I marvel at my blue tickets. Fluttering beneath the windshield wipers of my truck, they represent an ongoing comical example of a consistent proliferation of a tiny amount of an irrational system.

I’ve lost count, I’ve gotten maybe 25 of these over four months. I kind of want someone to stand up ant tell parking that they will atone.


For my four month stay at Thompson Rivers University, they have provided, at no cost to me, a superior living situation in a top floor (11th) suite of the student residence building. This system is far from irrational.

When I arrived in October, they gave me a parking pass that was marked to expire in December, and told me to park in the vast, parking lot next to the building. Over the first six weeks I got a few tickets, and just turned them in at the desk, they told me it would be taken care of.

One snowy December day, waiting for the truck to warm, I retrieved yet another ticket from the windshield. I was looking at it when one of the attendants who write the tickets walked by. I asked her why I was getting tickets when I had a pass.

She explained that the parking passes were good for only a day, so since mine said “expires December 17” it was only good for December 17. When I asked at the front desk, they sighed, and said that the Parking Department stopped allowing them to write multi day passes. They offered to write me out individual passes for the next two weeks. I felt bad as it seemed rather silly to have them sit there and hand write out 14 passes.

Then I felt a bit more irked as I trudged out on a daily basis to change my daily parking pass. After all, the suite level of this facility is run but the tourism program, and acts as a hotel for visiting guests. I cannot think of any hotel in the world that asks they’re guests to go outside every day to stick a different parking pass in the car.

I walked up the hill to the Parking Services department. They offered me an option to buy a semester pass for like $250, but since it was then end of the semester, the passes expired, so I had the option to pay $5 a day until I left in December and another $250 when I returned un January.

I considered this for a while as it did seem like less hassle. But the whole system seems flawed. And everyone knows it. So I made the staff write out tickets for me in advance (wasting their time). I walked out daily to put my ticket out (wasting my time, but maybe getting a tiny bit of exercise). And when I did get tickets, it would again waste staff time calling Parking and doing whatever they had to to clear the matter. Oh, and then the time wasted of the people who patrol the lot giving me the tickets.

Anyone who has worked on a university or college campus knows that the one force of power that no one can counter are the Parking People. There is no countering them. When I was a graduate student at Arizona State University, I got a ticket for parking in a lot, the biggest and most distant lot, the week after finals (I had no pass), and got a $25 ticket. I tried to protest by bringing them a box of 2500 pennies. They refused to accept it.

Before I left for the holidays in December I turned in a ticket to the guy who turns out to be the building manager. I apologized for making his staff have to deal with it. He apologized for me having to deal with it and said he was trying to work with parking Services to be able to provide guests with extended passes. He laughed and said he drinks with the director of that department.

When I returned in January, they wrote me a pass that expired at the end of the month, and again in February. It seemed like things had been taken care of because I maybe only got one.

But in the last two weeks, it has almost become a daily ritual

So I take in my handful of tickets to the front desk and apologize. They apologize.

You’d think someone in Parking Services could figure out it’s not worth the time to keep giving tickets to the red truck with Arizona plates since they keep coming back.

You’d think.

And it’s not like there is a shortage of parking. This is a huge lot on the edge of campus, far from buildings besides the residence hall, and at its maximum, it’s maybe 30% full.

Unlike my other gripes about airlines of Verizon or other services, this one just makes me wonder. It is so un-important, but as a system of obvious problems it just continues on and on.

For the most part, the only sane thing a person can do is shrug it off as something that cannot be changed. But there’s that thing Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over again.

One could say the same thing about me taking this much time to even write about something trivial. But what happens in the scope of things that maybe are less trivial than parking tickets, what does it say that we can shrug of irrational systems?

I won’t atone.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. When someone is mad enough to put up a parking department? This department very soon will have a very important director, and a staff, and the department will be very important. The people in the parking department will become very important people. There task is very important and you should not make fools of them. Do not mention the policy in police stations where putting an officer in the parking duties is a very severe punishment.

  2. Actually, a good story well told that makes me feel less alone in an increasingly irrational world!

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