Friday, April 29, 2011

At least April's almost over...

It's been a bad month.  I'm not going to go into all the details, because that would just be depressing.  But I've been greatly looking forward to May.

With only two days left in the month, I felt pretty good when I woke up today.  My first thought when I opened my eyes and found my two dogs snuggled close beside me was, “It’s gonna be a good day.”

Big mistake.  Everyone knows the best way to piss off the gods is with cheery optimism and happy thoughts.  So my second thought was the blinding white light of utter panic.  What was wrong with me?  I’d ruined my day before it had even begun. I could almost feel the angry brows of unimaginable forces furrowing at my blatant and arrogant assumption that I’d have a ‘good day’ without their express written consent, and with two full days left in April!  What had I done?

The unhappiness began almost immediately.  I put my contact lenses in, only to nearly bite my tongue off at the mortal agony that shredded my left eye.  I don’t know what was in there, but I’m fairly sure it was some sort of microscopic razor wire tipped with box jellyfish venom, because I couldn’t even pry my eyelid open enough to remove the offending plastic for what felt like an hour.

I managed to get the lens out—clean as a whistle to my untrained and savaged eyeball—and fix whatever problem it had with me.  Then I fed the dogs, who decided to have an all-out brawl over a stray piece of kibble I’d thoughtlessly let fall to the floor.  After they nipped the ends of my fingers off for daring to interfere in a battle that was clearly none of my business, they tore off into the yard and worked themselves into a frenzy over the roofers hammering away at a neighbor’s house.

I tried to calm them down because my husband works nights, but they would have none of it.  I gave up efore I lost a toe and set off for work, only to get stuck in an unnecessary traffic snarl because the city of Denton doesn’t know how to properly organize a traffic pattern.  There were only eight cars in front of me but it took 15 minutes to travel the three blocks between the mall and I-35.  I was then almost hit by three different cars, got stuck behind a teenager driving 5 MPH to check out the girls walking to class, and spent 45 minutes looking for a parking spot.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the joys of staff parking at a university, so let me break it down for you.  I get to work a half an hour early every day to search for a parking spot.  Every.  Day.  And every day, I still end up 10-15 minutes late.  Well, almost every day.  There are rare and precious occasions (usually Saturdays) when Jesus smiles down on me as though to say, “You’ve suffered enough for one week,” and I find a good spot within the first twenty minutes.  And by ‘a good spot,’ I mean it’s only two blocks from my building, rather than eight.  A spot you'd laugh at, call names, and then dismiss if it were at Wal-Mart.

Most days, however, I have to drive around and around the one-way streets at the breakneck speed of 15 MPH--slamming on the brakes whenever some idiot student leaps out from behind a tree to play chicken with my car--until I find the last spot in the darkest corner of the farthest lot on campus.  Especially for the last 3 weeks, when construction on a new parking garage (which will cost extra $$$ to use, of course) has blocked some 75% of the staff parking spaces.  “Green Campus” my @$$.  I spend a half a tank of gas a week simply searching for somewhere to safely leave my car, where it won’t get ticketed, booted, towed, crushed, and melted.

What could be more fun than that, you ask?  Why, paying for the experience, of course!  That’s right.  I get to pay $250 a year (or $500 a year for a “Premier” or “A-Class” parking spot) to idle around campus for an hour a day and walk eight blocks to my job in the rain, snow, blistering heat, or whatever else Texas decides to throw at me along with its sadistic laughter.

The university should really take me out to dinner before they take their parking fees from my paycheck.  It just seems polite to wine & dine someone before you #%$@ them.


  1. TWU or UNT? I taught freshman comp at UNT while getting my MA there. Of course, it was still called NTSU back then (I think they changed the name the year after I graduated). I don't remember the parking being quite such a nightmare then, but I do remember officing in a windowless basement. The last time I drove through Denton was maybe 6 years ago, and I was appalled at all the road and retailing construction. It used to be such a pleasant little college town. Sigh.

  2. UNT. I really love my job, and the people here are fantastic. But I do not love the parking. As I understand it, they tore up a staff parking lot adjacent to my building the month before I started working put in a parking garage that will cost extra to use. Ah, well; if they ever finish it, other people will use it, and then that will open up other spots. Sigh, indeed.

  3. This entry makes me feel like I should stop whining about my neighborhood's parking situation. I generally have to spend 3-5 minutes looking for parking, then another 2 minutes walking back to my apartment. It gets trickier later in the evening, but really? I only really have to contend with up to five minutes a day of spot-hunting, save maybe one or two days a month. Which, really? Not so bad compared to your grim parking situation at work!


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