There is something I look for everyday at UCR. It is not a quality education, for I supposedly found that the day I signed my Statement of Intent to Register. It is not respect, for I know that I am held in deep regard by all people I meet. It is not the credit I deserve, for I already have a Visa card ("It's everywhere you want to be in debt"). It is not the discipline to finish everything I start, for. . . oh, never mind that right now. It is something that nearly everybody looks for everyday at UCR.
A parking space.
I recently paid one hundred dollars for something called a Looking Permit. Maybe you have one of these. It basically says this: "Theoretically, there are several empty parking spaces at UCR marked by yellow lines, and you are hereby permitted to look for one of these spaces until you are able to find one or until June 30, 1996, whichever comes first."
Of course, the key words here are "yellow lines." Many parking lots at UCR are divided into two sections: one containing white-lined faculty spaces and one containing a yellow-lined student space. . . uh, spaces. Take Lot 13, for example. It's located on the eastern edge of the campus and stretches eastward into the desert. The two sections in this lot are:
1. California (the white spaces)
2. Arizona (the yellow spaces)
There are more white-lined spaces around campus (38,000) than there are faculty members in the entire UC system (17). What's worse, the number of these white spaces continues to grow despite the fact that no new parking lots are being constructed. This occurs through a bizarre phenomenon which maybe you have had the chance to witness also: yellow stripes turn white. I used to think that plain old sunlight was to blame for this; it does not seem too far-fetched that yellow lines will fade after years in the sun and become pale enough to appear white. But then I realized that these transformations were happeningly randomly and without warning. Now I think that, from time to time, some employees from Parking Services get together late at night, run down to the 24-hour Standard Brands, pick up a couple gallons of all-purpose white and some brushes, and have themselves a painting party. Often, the paint won't even have time to completely dry before morning. This explains the abnormally high percentage of faculty members running around UCR with white paint on the soles of their shoes (43%). The national university average is well below twenty percent.
Fortunately, there is always one parking lot I can go to when all others let me down. Lot 30. The original Dirty Thirty. Maybe you don't know where this is. Good. You just keep on circling Lot 1 or Lot 6 or wherever.
The glory of Lot 30 is that there are no color boundaries. I can park in any space I want. And it's never completely full, either. This is because most vehicles don't get good enough gas mileage to make it all the way out there. But, if you're one of the lucky ones who get to park in this lot and make the trek back to campus on foot, here is a helpful hint from me to you for whiling away those minutes of huffing and puffing your way back to UCR: pretend you're at Disneyland. It helps to make believe that when you are walking under Interstate 215, it's really the monorail. Also, you can pretend that your Chem class is actually "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" ("You must be at least as tall as the bottom of this sign to take the midterm"). The only major difference is that at Disneyland you can park anywhere from Section A ("Alice") to Section W ("Winnie the Pooh"), while in Lot 30 your only choice is Section U ("U Will Never Get to Class on Time").
Hopefully, Lot 30 will one day have tram service just like Disneyland's parking lot. (This, of course, depends on whether or not I ever actually see the great new shuttle system I've read about in "Highlander.") But instead of the announcer telling passengers to hold down their helium-filled Mickey balloons so that he and the driver can see each other at all times, he'll be telling faculty members to take their shoes off before boarding. Not that faculty members would ever need a ride out to Lot 30.