Law School: Year 2, Day 1

I started class very auspiciously today. Not because of anything academic (ie being unprepared, showing up late, or missing any classes). No, I'm pretty sure I almost broke the Honor Code. Let me explain:
After battling the raging relief society sisters and cute retiree couples of Education Week--which stormed through BYU last week--I thought that today's parking outside the J. Reuben Clark would be much less....stressful. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Instead of "Seek Learning" the theme of the conference should have been "Seek Parking."
Imagine a flock of buzzards slowly circling around the same herd of slowly starving buffalo, only the buzzards are annoyed graduate students and the buffalo are inconveniently parked cars. And the circling is v e r y s l o w : about 5 mph. Now imagine that occasionally, and very slowly, one of the buffalo separates from the pack, leaving an opening for the scavengers. AH HAH!!! Vultures "caw" as rubber peals across the pavement, and the nearest one strikes with ruthless efficiency, sliding in between the lines, leaving the rest of the pack to fend for themselves. That's parking in Provo. Period, end of metaphor. In fact, it sounds a lot like parking at nearly every University.
However, in my short years, I have learned that there are certain, albeit few, guidelines to the Troubled Parking Paradox that allow the human race to continue and flourish. They are:
1. "It takes a village to park a car." This means that teamwork, common courtesy, manners, ethics, morales, etc. must be employed to allow everyone to park decently and with a minimum of headaches. This is the overarching rule that guides other parking rules.
2. "First Come, First Parked." While once, Ladies First may have been the rule of its day, Political Correctness and the Feminist Movement have relegated that to the back alley where the lost and forgotten guidelines hang out with the official Uno Rules. This rule also allows for broad interpretations, but the most common is the "I'm closer, so neener, neener" interpretation handed down by Soccer Moms in the mid-90s. Typically, this is where most of the parking guidelines infractions occur.
3. "Remember Who You Are and Where You Parked." This guideline, while often forgotten, appeals to that certain sense of nobility that has been forced down to the depths of our souls in far too many cases. It can often be utilized by former Eagle Scouts and do-gooders who graciously allow a female driver, a senior citizen, or an obviously frazzled driver to take their spot. This action is traditionally recognized by either the Courtesy Wave or the Mouthed "Thank You."
Apparently, no one who has grown up in or around Provo has subscribed to these guidelines. Ever. While trying to park this morning, I finally found a spot where a van was trying to ease its way out of the lines. Joy! How lucky I felt, then, that I was the only car then on the row, and quickly steered over to claim my spot. You see, these sort of things rarely happen to me. Usually I have to park a mile away in the residential zone, where it's really only 2 hour parking, and I suffer from ulcers worrying whether or not I'll get ticketed/booted/towed (you never know, because it's Provo City, we're talking about here), so really, at this moment I'm just excited to be parking close to the school for once, and if you didn't catch it before, I'm really, really happy about this. While waiting for the van driver to exit, I began tapping on the wheel, and singing along with the radio. Life was good, I was about to park, and everything was OK with the world.
As soon as the van pulls out, however, out of the clear Cougar Blue, a yellow mini-cooper swoops down from J. Reuben-knows-where and dives into my spot. No slow-down, no eye-contact, and no recognition of any form by the driver. My jaw drops. The van driver's jaw drops. We are stunned. We are both thinking Who does this?! This is a clear violation of the second guideline! I had unmistakably marked my territory and no one could question it. This type of flagrant offense simply doesn't happen....outside of Provo. Still, I was peeved. To top it all off, however, the driver was wearing a sweet power suit, carried a nice versacci bag, and had a "Mitt Romney in 2008" sticker pasted to the back of her rear window.

Now, don't get me wrong. Individually, these things are fine, if somewhat superficial and/or status oriented. However, when combined, they create the Parking Jerk. Someone more important, more pressed, and more MORE than you. She carried herself with that haughty air that just reeked of Wekan Sueem & Howe, LLP, or some other Death Star law firm, on campus to lead away our idealist law students to the Dark Side of the force.

With my jaw still hanging in disbelief, I considered honking, I briefly toyed with raising that ever-so-sweet middle digit to the sky, and I even momentarily imagined myself keying her car. But in the end, reason, and the ever-circling buzzard cars, swept me back up into the race, and eventually over to neighborhood parking. I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure that most of my thoughts from the parking lot to the neighborhood were against the Honor Code. But thought-crime, thankfully, hasn't been authorized yet.

Not yet, anyway.


Anne Bradshaw said...

Glad I found this blog today. Enjoyed the read and the photos.

Here comes an invitation to visit my blog--this week if possible--as my "Spotlight the Youth" contest ends Friday, and lots of votes are needed to make it work. So please spread the word.

Thanks so much.

madelyn said...

This blog never disappoints! Please write one every day.

Eric, Emilee, MaryElizabeth, Clara, and Andrew. said...

Eric...what would I do without your stories! Fabulous! The mini should have been destroyed!

Mel said...

Oh Eric I sympathize!! I am loving the more frequent posts. Woo hoo!