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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Kvetching about parking

We’re two Jews and we like to complain. In our culture, we call it kvetching. You can kvetch about silly things, like cold Matzo ball soup. Or you can kvetch about serious things that should really change, like a total overhaul of the Proctor Dining Hall heating system. In this weekly column, we’re going to try to keep it light and complain about the little things that, if changed, could make Midd students’ lives just a bit easier. We’ll leave the big issues to the Editorial Board and kvetch about the small ones.

Our first item for complaint is Middlebury’s laughably frustrating and totally unnecessary parking ticket situation. With a $1.5 billion endowment, Middlebury has a lot of dough. Enough to bake a challah that would impress even the most discerning bubbe. But for some reason, it thinks that it needs a few thousand more from issuing parking permits to students and tickets to those who don’t obey the rules. These two fellas think that Middlebury should get rid of parking permits altogether. After all, not all students have the means to pay for permits, and Middlebury doesn’t need the measly shekels that permitting brings in. Now, it might be true that it’s important to issue permits. Otherwise, a bunch of out of staters might come and park on campus for some reason. So if they really need to exist (like Cats the movie), they should be free, so that a permit is included in the $80,000 price tag that Middlebury commands. If I spent $80,000 a year on anything else, I bet it would come with a parking spot. Laurie’s got a few of them at her mansion, and if this doesn’t change I might just start parking my car there. 

But the pain in our bumper doesn’t stop there. Imagine this. You’re walking up to your car after a long day in the classroom… Maybe you spent class looking out the window, or maybe you spent it wondering what it’s like to be loved. No matter how you spent class, you’re still heartbroken when you reach your car and see a little white slip of paper on your windshield. Maybe you parked in the wrong lot, or maybe you refused to get a parking permit because you were too awkward to ask your parents to buy a pass (they might say no anyways!) but too broke to do it yourself. That ticket is probably a whopping $50 dollars, oy vey! You might even be a mensch who paid for their parking ticket but still is getting ticketed because Middlebury doesn’t have nearly enough good spots on campus this semester. So begs the question, why ticket at all? What happens if Middlebury stops ticketing? Is Rosh Hashanah canceled? Does Larry David die? No. Nothing in our community would change at all. In fact, there would be a lot more students with more money in their pockets. More money they could spend supporting businesses in the Middlebury community.

These administrators, in their infinite wisdom, bring back a couple hundred extra students to campus and decide that the already limited parking is going to magically accommodate all the extra students. Parking on campus is a privilege they say; there’s enough spots in the CFA lot we’re told (as if that’s a viable option). Do you really expect a couple of washed-up old Jewish men in their last semester to schlep themselves and their groceries from the CFA to Atwater? What’s a schmuck to do… all that Manischewitz gets heavy you know. The gall of these meshugganahs is overwhelming, they must be insane if they think that ticketing students who can’t find a spot is a reasonable solution. They fight us with cowardice. They hit us with the ticket and don’t even stay around long enough to schmooze over a bagel with some nice lox. We think it’s time for the administration to be a mensch, give us a few extra spaces, and don’t stick us with the bill. Do you really want to plague us with the unnecessary schvitz that accompanies an ice cold walk from the CFA at 2 a.m. after a long night of dedicated study in the Davis Library? No? We thought so.

Nate Blumenthal ’21.5 and Liam Hahn ’21.5 are columnists for The Middlebury Campus.