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Volume 68, Issue 4, Thursday, August 29, 2002

Opinion

Parking trials cause tardiness

Mason Lerner
Opinion Columnist

I am 30 minutes late to my first class of the Fall Semester: an Opinion Writing class, of all things.

I have been looking forward to this class ever since the moment I saw it in the course listings, but as soon as I enter for the first time I am
already behind.

In deep, interrupting shame I ask the professor for a copy of the syllabus already in the hands of my contemporaries.

Why am I so late for the first day of a class that I have been so preemptively ready to kick butt in for such a long time? Did I oversleep because I
stayed out too late enjoying one last summer vacation-bender?

No, I'm 26, and my best partying days are behind me. Besides I'd like to get my degree sometime before George P. Bush is a presidential
candidate.

Was I held up by the annoying, seemingly endless Houston construction blocking the Scott Street exit on 610 east? Yeah, that did hold me up a
little, but only for about two minutes.

I still managed to arrive at the student parking lot by 9:30. By anyone's logic that should give an eager student with a mind ripe for absorbing his
or her professor's wisdom enough time to walk to a 10 a.m. class, put an apple on the professor's desk and take a seat with pen and paper in
hand —at least that's what I thought before pulling into the student parking lot.

Perhaps I am naïve because this is my first semester back at the University in several years, but my first thought as my oh-so-easy-to-park
Honda Civic entered the parking lot was, "Uhmmm ... Am I trying to go to school or a Texans game?" The gridlock was unbelievable.

In the 45 minutes it took me to find a parking spot, I was flipped off by my fellow students more times than a Red Sox fan at Yankee Stadium.

I saw scenes that one would perhaps expect to see if they ordered a COPS UNCENSORED video at 3 a.m. but nothing that should be
happening on the campus of a major university.

I saw one particularly agitated student actually fly out of her vehicle and start pounding on the window of a newly parked pick-up truck.

It seems that the young lady was agitated because she felt she had seen the space first, thus in her mind at least, it was hers.

I could not hear the response from the terrified driver, but I am pretty sure she threatened to call the police. The last thing I heard the angry
student scream expressed her apathy towards whether the assaulted driver would call the police or not.

Several lifetimes, or minutes, later — I forget which — the sun had gotten to me.

After avoiding a few more near collisions with my fellow students turned parking lot enemies, someone actually had the nerve to knock on my
hood to get my attention.

I turned my head to the assailant with something close to murder in my eyes, and he said, "Dude, do you need a spot? I'm leaving."

I couldn't believe it. I was at a loss for words.

I simply gave him a thumbs up and chunked him the deuce as I pulled in to a spot exactly on the opposite side of campus from where I needed
to be.

As I trudged the sweaty, sticky distance to the first day of the rest of my college life, it took a few minutes for the road rage induced by the nearly
one-hour-long parking fiasco I had just endured amidst an angry mob of like-minded students to subside.

I formulated what I am sure my professor would have to concede is a very solid opinion of the parking situation at our fine campus.

It is both dangerous and unfair to have people that pay so much for their right to park playing bumper cars just to get to class — and not even on
time.

The parking situation must be improved, or there will be chaos everyday, possibly leading to a tragic accident.

Until then, if you see me in the parking lot, don't be too shy to tell me "Hello."

I'll be the guy with the drool hanging from the corner of his mouth because he fell asleep parking his car at 6 a.m. — just so he could be on time
to a 10 a.m. class.

Lerner, a senior communicationas
major, can be reached via dccampus@mail.uh.edu


Send comments to dccampus@mail.uh.edu

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