I'm angry, really angry!
I got a parking ticket today and I am taking a stand. I am NOT going to pay it. Ever. What 'contracted, external parking provider' (ie not my employer, the university) is going to jail me for non-payment of $25?
Perhaps a better question is - why are universities charging for parking in the first place? The poor students are already paying HECS, books and other stuff that's on the increase year after year and it's not as though we are crammed in the CBD - we're out in the burbs here. As 'My Little Zombie Finger' (google her blog) has remarked to me, "If they insist on making a few bucks out of us all, why not at least do it via salary scale? Nothing for students, a tiny bit for PhDs and admin and heaps more for professors?" Why not indeed.
Instead, the uni has out-sourced the patrolling of the carparks to some external bunch of buzzards who I have yet to see in person. Perhaps they can shape-shift like the baddie in Terminator 2 or can not survive out in full sunlight for more than a minute. Whoever these little maggots are, they clearly have their beady, greedy little eyes fixed on each of the reserved 200 parking spaces and catapult themselves with glee over to the offending vehicle to sticky-tape a ticket onto their windscreen and then spring back into their coffins. What a fulfilling career choice that must be.
My boss, Queen B, has a permanent parking space that she pays for out of a salary sacrifice scheme every fortnight. Her spot is the pick of the bunch - right outside of our building. My compadres tend to try their luck and plonk their cars in the paid car park at the staggering sum of $1 per day. This can tend to be a bit more challenging when it's compulsory tutorial time and not swotvac.
I, on the other hand, have been proudly embracing my Scottish heritage and long-forgotten urge for extreme thrift, because - on the one or two days per week I drive instead of bike to work - I park about a kilometre away. It's the only free spot within 2km of the campus that's not paid or signed: 'Max 3 hours during university term days'. This secret little gem is tucked in behind the local Italian cafe and independent cinema, and my 'reward' for parking gratis is to find my 10 year old station wagon splattered with bird turds that could only have been dropped by freakishly large kookaburras.
Anyhow, this morning was different. I had stopped by our local shopping mecca, the Mart of 'K' to get some gear for work. Queen B is on leave this week and had said that any of us could use her park whilst she is away. Today was my turn, I decided, heartily sick of having to lug heavy stuff like stationery, glasses, boxes and kitchen gear one kilometre and then up two flights of stairs from my birdy poo poo car park. It saved me about quarter of an hour of having my fingers nearly cut off by plastic bag handles, oodles of sweat and my knuckles weren't dragging on the floor after being stretched too far. Good.
At lunchtime I hopped in the car with three work buddies, off to an even more important mecca - The Robern Menz Fruchoc Factory. It was my professional - nay, cultural duty to ensure that our visiting Japanese scholar had tried our local delicacy, the dried apricot and peach ball rolled in chocolate. The Fruchoc. Second only to Haigh's in the South Australians' chocolate-chomping hearts.
There the little bastard was - no, not the Japanese scholar - the parking ticket. How dare they? $25 for the 'offence' of 'parking without a valid permit displayed.' Surely my hand-written post it note saying 'MG-102 - Queen B' was acceptable? But no. Zombie Finger, Catherine-the-Great and Dr Nakazato just laughed. They had all been ticketed, tried to fight against the ruling and struck nothing but rudeness, hostility and threats. "They told me 'What Planet Do You Live On, Our Rules Are for Everyone'," Dr N said haltingly. To quote Jar Jar Binks, "How rude!"
Well, BRING IT ON. I've fought more officious little companies than you, oh 'Tenix Solutions Pty Ltd'. How dare you add the word 'solutions' to your name, when you specialise in greed, frustration, deprivation and despair. May your farts colour the air and follow you around (like a bad smell, heh heh) permanently!