As a devout cynic many things bother me. Tofu, frat guys, singing competitions and reporters with perfect non-regional accents until they pronounce their ethnic last names come to mind.
Above all else is a phenomenon I’ve only encountered in the Eastside Parking Structure here at school.
It is the drivers who sit by the elevator, waiting for someone they can follow to a parking spot.
I don’t blame the school for the parking situation. They have done all they can to improve it by adding two new parking structures to the proposed Campus Master Plan, which is currently pending Environmental Impact Report approval, according to the school website. I’d even congratulate the campus planners for their continued hard work in this most infuriating area.
I blame you.
Yes, you reading this have probably waited at the elevator, clogged traffic, or created blind corners that respectful motorists can barely get around, and added to the malaise that is parking at school.
I can’t count the number of accidents I’ve narrowly avoided because of the line of cars at the elevator.
Honking your horn only produces one of two Pavlovian responses: the middle finger or the old wave-around.
“Go around me, you jerk!” they say.
No, you keep moving! Your car isn’t supposed to be parked until it’s in a parking spot!
And then, when a person does debark the elevator but goes a different direction than the person waiting they don’t chalk it up to bad luck. Rather they make three-point, sometimes five-point, turns in a very tight area to follow the pedestrian.
“Who cares if there are other people trying to get a spot? It’s all about me!” they must say to themselves.
Safety issues aside, there is a certain sense of entitlement these people seem to have. Nearly every time I drive around one of these cars and get lucky enough to find someone leaving campus, the person waiting thinks I cut him or her off!
In fact, I recently had a brush-in with one such entitled motorist.
I went around a gigantic truck, merely trying to ascend to the next level of the structure when something beautiful happened. Someone just ahead of me was putting her stuff in her car, a sure sign she was leaving.
A spot at last.
Right as the young lady opened her door, the driver of the truck pulled up next to me, motioning me to roll down my window.
“Hey. Did you see me waiting?” he asked, scratching his chin in some demonstration of machismo.
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “Did you mean to ask if I saw you clogging traffic and making everybody else’s life a living hell?”
“Whatever, dude,” he said.
Maybe next time he has the inclination to cheat at parking, he’ll remember that little guy in the silver Ford Focus. Maybe he’ll remember how I put him in his place.
Or, more likely, he’ll think I was a jerk who wasn’t worth his time and that he has half a mind to kick my butt if he ever sees me again. Then he will put his lifted Chevrolet Silverado in park and wait it out like he always does.
Change can happen, and it starts with you.
Spread the word that we, the respectful few who put extra miles on our engines, refuse to clog traffic and know the pain of seeing another car’s blinker will not cave into the temptation of waiting at the elevator.
We will drive on.
And you can join us. Together, without the help of school officials, we can make parking at school a little less painful.