Working at a Parking Lot

Last week I watched The Parking Lot Movie on Netflix Instant - it was by far the best documentary film I've seen in quite a while.

At first thought, the idea of a story about a ragtag group of guys who work as parking attendants seems baseless; but the film explores topics ranging from car culture to class politics to the very nature of work. It's the perfect lens for exploring issues that we frequently experience but aren't really in a position to observe.

It's so easy to assume that anyone working at a parking lot must have nothing in life going for them - that they're there because they have no other options. The idea that someone actively seeks out a job collecting money from people parking cars would seem absurd to a lot of people.

So how is it possible that the guys that work at the Corner Parking Lot in Charlottesville, Virginia not only want to work there, but also enjoy the work that they do?

Society holds this belief that jobs that bring status and money are the jobs that we all ought to want. These are supposed to be the jobs that we go to college for and spend lots of money on a degree for. They are supposed to make us happy. How often is that actually the case?

What I love about The Parking Lot Movie is that, as the movie comes to an end, we find out that most of the attendants eventually do find a career that most people would consider respectable. It was just during that brief time they worked collecting money from motorists that people assumed, because of what they did, that they were a certain kind of person destined for a certain kind of life.