Thursday, October 25, 2007

All's Fair in Love and Parking?

So last Monday I pulled my most cut-throat parking maneuver ever.

I feel the need to write about it here so the karma-counting gods know that I feel bad about it (sorta) and therefore will reduce the number of points I have to make up in order to not get a flat tire in the near future.

I had to meet Kelly early on campus where we're teaching a women's liberation class to help her carry stuff in. I couldn't find a legal parking spot so I parked in a restricted one thinking I'd help Kelly with the stuff and then come back and try my luck again.

Once I had walked to Kelly's car, I saw someone pulling out of a nearby spot. I sprang to action, without thinking of consequences or etiquette or the personal safety of myself, Kelly or my vehicle. To someone who doesn't have one, a parking spot is like asphalt gold. My primal instincts had taken over.

As soon as I saw the car edging out of the spot I grabbed Kelly and all the stuff we had in our arms, ran over to dump it down in the freshly empty spot and sprinted to get my car.

As soon as I started sprinting I noticed that two other people were waiting for the spot. People who were actually still driving their cars.

I admit I did have an unfair advantage. Instead of four cumbersome wheels I had four legs on my team that could get over and claim the spot faster than a two ton box of metal. But I had already committed to the plan, I'd already abandoned a pile of crap and my good friend Kelly as pawns in my seedy scheme.

Kelly did the dirty work really, I should probably buy her a drink or something. Parking on UF campus can get N-A-S-T-Y. I wouldn't be surprised if half the arrests in this town originated as some sort of parking altercation. Kelly bravely endured the nasty looks and "are you going to move?" from the two angry motorists.

When I pulled up in my car, Kelly kindly moved the stuff out of the way so I could roll into the spot (a problem I hadn't foreseen, that I wouldn't be able to park right over my pile of crap place markers).

I did get the spot though, and got to the class on time (Actually I very nearly ran, I was scared the folks in cars would run me over or come at me with spears and torches.)

So how wrong was I?

In my defense: I didn't initially see that there was anyone else in the parking lot who would want that space. One of the girls waiting for the space was parked in a handicapped spot so I couldn't have known she was camping out.* (see footnote) The other person waiting had just pulled into the parking lot after I dumped my shit in the space.

I pretty much know I was wrong but am trying to figure just HOW wrong I was so I know how many nice things I have to do this week to balance out my karma.

* UF Parking strategy terminology

The Camper: a strategy that I've used many times myself, wherein you "camp out" at the end of a row of cars and wait for someone to leave. I read many classics of literature while camping for a parking spot.

The Hitchhiker: A strategy where one positions his or her car at the entrance to the lot and offers people rides to their parked car.
The Parking Shark: Someone who cruises around the lot employing the "it's a dog eat dog world" philosophy of hunting for spaces.

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