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True Life: I have to park my car on campus

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 23:09

Quickly finding a spot to park on campus is a rare event. When it does happen and those extra 20 minutes before class can be spent as personal time rather than walking across a sun-drenched parking lot, the day is a good one.


But the parking culture is cutthroat, and even after scoring a decent parking spot, the drama doesn’t end.


Last week I snagged a spot, but it didn’t take long before my peaceful time before class was interrupted, as another student pulled up alongside my vehicle and motioned for me to roll down the window.


“Are you leaving?,” she said. “Because if you are, I’d like your spot.”


As I was only killing time before class, the young woman scowled, rolled up her window without a reply, and peeled away.


Unfortunately, when it comes to obtaining a parking spot at USF, students lose all sense of propriety, manners and basic human decency. It’s like being in a battlefield, with each parking space a target to aim at.


In the competition for parking spots, there exists among USF students a certain phenomenon: A driver sees an individual walking in a parking lot, then follows that person like a cheetah stalking its prey, hoping to be led to a spot. As a pedestrian, it’s a terrible feeling — lugging books, a backpack, lunch and electronics across the hot parking lot, only to feel the need to walk faster to escape being run over by a greedy parking-spot hunter.


Parking garages are no better. Though the temperature is cooler, there’s still the danger factor. Apparently the word “stop” does not apply in a USF parking garage. Cars dart in and out, barely missing collision at every turn with no regard for the right of way. Add to this the music blaring from car stereos, turned up at full volume, the sound echoing in the enclosed space.


Perhaps what’s most infuriating to a USF student vying for a parking spot, however, is the amount of spaces available to “GZ1.” I don’t know who this “GZ1” person is (I imagine some sort or monarch or deity), but he or she certainly isn’t using all his or her parking advantages. What about us little people just trying to get to class? Don’t we matter to Parking and Transportation Services? If you ask me, a lot of the competitive parking issues at USF could be solved if only those in power would relinquish some unused space to house the multitude of vehicles with nowhere to park.


For the price students must pay for parking permits, this culture of spot-stalking should not be necessary — but the rarity of convenient spots has created the phenomenon. I should never have to use my words to question my fellow students, “Are you leaving?”


Ashley Konrad is a senior majoring in English literature.

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