It’s back-to-school week. No soundtrack of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” running through my mind…instead I realized it meant the end to reading fiction, the return to Glebe Road traffic (for those of you not accustomed to driving around Arlington, trust me on this one), and lots of quarters sunk into vending machines in search of the last Diet Coke left on campus.
There’s the whole love of learning thing, too. Sure. (It’s more theory than reality when it’s 9:55 p.m. and the teacher’s still going.)
I’m lucky enough to go to a school where I qualify for in-state tuition, so my school bills are much smaller than they’d be if I went to a competing private school in the area. But maybe you’ve heard that states are in a wee bit of budget trouble of late?
Virginia’s not alone, and it has passed the buck (in part) to university students. I think my tuition has gone up 50 percent since I started, and in the last year, the school has started assessing “administrative fees” and jacked the price of parking passes.
(You might argue that I could have avoided some of those increases had I just finished school on time, like most of my classmates from 2007 did. You would be right.)
Anyway, that’s all the backdrop to a moral quandary I found myself in tonight. I pulled into the garage with every intention of going to the parking office to hand over my $135 for the semester parking pass. (That Glebe Rd. traffic I mentioned earlier? Unless you want to troll for parking for a half hour or more, you need a parking pass.)
Only….I’d say at least half of the cars in the garage didn’t have them. And I was left to wonder–what will happen to them? Could I save the $135?
Nope. I’m a giant chicken, and envisioned coming out one night at 10 p.m. to an empty spot where my towed-away car used to be (despite having never seen a single car resembling parking enforcement, never mind a tow truck). So I paid the $135 and ignored how much that works out to, per class.
I felt a little lame playing by the rules when obviously so many others weren’t. Good karma has to be worth something, right?