The dirt lot: Temple’s mecca for students uninterested in shelling out money for parking. Or, maybe I should capitalize it – the Dirt Lot. It deserves that.
It deserves the best I can give it, as it provides a safe haven for my car as long as I need to store it there.
Located behind the TECH Center, the Dirt Lot is a safe haven, however, only if you’re intelligent about it. There are some guidelines that must be followed for a successful venture into the land of free parking.
Stick to these and the Dirt Lot will be a comforting, enjoyable experience for all involved.
First, it’s OK to squeeze into a spot, provided it is, in fact, a spot. If you have to scrape between two cars and climb out your trunk, then it is not a spot. I have actually seen this done before, where a girl pulled her car into a spot, damaging the cars on both sides of her. She wriggled out the driver’s door and left, acting like nothing happened. In a just world, someone like that would have her driver’s license confiscated immediately. Unfortunately,
I still see her car around. I try to avoid it.
Next up, and somewhat related to the first rule, never, ever block a car in. I would have included this in the first rule, but at least those morons try to find a spot.
They’re helpless; people who block other cars in are hopeless. There’s a big difference.
Blocking in another car is completely inexcusable, and you and your car deserve whatever happens. And, for those of you not familiar with the no man’s land of the Dirt Lot, well, something always happens to those people.
I’ve seen cars drawn on with markers, lipstick and a melted chocolate bar. I’ve seen windows smashed, bumpers pulled, fenders dented. My personal favorite was when I caught a guy urinating in the gas tank of a car. The car was completely blocking an entire lane of cars from getting out, so I did nothing to stop him.
I’m still unsure if a car can run on a urine/gasoline mixture, but the car was gone eventually.
The rules above are the ones, when broken,
upset me the most. There are other rules that don’t affect me (ever) but should still be followed depending on your situation.
At the top of the Mike-Doesn’t-Really-Care-But-For-Your-Sake-He-Does list is the nice car rule. Nothing is funnier to me than when someone in a brand-new Lexus is incredulous over damages incurred in the Dirt Lot.
I’ve witnessed this personally, too, and it doesn’t make sense. If you drive a brand-new luxury auto, why not shell out $5 for peace of mind at another lot? That’s similar to John Madden forking out for an all-you-can-eat buffet and avoiding the good stuff, merely content with picking at the lettuce.
OK, kind of. You get it.
Also, semi-related are the kids (they’re always kids – I can’t refer to them as anything else) with their modified Hondas, the 4-cylinder clunkers with spray-paint flames on the hood and bondo-body kits.
Their cars have been dropped to about, oh, two inches off the ground, and these kids still attempt to navigate through the Dirt Lot. If your low rider doesn’t fall into a pothole, its inners will be gutted by the 2-foot jagged slabs of brick.
You’ve got better odds driving across a pond than you do avoiding bottoming out in the unkempt lot.
And all you kids still get upset. Well here’s an idea: don’t park in my Dirt Lot. Don’t sully it with your poorly souped-up junk.
And certainly don’t cry when your cute little fender flares get messed up. The Dirt Lot is for men, not boys (well, we’ll take women too – the Dirt Lot looooves the ladies).
Respect the rules of the Lot, my friends, and you will be rewarded with an enriching, free parking experience like no other.
Mike Gleeson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.