My Life in College: The perils of parking

Moral Mildred/Sun Star Columnist
October 2, 2012

The bane of my existence is parking at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Not only is it  almost impossible to accomplish without feeling homicidal, if you do manage to find a parking spot it’s probably somewhere between the Taku parking lot and Antarctica.

To add insult to injury, we all have to pay for parking decals that are as about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Us poor folk usually go for the normal parking sticker but we can’t forget about the super special gold decal. For the low price of your first born child, you can acquire the ability to park anywhere on campus. Nonetheless, you will still probably end up parking with the rest of us plebians, in a place far, far away.

Granted there are benefits to parking by the Lola Tilly Commons or by the Taku parking lot. Walking is really good for you and the exercise is probably a good way to start or end your day. However, I would argue: Alaska. I don’t know about anyone else, but I could care less about how great walking is for my health when it’s negative twenty degrees outside. A ten minute walk to my class suddenly becomes the equivalent of trekking through the Himalayas. I don’t want to have to do it.

Parking at UAF just breeds hate. Every time I slowly creep past all the cars parked at the Tilly, shivering miserably and wishing my car heater would stop impersonating an air conditioner, I become angry. I utterly despise every single person that managed to get a spot before me. And the car that still has five feet of snow on it from the storm three weeks ago? For you, my friend, I harbor a special kind of loathing. For not only are you parked in prime territory, you obviously haven’t moved. If you’re not going to operate your motorized vehicle, then don’t take the best parking spots. It makes me want to key your passenger doors.

If parking wasn’t already difficult, we have the added bonus of construction. Besides making the already painful speed limits on campus even slower, construction further limits parking availability. Thanks to construction, parking near your dorm-which already took near divine intervention to accomplish-is completely impossible. People are forced to relocate to new territory, until the orange cones and caution tape disappear forever. At the rate the construction is going, it might happen sometime after I graduate.

Don’t even get me started on meter parking. Every time I drive by a row of meters with cars happily parallel parked beside them, I find myself wondering why people have so many quarters? Where are you getting your quarters? Why don’t I ever have any quarters? Personally, I wish those things would run off of pennies. I am guaranteed to always have five million pennies in the bottom of my purse, making my bag the equivalent of a small child in weight. I don’t even know how they get there most of the time. Finding a quarter though is a rare and beautiful occurrence that always seems to occur when there is not a single meter free.

I guess the silver lining to all of this is that when I do manage to get an excellent parking spot somewhere on campus, my day becomes suddenly the best day ever. I don’t have to chance frostbite on my way to the Gruening Building. Nor do I have to ruin my mood by driving by all the drivers more lucky than I, daydreaming about systematically slashing all their tires.

But alas, like life, parking on the UAF campus is not always easy.

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