Today I realized that I had retained the most important skill for survival at the University of Arkansas – an aggressive parking lot stance. Years ago as a graduate student in English, I learned about how to get a parking space. Of course, this was in 1989-91, when one could find parking behind Kimpel Hall. The trick was, get on campus by 5:30 a.m. or so, and then you could find a parking spot that wasn’t too far down the hill to Kimpel. Barring that, one could always park in “the pit,” by the stadium, and either walk to Kimpel or ride a bus. And the last resort, park down past the Walton Arena, south of Barnhill, and ride the commuter bus in. But that would take time, so one avoided that. Plus, it was much cooler to develop parking lot survival skills (that come with bragging rights) and rack up scalps to tell your friends about. Like the time I had 15 minutes before class started and I cruised the lot like a vulture, waiting to pounce on a spot that comes open, and beat out four other cruisers for the spot. I have been bested, though; one time a motorcycle came around as I was pulling into the spot and got it away from me. But I usually prevail.
Today, the parking lots were all full and I was about to go over to the covered parking garage and pony up some bucks ($1.25 an hour); the vultures were circling, but they were all just kids. LOL. I have the gift of persistence and a mean streak. I saw a person come into the lot and go to his car on the other side from where I sat, and I backed up slowly, turned around, and stealthily moved up behind him as he started his car. I was pulling in as the vultures came around the corner. You snooze, you lose.
I parked in the Dickson lot across from the old campus, so I had a 10 minute fast walk to Old Main. It was bitterly cold today – around 15 degrees. Even with gloves on, my hands were freezing by the time I got to the front steps. At 5:15, 45 minutes early, I was on my way back to the car, walking catty-cornered across the main campus grid to the corner on Dickson and back up to the parking lot to the car. All in all, I have to say I’m satisfied with how things are going
I think I’m getting the hang of it. Nothing has been as hard as I thought it would be. The classes are not easy, of course, but they are not as difficult as I feared. I’m truly going to enjoy this.