“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Jared said as he handed my Macbook to me. The webpage was open to my parking account on the university website.
“Uh… you paid all of my parking tickets off?! Thank you!!!” I jested.
“No, look at your permit status,” he replied.
The university parking system was an elaborate caste-like ordeal comprised of letter groups and their correlated parking privileges. The order was as follows: “A” (faculty parking, the Holy Grail of permits), “G” (graduate parking, only good for the Law Library), “C” (parking for students in the dorms, which makes no sense because they live on campus), “Y” (far-removed lots with insufficient spaces aka parking for the masses). There was a clear distinction between the “have’s” and “have not’s,” accompanied by gates and guards and patrol cars full of parking tickets on the prowl, just in case you forgot your place.
My “Y” student permit allowed me to leave my apartment 40 minutes before class (although I lived only 10 minutes away), meticulously comb through the inconvenient and sparse approved lots to no avail, stalk a lone student as they toyed with my emotions by walking to a space only to pick up their gym bag, and EVENTUALLY just park wherever there was a spot, regardless of required permit, and book it up Rape Hill before class begun. Yeah, you still had to exercise profusely even if you drove. With the deficit supplies (in the form of parking spaces) and the disgruntled, bundled up students circling the snow-covered stone pavement you would think we were in communist Russia.
The box in the corner of the screen displayed a covetous “A” where the “Y” should have been.
“What… the…. Whatttt….” I was having a heart attack.
“I know how much you hate parking, and exercising, so I transferred one of mine from work over to your account.”
“I think I’m in love with you,” I said, face deadpan. He beamed.
The rest of the day was spent driving into gated areas, laughing with glee as the sensors acknowledged my car as “faculty,” and shouting “Sucks to suck!” at students trekking towards Rape Hill from restricted roads. This was the life.
When we broke up Jared waited a month before he took my pass away. But there was no going back. I had tasted the fruit, I had sat in the lap of luxury and I simply could not readjust to the commonwealth.