Yeah, so I was gonna try to be all positive this morning, right? What the hell was I thinking? Positive? It’s only Tuesday. The kids started back to school yesterday, which means “back to school traffic from Hades!” Also means, wake up the children out of zombie states without falling into one yourself. Also, that the oldest kid is hacking like a dying moose so probably needs allergy testing that will cost half a fortune and the other kid smiles with teeth out of place that will probably cost the other half of a fortune in braces and OMG THE JOY NEVER ENDS.
This is before I actually started my car, of course. We make it okay to the elementary school. I don’t see any of those cars with the flipping families on the back, which means I do not have to envision slicing their tires to ribbons while they take twenty minutes to wish their half dozen kids goodbye at the door, because they had to walk them to the door. That way they left their car blocking yours. But no, that didn’t happen, so score! One kid dropped off. Now all I have to do is get to the high school, which is now the junior high because they demoted my high school and drop off my newly minted junior high student. She looks thrilled. The humidity is awful, so she also has her little white girl afro goin’ on. I don’t tell her this.
We get to the high school and I have this brilliant idea. I will drop her off at the side of the school, so she won’t have to cross a street AND a parking lot full of equally pissed off parents (why can’t she drive already I mean GAWD isn’t 13 old enough nevermind then I’d worry about her driving let’s up the age to at least 21). So I’m like technically on the wrong side of the road, but it’s just a second to drop her off on the curb but FUCK here comes a line of cars. One after another after another after another and all of them giving me FUCK YOU looks because I’m on the wrong side of the road and I’m like I KNOW but you won’t let me out you bastards! I mean, let’s be reasonable here. Jeeez.
So I finally get out and decide to drive into the parking lot and poor Thing One is still hacking and her fro is expanding and I feel so bad for her so I’m hugging her and she’s like whatevs cause mostly she’s just so tired because school and I finally let her go and realize there is a car behind me going wtf lady quit blocking my way and GO what is wrong with you? Heh, uh, sorry. So I drive out of the parking lot and into the sun. Not literally into it, but it feels like it cause I am now driving blind. Yay! Fuck you, sun.
I am not paying much attention because Sun and Pissed and I end up where? The elementary school where I just dropped off Thing Two which is now packed with insane parents. FUCK I’m an idiot. So I wait again through traffic and take multiple turns in order to find a light cause no way am I taking my chances getting across and did I mention I live in a supposedly small town? But there is a university, where I am now trying to go sense I’m supposed to work there, and there are people trying to get out of this town in both directions to go work at other towns that are more exciting. So I am stuck in the middle. Every morning.
Oh, yeah, and I mentioned this in a post way back in whenever that our parking situation sucks because they decided to make it “open parking” which is like “open season” only with cars instead of guns, although this is Texas so I’m not ruling that out. And so I drive around and around looking for a spot. Fun times I tell you. Fuuuuuuck. I am so tempted to park in the reserved parking of the uppity ups. If only I knew I was getting laid off that day. Oh, well, I find a spot a mile away and trudge off to work where I get there right on the dot. I woke up at 6 AM and it is now 8 AM and work hasn’t started and I want to murder someone.
Just another typical day. Good morning, Alice!
I am fortunate in that I now live only five minutes away from my workplace. Unfortunately, it takes me roughly thirty minutes to get there every morning. Why? Because I have children, people, and these children go to school, and these schools are on opposite sides of town for maximum convenience.
Now I’m grateful for school, mostly. I mean you get people to take your kids everyday for free and occasionally they even learn something. But getting them there really sucks. I live in a moderately sized town. Not so tiny that the only social outlet is a Dairy Queen, but too small to have anything open past 11 pm. When I was growing up, there were three schools: an elementary school, a junior high, and a high school.
Since then there has been a yard ape population explosion and now there are multiple elementary schools, an intermediate school, a junior high, and a high school. Intermediate and junior high (they totally demoted my high school, the jerks) only house two grades a piece but there are still roughly a million kids going to both schools. This is better than the elementary school that houses like eleventy-billion.
And all of these children have parents and all of these parents have cars. Most of them have SUVs, actually, with those charming little stickers on the back with the stick figure children. I freaking hate those stickers. Seriously, people, the reason there is so much traffic every morning is because you decided to have like eight children, all of whom have names that aren’t names and start with B – Barracks, Britain, Breyers, Bayer Aspirin, Bayleaf, Boo-boo, Bridge, and Beyonce. Also a dog: Barfy. (Please see Tracy’s post on these stickers that will make you laugh your butt off.)
These people always pull in front of me and then stop, blocking traffic, and forcing me to block traffic, while they tearfully give lengthy goodbyes longer than the Gettysburg address to every single little brat (and yeah, all of them somehow go to the same elementary school, which shouldn’t even be possible biologically).
I reach this elementary school first, just a couple of blocks from my house. At one time I could drop both children off there, but then Thing One had to get older and go to a charm school for adolescents. Now I have to plan this strategically. If I get there too late, I am never getting out of the parking lot before 8 A.M. when technically they expect me to be at work. So I try to get there at 7:30, because the earliest you can drop your children off is 7:30 without them calling the cops.
This is rife with problems since Thing Two has the memory of a gerbil and never, ever, ever puts any of her stuff (like coat, shoes, backpack, etc) away. I do not know where she gets that from, seriously. Also, she must always have a stuffed animal with her because it’s like her familiar or something, and it’s always a different animal so no fairsies trying to keep one where you can find it.
Once I’ve deposited her, I get to go to the other side of town through early morning traffic. Now they force people to drive 20 mph and not use their cell phones (this is, like, followed so religiously) in school zones so that they don’t run over any precious children. That’s great, but it also makes it damn near impossible to get anywhere going at that speed. Also, you must frequently sit at stop signs and watch as one car putts, putts, putts along just slowly enough that the car putting along from the opposite direction has enough time to prevent you from crossing. Or some jerk who is much more important drives up beside you and blocks your view as well. My children have learned so many new words on the way to school.
I finally make it to the opposite side of town to the intermediate school, whose parking lot is somehow even worse than the elementary school, by which I mean 18th circle of hell worse. I drop off Thing One, and wheeee, it is now time for me to go to work. At this point, if I’m lucky, we’re operating at 7:45. Now to go BACK across town to where I work, that also happens to be closer to the elementary school and my house.
Once I arrive, I am greeted by the awesome parking situation, by which I mean there is no parking except several blocks away from where I work. In case you missed that post (No Parking) I also pay for this privilege. Again, if I’m lucky, we’re now at 7:55 or so. Then I just have to hoof it to the library and ta-da, I am there! Well, I’m in the building, which flipping counts because I say so, and because I have to tromp across the library, up the stairs and across the second floor to get to my office.
Fortunately, I work till 5 PM so I am unable to pick my children up from school (SADFACED) although I do occasionally get calls at work wondering who IS going to pick up said children. Maybe they could ask SUV stick figure mom.
Okay, so it’s another pneumonia related post, but since it’s still hanging on me, it can hang on you too. That’s just the kind of mood I’m in, peoples. I am much better, but tend to get exhausted after walking, like, ten feet. Our parking situation is less than ideal, which you’d know if you’d read my post (No Parking). So, since I get so tired so easily my boss suggested I get temporary handicapped parking.
Here’s where it starts to get fun, guys. I asked the doctor for a note and took it to the university’s parking services, because I figured they controlled everything on their campus (they try to, at least). Well, not that. So I went back to the doctor and he filled out a form and I signed and some notary person signed and I took it to the DPS in town and paid five dollars and ta-da I had a fancy new placard to hang from my rearview mirror. It’s not exactly stylish. I’m thinking of fixing it up with some glitter and rhinestones so it can be all handicapped blingy.
Wheee, close parking! Finally something halfway decent was coming out of this lung crapola. Granted, I would have preferred breathing clearly to having a nice parking place, but I’ll take what I can get.
But it gets EVEN BETTER, guys. I have no problems the first day, but the second day using my handicap bling I’m walking toward the library’s back entrance (which is just a short distance away – Score!) when another employee (not of the library) who by the way is fugly and annoying says to me ever-so-helpfully, “You know they’ll catch you for parking there.”
WTF? I’d like to say I swung around and flipped him off or some other appropriate response but I never do that because I’m just too stunned that anyone would be such an asshole. I don’t know WHY this surprises me, since there are assholes everywhere, but somehow it always does. Instead I say, “I have a placard.” Meanwhile it’s blowing cold air out in the fucking parking lot and I’ve got my face buried in my jacket defending myself to Mr. Dickhead. He responds, “Is it yours? Because that’s what they’ll look for, if it belongs to you.” Or some other such shit. Oh, great. So now I mug handicapped people for their placards? WTF???
I say, “I have pneumonia,” somehow leaving off the “asshat” part and go inside. Meanwhile I’m still fuming. I mean, really? Where does he get off? So you’re not handicapped unless you’re in a wheelchair or on crutches or have an arm hanging by a tendon or something? Sorry, moron, but there are other disabilities, like, I dunno, LUNG DISEASE. It’s listed in the little form thingy that you fill out to get one of these awesome fucking placards. But you wouldn’t know that, would you? Because you’re a dickhead.
Another thing that really struck me was how he acted as if he was concerned for my welfare here. Like, oh dear, I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with the law, sweetie. The policemen get madfaced when you park where it’s illegal. Really? No shit, Sherlock. I’ve only been driving for 20 freaking years, so I kind of picked up on that already. It’s not like handicapped parking is unique to the university. And if I have the placard? I must have stolen it! So I’m an illegal parker and a thief! I have this image of myself knocking over some little old lady, grabbing her placard, laughing evilly, and dashing off into the night with my prize. What.the.fuck.
But here’s the most important part. Even if I WAS a thief and illegally parking, why would this be his business? I’ve seen him around some, sure, but we aren’t pals by any stretch of the imagination. If I’m stupid enough to park illegally and rob old ladies, would I really listen to reason from Fugly Ass here? Just – shut up. Shut the fuck up. You’re not trying to help me. You’re jealous because I have a good parking place and I don’t look sufficiently disabled to you. My dear, I’d love to give you just an ounce of this pneumonia so you can see how it feels. Also a kick in the nuts. It’s none of your business.
So shut up. The world would be a much better place if more people just SHUT THE HELL UP. End rant.
These days, there are few things that employees can count on, but most can at least count on there being a place to park their car. Not if you work at a university! The rules are totally upside down here. You see, first you have to pay for a permit to park. At your own workplace. And it gets better because even then, you don’t know if you’ll find a parking spot. As I overheard one student say, you’re not buying a parking permit, but a hunting license. Good luck out there.
Now I realize that we have it better in many ways than bigger universities. Some of those guys have to pay ten times as much for the privilege of getting their cars lost in a giant parking garage of doom. But parking is supposed to be part of the appeal of a small university. Sure we don’t have a lot of the stuff the big schools do, like fame, or money, or students. But by golly, there used to be a place to park our cars! Believe it or not, this was a perk. You know, like how some people get a company car? Like that, only lamer. Observe, from our actual college paper.
And if you think this is a silly thing to get irked about, I’ll have you know that this is a major concern. People get seriously ANGRY about parking. I know because I work in archives, and this has been going on since, I kid you not, the 1930s. At first they were just cheeky about the no parking signs, and took pictures of themselves posing around them. Again, not making this up. But then by the 1950s they really starting having problems. Students would park directly behind other students, which tended, I’m assuming, to cause some STUDENT RAGE. By the 1970s, when people were protesting stuff like the Vietnam War other places, we were protesting parking. Because no one can say we don’t know what’s important here. The letters to the editor in the college newspaper were much like slower precursors to internet message boards. They would, honest to goodness, go back and forth for WEEKS arguing about who had it worst: teachers, on-campus students, or commuters. That was some hot news here.
One time this student parked in faculty parking back in the 70s, so the professor parked directly behind him so he couldn’t get out. I thought that was awesome. They took a picture of it for the paper. Again, I am not making this stuff up. Later, in the 80s and 90s, students started parking at local businesses. The businesses weren’t especially happy about it, especially one business that I will not name but hint it starts with Wal and ends in Mart. Anyway, they tried all sorts of stuff to prevent student parking. They posted signs. Students ignored them. They posted people in the parking lot. Students tried to run them over. Finally, they stuck carts upside down in every parking place. I wonder which employee got that great job assignment. How do I know about this? Yeah, the campus paper took a picture of that too.
But we must not say that the school does not understand the concerns of its employees and students. They have been especially helpful in this regard by building new buildings over existing limited parking. And there is always, always construction that takes up even more parking. Also, they have steadily raised the price of a permit to park nowhere year by year. Talk about a morale booster!
Right now, students are returning to campus. Understandably, parents have no idea where to park on campus, so they’re parking everywhere. Even places that are not designated for parking, but instead for pesky things like leaving room for emergency vehicles. So until the students settle in and they start ticketing, we just deal with it. By claiming our territory like predatory bears. Once you get in a parking spot, you don’t move. Ever. I’d personally like to plant a flag and claim my spot in the name of Texas. Hey, they used to get away with that crap.
But I bet you’re still thinking we’re making a mountain out of a molehill, right? If only we could! We could put parking on it! Pave some of that paradise people, and put in a parking lot! And for your own safety, keep the heck out of my parking place!