The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

Commuter competition

Written by: Kara Hemphill

Picture this: You’ve just arrived on campus and are patrolling your favorite parking lot for a spot, as usual. As you round a corner, you spot someone unlocking their car. They sense the idling engine of another vehicle and turn to look at you.

Then something unexpected happens: They give you a friendly smile and point to their car questioningly. Relieved, you nod your head and give them a grateful thumbs-up. You stay out of their way as they back up and leave, and you get your coveted parking spot.

What just happened? You made a connection with a total stranger through the woes of parking on campus, and it wasn’t even that difficult.

Unfortunately, this type of situation is all too uncommon among commuters.  “The Akron Experience” has somehow come to include a fierce competition for parking spots.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked out to my car to retrieve  something on a break and had someone stop right behind me, eyeing my spot with a hungry gleam in their eye.

Cars line up behind each other in the closest lots, the one at the front refusing to forfeit a spot that might, maybe, possibly, be free soon — or maybe that  pedestrian was just going to throw their morning travel mug into the backseat.

During my freshman year, I always arrived early in order to avoid these types of situations.

Alas, such motivation can’t last long when you’re working late and trying to get all of your homework done at the same time — so I have begun to experience, quite frequently, the frankly terrifying world of Akron parking lots.

I think it’s human nature — or maybe just American-college-kid nature — to want to feel like you’ve gotten the best deal, or, in this case, the best spot. And I understand.

Our backpacks are heavy, our workloads great. The last thing we want is to have to walk a mile to get to class.

Still, most people also don’t want to be followed by a grump in a large metal machine as they stroll across the pavement. It’s just intimidating. I, for one, hate feeling like I’m about to be run over every time I step off the sidewalk.

I find that patrolling the parking lots for a good spot is more trouble than it’s worth, but hey, I don’t know your life. Maybe you’re weighed down with dozens of overpriced textbooks, or you broke your ankle while sprinting to class after you spent too much time circling around parking lots.

At any rate, if you must jump into the fray of parking spot-searching, I have a heartfelt plea for you: Please don’t hit a pedestrian, damage any cars, or scare some poor freshman into running into a pole as you scramble for their just-vacated spot.

Commuting doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Let’s be courteous to our fellow drivers, and maybe we can all avoid being tense and frustrated before we even speak to anyone or set foot in a classroom.

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