Monday, December 1, 2008

The Ninth: A Milestone

I overcame one of those little fears today. You know, those tiny little phobias you manage to work around on a day to day basis without ever really dealing with it. Yeah, like shitting in a public bathroom, or calling your boyfriend by the wrong name to his face, or accidentally poisoning yourself by swallowing apple seeds... Mine has been (well, all of those, but mainly) parking at the overcrowded, hectic morass that is the Rio Grande ACC Campus.
It started on the first day of the fall semester. I had a class within its halls at Eleven AM. Even though I only new the general area of town the campus was in, had never been there during daylight hours, and had no idea of where to park, I decided winging it would be my best option. Just in case that happened to be a bad idea I planned to get there thirty minutes early to deal with any problems. The ride was good. I was hopeful and eager. I had brought one sharpened pencil and some old journal in case there were notes or anything - and I had the text book! I even had the book! All in all it was shaping up to be a pretty successful morning.
Then I turned onto twelfth street... Then Rio Grande, and before I could process what was happening there were college students all around me - all around me. My little red convertible was buffed by the asses of men with beards and women with Uggs as they squeezed off to classes in that huge building looming beside me. There were cars too. Those cars! Way too many of them to be aligned neatly along the streets, or in that one abysmally tiny parking lot with all the blue paint on it. I scrambled for an exit.
The top was down on the convertible, and I knew those casually cool veterans of the college system could smell my fear. They could see it on my face as I stepped on the gas, the breaks, the gas, the clutch, the breaks.... that's when I killed the car and nearly cried.
Back on to Martin Luther King Blv. and down the street to somewhere, anywhere with less people and more open slots for wayward vehicles. I didn't find it and didn't stop until I was 20 blocks away in a familiar spot by my mom's old bank. When she answered the phone I unloaded the story, started sobbing, apologizing etc. It was really hot that day too, mind you, so not only was my face covered with salty tears but the rest of my body was slowly drowning in salty, smelly, stick-to-your-clothes sweat. It was a pathetic sight I'm sure, and quickly turning into a not so successful first morning of college. So, anyway, I skipped that class that day and drove home as fast and shamefully as possible.
The thought of even being in a car at 12th and Rio Grande at that time in the morning stresses me out. Really, I've gotten panicky when Mike, or um Ron or whatever that guy's name has given me rides. I find myself asking, "Are you sure there'll be parking?" and "Uh, do you think I have time to just take the bus?" I'm not fucking behind the helm in those situations. Jeeze!

[Editor's Note: Ok enough is enough, I think we've squeezed the intro section for all it's worth tonight, time to move on to actual content.]

My mother wouldn't give me a ride, that was clear. The possibility of catching 9:50 AM bus had come and gone, that was also clear. Yet another clear point worth pointing out to my sleepy procrastinatin'ass self was that I really can't afford to miss another one of these algebra classes. It was go or else... How could I? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I could drive. It was a little after ten; If I left then I could be there by half past... Fuck. And as for parking? I'd soon find out. With a tip of my hat and a brief hunt for that cat food box that was probably maybe in the back of the van, but no not really cause it was in the kitchen, I was off.
The ride was good. Like before I was hopeful and eager. The cd in the player added just the right touch to my mood and the normally hellish traffic on Lamar was surprisingly light. Palms were dry, as was brow, throat was lumpless, eyes seemingly free of tears... But that was expected, the true test wouldn't come until twelfth street.
The parking lot around the back was full. I expected that also. There was a fist full of change in my pocket to prove it. On to fifteenth street, to more possible parking places. I couldn't turn on West, there were bad memories there; not on Rio Grande eather, that was asking for a heart attack. Nueces, I could deal with that. Bam! Right in front of me, an open meeter. Holy Shit. My eyes were stunned. I passed it up accidentally. Had to turn around, did it quickly. I just fucking knew that when I got back it'd be a fist fight with some other college bitch on her way to class. But no, that space was mine. I slid in with trepidation. The van is long, the length of a giant. The space was small, smart car small. I squeezed on in anyway and tried with all my might to look cool and not scared shitless as I fed the hungry little bastard charged with guarding my ride for a while. Almost 2 bucks and what did it buy me? Not enough time that's fucking what. No matter, I had to attend class, not stay the whole time. The break would be a welcome release. Skipping off to school the smile on my face was huge, almost bigger than the portion of law office driveway partially covered by my bulging bumper. A very successful morning, indeed.
When I cut out of Algebra an hour an some later the van was fine, not ticketed, nor towed (nor bashed in by that big ass truck that had been wedged impossibly between my van and another vehicle). The meeter man on patrol even gave me a friendly smile when he realized my inspection sticker was four months out of date and there was nothing he could do about it. Walking back I saw plenty of free spaces dotting the streets, any number of which I could have picked earlier if not for the fact that I couldn't see them because my head was up my ass. Eh, there's always next time, because I did it!!!! Woo!
Boys and Girls, if the world frightens you and sends shivers down your little spines while sweat pools under your arms, think but this: It is better to have lived and fucked up than to have never lived at all. ...and uh, theres a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained by sticking it to your fears. Maybe tomorrow I'll.... never mind. Goodnight!

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