Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Course Overload #22: "Carmageddon"

I realized today that I tell a lot of lies. It’s not because I have anything to hide, or that I’m a pathological liar (although, if I were, I’d probably have just lied about it right now), it’s that no one would believe me if I told them the truth. For example, last week, I couldn’t make it to class on time because I was attacked by a tiger in my driveway and had to go to the hospital. If I ran into class, with my skin hanging off my body like shredded cloth and told the truth, I’m sure people would just assume that I shredded my own skin in order to get out of class. So I just walked in and said, “I overslept,” and me and my ribbons of oozing skin sat down and started taking notes like everyone else. It’s a lie like that that I have learned to call a “false,” because it’s not the truth, but it’s not fully a lie, either. I try not to tell lies and I also try not to even tell falses – but last Tuesday, like the day I was attacked by a tiger, I didn’t have much of a choice.

In my four years of going to college, never have I gotten a parking ticket. It probably has something to do with how dangerously sexy and outrageously wonderful I am, as well as my never having parked anywhere but in one of two designated spots. Anyway, this particular Tuesday I was nearly 57 seconds late getting out of my house, because I pulled out my binoculars and scanned the woods near my driveway, searching for any wayward tigers. I snuck out of my house and jumped in my car, speeding away seconds before Siegfried, the name I had given the tiger, could get me. He slid off my hood, leaving a foot-long tiger claw scratch in my paint.

The whole way to school, I worried about my parking spots. Some days, I had driven in to find that one of my spaces had been taken, but the other one was always open. But now I was late. It was too horrible for me to think, so I just said it out loud: “Maybe they’ll both be gone!” I exclaimed, waiving my arms frantically and receiving an odd look from the woman parked next to me at the stop light.

After calming down, I thought that I’d just park in the same area as the other two spots. If I couldn’t get the exact spot, then one right next to it would have to do. But pulling into the college, I quickly realized that I’d be lucky to get any spot at all. There were cars everywhere: some parked on the grass, some in handicap spots and few were trying to drive up the walls of Wonka Hall to park on top of it. Some students were paying a construction worker to crush their cars into little squares with his machine so they’d be easier to park, and other students were incinerating their cars in a bonfire-like event, simply so they could get to class. A few normal spots had lucky commuters in them, but the rest had been occupied by resident students who had been too lazy to walk to class, even though they live about 10 minutes away.

“Being 57 seconds late has cost me my spot!” I thought furiously.

But lo! Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone pulling out of a spot not far from my usual one. Throwing the car in reverse, I backed over a few street signs and guard rails and flew down the grassy hill towards the heavenly spot. Perhaps I’d make it to class today after all. I almost simultaneously stopped the car and jumped out, running the whole way.

After class, I thought everything was fine. After all, I had come to class on time, so what else could be amiss? Yet, walking up to my car, I heard sirens. While thinking that sirens are so romantic, I saw the source: a security car. There was security guard writing something on a small yellow pad. I knew he had just given me a parking ticket.

“Why did you give me a ticket?” I asked, puzzled.

The security guard barely looked up from his pad. “You’re parked in a faculty spot,” he said. He placed the yellow ticket on my windshield.

“But I’ve parked in the same area for four years,” I exclaimed in disbelief. “Since when is this a faculty parking spot?”

“I don’t know, but it is,” he replied, writing another ticket. He pulled it off and placed it on my forehead. “By the way, this is a No Exclaiming in Disbelief Zone.”

I couldn’t really see, because the ticket was hanging down over my eyes.

“But why do you guys hand out tickets if there are not enough parking spaces for us commuters? Don’t we pay enough in tuition to be entitled to that? I mean, why aren’t we given breaks if we occasionally park on the grass, or in a so-called faculty spot?”

He had already finished his third ticket by the time I was done speaking. He stashed it between my arm and my chest.

“This is a No Questioning Authority Zone, son.”

“But… but…!” he had already started writing another one.

Seven hours later, I stepped into the office of the head of security for traffic court. “What can I do for you today?” he asked cheerfully. I overturned my book bag on his desk, spilling out hundreds of yellow tickets. Staring at the pile, a single tear rolled down his cheek.

That night, I walked through my front door. My mother was at the refrigerator, getting a midnight snack. “How was school?” she asked.

I knew if I told the truth, she wouldn’t have believed me.

“It was fine,” I falsed, stalking off to my room.

“Did you get any parking tickets today?” she asked, although she had never asked me that before.

“Not a single one,” I falsed once more. Closing my door, I frowned. I had told two falses that day. Thank God they can’t give tickets – or tigers – for telling falses to your mom.

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