Magazine

‘Ninja’ Parking Enforcement in Eastern Washington

By Eli McMalkin

I asked while she stared at me blankly, processing the six parking tickets I had received in the last two weeks, and replied, “I don’t think that they do ninja training.”
I was skeptical. After all, the parking services department here at Eastern Washington University – and its crack squad of elite parking-lot commandos – is, by far, the most effective department I have seen on this campus.
I have never seen a parking lot attendant. This is remarkable, especially considering some of the tickets I have gotten.
There have been a number of occasions when I have parked in a permit-only lot and then found a ticket on my windshield after being there for only three minutes. How do they do this? I have no idea.
All I know is that our parking services department is top-notch.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much when I say that, if the government sent parking lot attendants after Osama bin Laden, he would have been captured by now. In fact, they would have brought the entire al-Qaeda organization down by now.
I can imagine the terrorists in their caves plotting to blow up America, only to come out and find five or six parking tickets attached to each of their camels. “Oh, Allah, if only one day we will be able to buy explosives instead of paying for parking tickets!”
Despite the fact that the parking services department takes most of my money, which I write off as part of tuition, it always makes me feel good. I’m greeted with a friendly smile, and they process my bills incredibly quickly.
I want to thank the parking services department.
Without it, I would have become completely jaded by the system. It is a model of capitalism, a beacon of efficiency. It is the only department I can count on.
While everyone else leaves work early on Friday, the parking-lot commandos stay until their allotted time. While others take two-hour lunch breaks, they always are available. They are an unchanging rock of reliability in a world of system-overhauls, building upgrades and personnel replacements.
And while I am busy writing this article, I can count on the fact that they are outside, surgically inserting a weatherproof financial penalty underneath my windshield wipers.
And, of course, they will check the date of the ticket I got yesterday ... and placed on my windshield to make them think somebody already gave me a ticket for today.
That’s why I love them. They are the one thing on this campus that always works.
Eli McMalkin’s article first appeared in The Easterner, the student newspaper of Eastern Washington University, and was adapted for Parking Today.

Article Abstract from April, 2009




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