One aspect of driving to campus that can deter some potential drivers is fighting for a parking space. Student drivers who venture into one of our concrete jungles are exposed to a world of tight turns and revved engines. Each driver is in a race against fellow Dukes, and more importantly, the clock. The following list includes just a few of the individuals one can expect to encounter while searching for a spot.
This type of driver can be seen sitting in their car, idling, giving you every indication that they are planning on leaving. It’s only after cars start to pile-up behind you that the ghoster will signal that they aren’t leaving anytime soon.
An encounter with the taxi is likely to occur as you are casually walking to your car. Within the first few steps of walking into a parking deck, you will hear, “Hey are you leaving?” This is the start of the unofficial taxi service. Rather than have to walk another 50 feet to reach your vehicle, the allure of a free ride will overtake you. The exchange is simple. One driver is ensured a parking spot, and the other is treated to a heated car ride. Both the driver and passenger bear an exchange of awkward pleasantries until the drive is over (usually under a minute or so). While the situation may seem like an anomaly at first, it is eventually regarded as the staple of any student-driver’s civility. Think of it as a holding doors gesture, only within a parking deck.
The Double Parker
While you may rarely see the actual person, the double parker is known for the gargantuan inconvenience they cause their fellow drivers. Racing to their exam ten minutes before class starts, these drivers disregard courtesy (and their wallets) in exchange for perfect attendance. Picture it now, you see the shimmer of light that is a vacant spot, only to drive close enough to realize that the double-parker has left you without an option. You shouldn’t worry however, for a fine from parking services along with a litany of angry napkin notes will remind your anonymous foe that double-parking does not go unpunished.
This is perhaps the most common type of parker you will find at JMU. The vulture is one of the only groups that will honor the actual speed limit of the parking deck. With bird-like vision they can spot a returning student from two speed bumps away. Without concern for a trailing a line of traffic, they will follow someone across the deck until the student decides to unlock their car door, signaling their location. The vulture’s approach is direct, and perhaps a bit off-putting, but rarely do they go without a spot.
The Six-Point Turner
This type of parker is all-too common. Their title speaks for itself. You can find them attempting to fit their mini-van into a spot that could barely fit a smart car. Instead of sticking it out like the other drivers who have yet to find a parking spot, the six-point turner does not hesitate. With a history of “close calls” and light fender-benders, this driver performs worse under pressure. Which, in this instance, is the honking of disgruntled drivers who were forced into spectating.
The Blinker Battle
No one should ever have the misfortune of being involved or even witnessing a blinker battle. Unlike any other type of parking deck profile, this situation requires several individuals who are equally as aggressive and entitled. In what can only be described as a modern Shakespearean tragedy, two drivers stake their claim on the same spot. With the flick of a turn signal, these millennial warriors prepare for battle, ready to fight their way to the throne. For these angsty parkers, the “battle” feels like a lifetime. For those around them, the situation is just another unneeded stressor on the way to class.
Parking does not have to be challenging. Leaving at the right time, opting out of driving on busy days, or using the JMU parking app to scout for empty spaces are all viable options. On any given day, you may encounter one of these people. From time-to-time, you may even fall into one of these categories yourself. If you commit to parking in a designated student parking space, just remember to be cautious before being crafty. Securing a parking space is never worth cutting someone off and getting into an argument. Parking karma is real, and you will benefit from being on the generous side when it comes to landing a spot.
Videos produced by Christina Ziu.