It's funny how, years later, the Park is still very much a part of my life. None of my other jobs are like that. Sure, I keep in touch with people I met while toiling for one company or another, but this is different. I'm not entirely sure if it's because I worked there while young and impressionable, or what. Probably not, because I also worked at the A&P around the same time and I never feel the urge to tell funny stories about Life in the Supermarket. And no one from the A&P has ever called me up to share stories about our former co-workers. Like my friend Mike did recently. Without even pausing to say hello, he launched into the details of his latest Mark B sighting.
But before I get into the story, let me take this opportunity to explain who Mark B is. Mark B is developmentally disabled. Highly functioning, but developmentally disabled nonetheless. He worked on the Alpine Slide. He usually held the chairs at the bottom of the lift so they wouldn't smack the patrons in the ass when they sat down. Or he would stand at the top ride area and instruct the patrons to follow the large arrow painted on the ground when stepping off the chair lift. He was well suited to these tasks.
He also had a 'radio station' in his house. As far as I could figure it, that meant he had a microphone hooked up to his stereo so he could sing along to the music he was listening to. And that music was usually Sesame Street-related. One of his favorites was The Opposite Song.* It's a catchy number. Everyone in Alpine Center caught Opposite Fever. As far as I can recall, it was the only song ever performed over the parkwide 2-way radio frequency.
Most importantly, he was a vehement recycler. He would make the rounds to all the offices in the Park (and later, area post offices) collecting their cardboard and empty bottles, which he would then take to the recycling center. Didn't matter if you were saving the boxes to use later or if you weren't quite finished with your beverage.
Which leads me back to Mike's phone call. He ran into Mark while visiting the current incarnation of the Park with his family. He was holding an empty water bottle. Mark B tried to take it from him to recycle, but Mike resisted. He tried to tell Mark B that he wasn't finished with the bottle- he was going to refill it later. Because he, too, is environmentally conscious. And also cheap. A battle of wills ensued. Mike eventually prevailed. I think.
In the end it really doesn't matter who won. I just wanted to tell you all about Mark B. And sing the Opposite Song. "I go up! (UP!) And you go down! (DOWN!) I travel in a straight line, you round and round! (ROUND AND ROUND!)"
*As found on Sesame Street: Born to Add. You can hear a snippet here.