(Or, really, I suppose this is about the perils of being a moron, and the additionally idiotic things that can happen to said moron when she owns a car.)
I have to admit that I'm loving--really loving--having a car. With the exception of the road trip that Babe and I took last weekend to Magnificent Landmark, I haven't driven any further than 30 miles from home, and I'll often go three or four days without driving at all . . . but when I do drive, it sure is fun to have a zippy car in which I can turn my tunes way up and shout along without worrying about the neighbors. I also love my three-day-a-week commute: it's open countryside most of the way, with lots of sky, fields of wildflowers, and the odd body of water now and again. Having a car has also been helpful in hauling stuff to my office and bringing home the occasional antique, and I confess to being girlishly gratified when the undergrads on campus have given me the "ohhh, NICE!" response when they see my ride.
But, there are inconveniences. Since I refuse to arrive on campus at 8.30 a.m., I've given up trying to get a spot in one of the lots closest to my building; instead, I now head immediately to a lot that's a brisk seven minute walk away. This is a pain on the days that I teach until 9.30 p.m. (I usually move my car on those days, since the lot is on the periphery of campus and the walk there isn't very well lit), but otherwise it's no big deal.
It was a rainy, miserable day, and I parked in my usual lot, hustled to my office, threw back a cup of mediocre departmental coffee, and went to my first class. Twenty minutes into the period, there was a knock on the door. I looked over, and through the tiny window I could see the purple hair of the English department's bursary student.
A bit miffed at being interrupted, I went over and opened the door. She motioned me outside until the door closed behind me. "Parking Services called," she said. "You're parked illegally in a reserved spot. They're going to tow you if you don't move immediately."
I had no idea what she was talking about--a reserved spot? I'd never seen a reserved spot in that lot! And it was the middle of the class period! But that whole "towing immediately" part got my attention, so I quickly made up an assignment for my students to occupy the next 15 minutes, told them it was "an emergency," grabbed my bag, and ran out of the building and into the rain at top speed.
And sure enough: there are 65-70 spots in that lot. Exactly one of them is reserved. And I'd parked in it.*
*In my defense: from the road approaching the lot, and then from the lot entrance, the angle is such that the spot itself is visible but not the reserved sign in front of it. I have no explanation for how I missed seeing the sign through my windshield once I was actually in the spot, however.