By Kristopher Kennedy
Driving up to the Mountain this August to begin my freshman year of college, I was naturally anxious about the change in scenery. But these fears were quickly dispelled upon my arrival. The students were welcoming and down-to-Earth. The professors were brilliant and friendly. The stars were abundant, the food sufficient. All seemed good, fair, and decent in this little Mountaintop world.
And then the tickets came.
A $50 fine for…for what, exactly? I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was parked in the Kentucky Lot outside the Tennessee Williams Center. I was between the lines. What exactly had gone astray? Did the officer ticket the wrong car? Surely not. That’s when I checked the ticket, and my disillusionment with the law began.
Pull-through parking. It’s something everybody does. It is accepted societally en masse. And by society I mean sentient, warm-blooded, mammalian Homo sapiens with driver’s licenses, the legally certified operators of automobiles. I’m proud to be a member of this group.
My name is Kristopher Kennedy. I am a legally certified driver. And I am a proud pull-through parker. It’s convenient, and in its convenience simple, and in its simplicity; beautiful. Everybody does it and loves it, and those who don’t secretly wish they did, backing out of their spaces with envy in their hearts.
I love pull-through parking. It serves to make our human lives easier—and why wouldn’t we want that for ourselves? Easy parking, happy driver. Happy driver, safer roads. To punish drivers for their happiness by replacing it with 50 dollars of sorrow is bamboozling.
I was shocked at first, disgusted later. It seemed to me a hedonistic sort of pursuit, a rapacious hankering to wound student finances. So many Pub bucks lost—and at what cost?
Apparently, $50. Flummoxed and dismayed, I sought justice in this suddenly unjust world. I appealed the citation and I never heard back.
My faith in the good-will of man shaken, I felt lost. In what world could something like this happen? I had been raised in a society where people of good faith were encouraged to pull-through park—and now I was being punished? My passion had waned to apathy. Things no longer made sense.
I consulted the University Parking Policy. Why didn’t I read it earlier, thoroughly? Because I had made the unwise assumption that the University followed the parking procedures of normal people, designated spots for students in certain areas and so forth. But rule nine of the General Policy rendered my assumption folly: “Non-parallel-parked cars must be head-in so that members of the Sewanee Police Department can easily see license plates and University parking stickers.”
And then it was apparent. I understood it all, my foolishness dispelled. I was sacrificing my happiness, leisure, and convenience for a good cause: the happiness, leisure, and convenience of the police.
I respect the Sewanee Police Department. I respect nearly all of their rules. What I don’t like is punitive measures against drivers doing normal things. What I don’t like is stealing a driver’s moment of ease and joy for yourself. What I don’t like is the excessive nature of the punishment. I could use strong adjectives to describe it, but honestly, it just makes me sad. And bamboozled.
If pull-through parking is brought to Sewanee, I have no doubt it will be a safer and jollier community of drivers.