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!