Downtown Nashville parking garage attendant, Lance Marsden, used to enjoy the "Good morning!", "Fancy seeing you here!", and other cheerful daily greetings offered up by a beautiful Pontiac owner, but finds that he has increasingly come to long for more.
"It's just not enough anymore," he said. "I try to be patient, but sometimes it's hard not to let my frustration show."
He didn't always feel this way, Marsden explained. "Lots of people who park here drive in and don't even say a word to me, so at first I thought it was really sweet that she would smile and wave and be friendly," he said. "I guess you could say that in some ways, I was so starved for connection that I would take whatever I could get."
Now, almost two years later, however, Marsden has a much clearer sense of what he's looking for - and it's more than just a few sunny early-morning words. "At this point, she really ought to linger and have a real conversation. She owes me that much."
And, for a period of time, Marsden did his darnedest to encourage the lovely Pontiac owner, Cassie, to do just that. For about a month, he attempted to detain Cassie with his witty banter and breezy southern charm, as she pulled up to the secured garage entrance to present her parking pass.
It didn't work.
"At most, I'd get a laugh or an extra wave as she pulled through the gates," he said. "It was like pulling teeth to even get her to tell me her first name."
Hurt by the daily blowoff, cheerfully packaged and delivered though it might be, Marsden went so far as to stop talking to Cassie for a full a week, responding to her pleasantries with merely a curt nod.
"I couldn't keep it up, though," said Marsden, smiling ruefully. "I just care too much."
He added that even though he was far from thrilled with how things were going with Cassie, he felt it important not to shut her out.
These days, says Marsden, he's biding his time with Cassie. He's friendly but not pushy, aiming simply to keep communication lines open, so that when Cassie does feel comfortable taking their relationship to the next level, there will be a solid foundation of trust from which to launch their shared journey.
And until then?
"I'm trying to just enjoy the moments we share, and not feel resentful that she's not in a position to give more right now," said Marsden. "She's so pretty, she probably has random dudes getting obsessed with her all the time. I need to show her that I'm different - that my feelings are unconditional and I can be patient. And that, even though it's challenging, I'm willing to give her all the space she needs."
In the meantime, too, Marsden is determined not to neglect his other customers. "Focusing on my job helps take my mind off Cassie. And they deserve my full attention, too."