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La Botomy: Free parking and the five stages of grief

A+deactivated+parking+kiosk+longs+for+the+return+of+its+former+glory.
Joshua Hascall
A deactivated parking kiosk longs for the return of its former glory.

 

Welcome to La Botomy — La Voz’s satire publication whose name was voted on in the De Anza Discord server.

Disclaimer: In case it isn’t obvious, this is satire. We made this up.

We invite you to read this piece with an open(ed) mind.

 

The parking lot is the welcome center of any higher educational institution. It is the port of entry into an adventure, a journey and the first steps into a new era in many people’s lives.

Some might even go so far as to say it is the landing pad for many children leaving the nest for the first time, on their way to becoming adults, much like baby birds.

This is why I found the current situation here in the De Anza parking lot to be such a shame; it started an entire personal journey within myself. I suspect this may have happened with many students here as well.

As a person who returned to college many months ago, I found myself pulling into the parking lot in utter disbelief at the complete mismanagement of the college. In contrast to my previous experience at De Anza, I found a parking space almost instantly. I knew something was amiss when my parking space was front and center, while there were many other spaces available.

With my credit card in hand, I approached one of the many lovely, solar-powered kiosks to generously offer a financial tribute to De Anza for allowing my vehicle to occupy their pavement.

That was the moment I was confronted with the ugly reality of the current parking situation.

The sign that was adhered with duct tape to the kiosk read, “FREE PARKING FOR THE QUARTER;” I instantly experienced what could be best described as denial. “This cannot be right,” I said to myself. With the spirit of someone who has paid many parking tickets, I took the responsibility to look for another kiosk. This kiosk had the same sign. Unbelievable.

During a disgracefully short walk to my class, I experienced another emotion: anger. Questions began racing through my mind. How could this be? Who is to blame? Why is this happening? I felt sick to my stomach, and I hadn’t even had any of the cafeteria pizza yet. I was furious.

A montage ensued of happy memories of the massive amount of money I had invested into De Anza’s parking program in the past through parking permits, tickets, and day-use fees. The happy recollections of the multiple times I rented a 100-square-foot area in the parking lot for flea market days so I could sell junk to hoarders ended the montage.

Had I really been gone for that long? What if this is a better way forward? If I just paid regardless of policy, I could solve this problem on a personal level. I would figure out a way to force my money into the inactive kiosk. It was society that was wrong, as I am rarely, ever wrong. I would lead others back to an ideal situation, like so many civil rights leaders.

Maybe there was someone I could appeal to, possibly the Chief of Police. I could make a strong case about the revenue they were missing out on, the amount of employment lost by not having people write tickets, and the unfortunate parking enforcement vehicles having to sit dormant.

I thought of the educators I might appeal to. They would understand the virtues and the important lessons young students will be missing out on when dealing with bureaucracy, before dealing with more bureaucracy, and quite possibly a bit more bureaucracy.

A lot of feelings had transpired since that moment at the kiosk, and the only thing I can feel now is sadness. Following that terrible day, depression had overcome every moment of my campus life. Was it even worth going to school anymore? Had I made the wrong decision? Is this hopelessness?

Probably.

The happy ending began and life slowly, yet steadily, became bearable again. I was able to accept that De Anza owns that valuable real estate, and they have the autonomy to do what they wish with it.

I know that developers would pay a pretty penny for even a tiny sliver of that land, and the city would make the GDP of a small country just on property tax and permit fees alone. Another economic lesson here was that scarcity really does create demand, and by having an abundance of free parking for students, the demand actually seemed to go down.

Morally, it was OK that students could make it to class on time without having to work a half-hour later that day to pay off the tribute they made to De Anza’s benevolence.

I went through what psychologists call the five stages of acceptance and learned a valuable lesson throughout this entire process. The sign on the kiosk now states, “FREE PARKING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.” That is something I have come to accept as OK and even embrace. I can only hope that other students may come to terms with this new reality as well.

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About the Contributor
Joshua Hascall
Joshua Hascall, Copy Editor
I enjoy letting my fingers dance upon the keyboard until something fun and interesting come out! I hope to be able to write entertaining, humorous and often provocative editorials on a wide array of subjects.

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