This is all Toyota’s fault.
Every morning, staff, students, and faculty must all participate in the cutthroat, no-holds-barred, Battle-Royale-style smack down that is parking on campus. Getting there after 8:30 means you probably won’t find a space, and getting there after 9:00 means I Hope You Have Good Insurance Because Everyone’s Going to Screech Through the Garage at 20 MPH (Yes, Even Around the Corners) And I Hope to God You Have Good Peripheral Vision and Maybe Also Took a Shot of Whiskey Before This.
Typical unspoken parking etiquette states that, if it is during one of those Battle Royale times, and you find someone getting into their car, it is perfectly acceptable to stop dead in the middle of traffic, turn on your blinker, and wait until said person leaves. It is also acceptable (although considerably more awkward) to find someone walking through the garage, roll down your window, and ask them if they are walking to their car. If they say yes, you follow them to their spot, tailing them as closely as possible without actually running them over.
Of course, you could park in the Civic Center lot, but that would mean crossing a four lane death trap that is always carrying a river of university staff, students, and faculty members who are both pissed off about not being able to find a space in the garage and texting their friend Cheryl about it.
Imagine my surprise, then, when, at 9:15, I happened to spot some guy loading his backpack into his car in a space right next to the entrance to the garage. His passenger side door was hidden next to a large cement column, so other, less fortunate suckers drove right past him, never suspecting that they were adding an additional 3 minutes walking distance to their commute by simply not driving slower.
I whipped into the freshly-vacant space, put myself in park, and began to apply my makeup. For those who find this odd (probably men), this is a far more common occurrence than you might initially think. If we makeup aficionados take time to put our face on at home, we have to set aside extra time to do our makeup. If we put it on in the car after we’ve parked, we are forced to condense our makeup time into however long we have left until we have to get out of our car and walk to work. Sometimes it’s five minutes, sometimes it’s 30. Either way, we don’t have to wake up earlier.
Somewhere between applying my eyeshadow primer and my first few swipes of Mulberry ™ eyeshadow, some vacant-eyed, already-makeupped undergrad swung her giant, brand new, silver SUV into the garage. Her thoughts (as near as I can approximate them and/or call them “thoughts” at all), and the reactions of everyone surrounding her, are recorded here:
Girl: Hey! There’s a car with it’s lights on! It’s running, so it must be getting ready to pull out of that space. I can’t believe I found something this late in the morning! I knew I would be fine applying my makeup at home.
Me: Nope. *eyeshadow blend blend blend blend blend*
Girl: I think I’ll just turn on my turn signal and wait for her to leave.
Me: *blend blend blend blend blend*
Traffic begins to build up behind Girl. Because we are close to the entrance, several cars are still outside the garage.
Girl: Hmm, she’s not moving, and people are starting to line up behind me. *idea* She must not be leaving because I’m too close! I think I’ll back up a little, but still stay close enough that she knows I want the spot.
Girl backs up, initiating a chain of (now very irate and cursing) drivers to back up THEIR cars, lest they want to be rear-ended by the person in front of them.
Honking begins. The line of cars now stretches out to the road, with some cars still in the four lane death trap they will probably definitely have to cross later. It’s worse than changing your mind after being stuck in a drive through line, because at the end there’s no option for food.
Girl: She’s still not moving! *pulls forward far enough to lean over her steering wheel and peer inside my car* There’s definitely someone in there…I’ll just wait, it’s fine.
Girl: *becomes aware of traffic behind her for the first time* Oh! I should move so some of these people can get past me. I still want that spot, though, so I’ll just turn a bit…like…this…
Girl attempts to pull to the side of the lane, but, since she is in a giant ass SUV that she doesn’t know how to drive, she manages the spectacular feat of not only blocking me in (if I had wanted to leave), but arranging her car at just the right angle so as to block both lanes of traffic. Now, no one can get into or out of the garage.
The entrance has now become what I imagine New York at rush hour to be like: lots of cursing, people starting to get out of their cars, and long, persistent honking to compensate for their frustration.
Girl: *finally starting to look worried and confused* Oh, this isn’t working. Hmm, guess I’ll back up again and give her room to back out. This will all be fine after I get the space.
Poor girl tries the same tactics several times, for 5-10 minutes, with similar success each time. Eventually, regretfully, she leaves, leaning over her steering wheel and looking one last, confused time, into the cabin of my car.
Girl: *driving away* But there’s someone in there!