I begin my commute every morning counting parking tickets.
It starts when I walk out of my apartment building on UMD's campus, around the corner and down the hill to the parking garage. On the way, I pass two other apartment buildings like mine that sit on a small road crudely made for the garbage trucks to drive up to get to the dumpsters.
Off of this road sits UMD parking lot U7. It's a "faculty-only" lot but like most parking lots on campus, this one allows anyone to park there without a permit as long as it's not during the hours of 7 am-4 pm Monday-Friday.
I leave my apartment to take my walk every morning between 7:25 am and 7:35 am - depending on if I hit the snooze button or not - and without fail, every morning there are several cars flagged with small, yellow rectangular tickets neatly tucked into their wipers.
I'm almost certain that DOTS - Department of Transportation Systems aka EVIL - has stationed a parking official to sit in this lot starting at 6:45 a.m. to catch poor, unsuspecting people not abiding by their very important permit laws. I can see him (or her) sitting in the white DOTS truck with a cigarette in between his teeth, anxiously waiting, muttering "come on, come on," hoping that he gets to stick it to those meddling kids. I can imagine an egg timer on the dashboard set to 7:00 am and with the sound of it's "ding," the DOTS employee laughs, rubs his hands together and leaps out, electronic ticketer thing under his arm and a whistling tune blowing from his cracked lips.
I assume this because the cars parked in the parking lot next to the parking garage at the end of this small road has the same parking restrictions, but I never see a single ticket on those cars at 7:30ish am.
This morning was especially laughable for me because today not even a tow truck escaped the wrath of DOTS. I had to stop to make sure, but indeed, the enormous tow truck had a small yellow flag flapping in the wind on it's wiper. Way to show 'em, boys.
I know I seem cold-hearted because it appears that I delight in other people's misery, but it's more of a relief to know that I am not the only one who silently has the urge to punch in the face of the next DOTS employee she sees.And I'm certainly no parking saint. I've gotten five parking tickets on campus - all for unloading groceries out of my car, and two of those incidents where from my boyfriend barrowing my parking pass - so I let myself smile at their persistence if nothing else every morning.
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