The universe just toyed with me for its own cruel amusement. Every year around the time of graduation, it occurs to me that, although the undergrads are gone, we won’t have free rein of the parking lot for long. This is because the university that I attend leases out the parking lot to a variety of businesses over the summer, and cordons off an area for them. Invariably, they get the area closest to the building in which I work, meaning I have to trek from further a field to get to work, grumbling all the way. I’m not what anyone would term a “morning person” so my sense of injustice usually evaporates by the time I get through my first cup of coffee. The parking lots are, after all, property of the university. When there are about ten spaces per car, owing to the undergrads’ absence, this is a no-brainer as sources of income go. If I owned land off which I could make money, I would do so in a heartbeat. Hooray for the free market! However, part of my gripe is the nature of the businesses that come to “my” parking lot. For instance, as a person who is concerned about the environment, I somewhat resent the fleets of pick-up trucks and other such gas-guzzlers being transported to the campus by a local car dealership.
However, if I could wave the proverbial magic wand and make just one group rid themselves from our parking lot, I can’t honestly say that I would be doing Mother Nature any favours. Nope. Priority would be given to the baton-twirlers that darken our asphalt every June for what is called “Twirl-O-Rama”, “Twirl-Mania” or something equally inane. Every year, armadas of SUV’s arrive coated in neon-coloured paint spelling out supposedly fun phrases like “Honk if you love twirling”, “Good Luck Britney/Summer/Tiffany”, or “[noun]-ettes #1”. Judging by the variety of states’ license plates on these cars, we can assume that these people have driven little “Britney” down miles and miles of freeway, where I cannot believe it is safe to obstruct one’s vision with opaque paint, encouraging the cars around you to sound their horns at random.
Out of these vehicles teem swarms of prepubescent girls toting more make-up than Tammy Faye-Bakker, and less clothing than a mid-routine exotic dancer, and off they go until they find a place on the sidewalk leading to the building where I work, where they spread out and start practicing, making sure not to get out of the way of anyone who is trying to pass. Adding to this tardy-inducing spectacle are the twirler moms, who put the stereotypical pageant mom to shame. Nothing starts your morning, or indeed your faith in humanity, quite like watching and overweight 40-year-old scream vituperatively at a 6-year-old for dropping a stick. After all, baton twirling is advanced fidgeting at best. This is a sport where we are expected to praise children for mastering the skill set of a golden retriever. After I successfully traverse the gauntlet of glittery projectiles, I have an eight to ten hour respite at work, until it is time to go and find my little needle-coloured car in the haystack of SUV’s. This usually goes on for about a week, though as teams are knocked out of the competition, the numbers dwindle.
This year, however, there is a lot of construction going on around the campus, especially near the parking lot in question. I was conducting my annual “googling” of the dates for this event, so as to prepare myself psychologically for the junket of the tossers, only to find a variety of online forums speculating that it may be held somewhere else this year because of the construction. Hurrah! My last summer on campus won’t be marred by being hit in the face with errant batons or meeting people who are legally obliged to introduce themselves to me. There will be no assaults on my belief in the basic decency of people or the pure altruism of the maternal instinct. Good times.
Cut to this morning, where I am in my car and driving to work, when I passed an out-of-state suburban. I only got a fleeting glance at the car, but I was sure that it looked like maybe a bird had pooped on it… Pink poop? Neon pink poop that somehow fell in an organized pattern… like words. Something about honking? NOOOOOOOOO!! They’re here. Hair bigger than ever. Metric tonnes of make-up and inappropriate clothing as far as the eye can see. Dulcet tones of ghastly intramenopausal women berating their offspring for being failures. I can’t believe it. The “internets” lied to me!