitch on the Horse.   She regularly would start to head down the road with her horse when Tom was stopping traffic on 13th Street which would move Tom in a hurry.  She would yell at him and threaten him and even ticketed him on one occasion, and Tom would respond by moving her barricades which blocked B Street, continuing to stop traffic on 13th Street and questioning her sexuality.  He wasn’t the only one who questioned her sexuality.  After years of torture from Tom, she retired.

Tom is the best car parker I’ve ever met.  Sometimes it seems that he would have to be parking a hover craft to get a car in a certain spot. But he does.

Tom leaves to frequent the various bars and the various neighbors in the area during the course of the day.  When he’s done with the last park he gives me the keys to the cars.  At least once a year there’s a crisis with the keys, and Tom’s gone.  Guess who has to deal with the Crisis.  Yeah, for the last few years you’re right, Erik.

The Parking Nazi is going to be spending a lot more time under the tree this year as we are hoping to have the tent rented everyday.  Bring him a Wall Street Journal cause he’ll be through the World Herald by nine.

One thing’s sure.  When all of you are gone (excluding my family), Tom will still be there for me.  There’s no divorce in our future.


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