Traffic patrollers have souls after all

Christine Colleran

The world is littered with questionable orange things: carrot-flavored jello, for example, prison jumpsuits, yams, the entire cast of “Jersey Shore.” Yet none of those things prove quite as disturbing as the no-good, dirty, rotten, little orange envelopes that contain Grand Valley State University parking tickets.

And even worse, or so I thought, than these despicable envelopes themselves, were the fluorescent-coated GVSU students who had the nerve to take a job as traffic patrol and ticket their fellow students.

Upon acquiring a ticket, I usually do two things. First, I find the nearest neon-wearing traffic patroller and mean-mug them. We’re talking furrowed brow, look-what-you-did glare. Then I get into my car and go into an admittedly pathetic, but always heartfelt, rant regarding my feelings toward the traffic patrol.

It goes a little something like this:

Why? Aren’t you a student too? Don’t you know what it’s like to be running late? Or to have accidently used the dollar meant for the meter on a McChicken? Do… you… even… have… a… soul? Wh-y-y-y?

Since I ruled out blaming myself for the ticket mishaps (I am a busy student after all), I vowed to hate the traffic patrol forever. Then, two things happened: I ran out of money, and met a parking drone face-to-face, all within a three-week span.

Running out of money will always be easy enough so long as Jimmy Johns and Dairy Queen stay in business. Making money, however, is another matter entirely. I found a job 20 minutes from home, where they ignored my student-status and ultimately caused more scheduling conflicts than Tiger Woods had mistresses. Needless to say, I began to soften towards any on-campus positions, traffic patrol included.

Ultimately, meeting one of the patrollers in the flesh was what really changed my views. I was walking down the hallway with a girl from class when she dropped the bombshell. She was one of them, a member of the enemy troops. I was stunned, and immediately I prepared to hate her — but I couldn’t. She was too darn nice, and eventually I had to admit she might actually have a soul.

After considering the idea that I might be the soulless one here, I made the decision to drop my beef with the traffic patrol once and for all. Besides the fact that I knew my mean glares left them quaking in their neon coats, I realized that a job is a job, and that on-campus positions offer students a lot. We all feel the strains of a struggling economy, and we can’t blame people for taking jobs when they truly need them.

What this doesn’t mean, however, is that I will be jumping to take the next traffic patrol opening. I may have made peace with the patrol, but those little orange envelopes still make my eye twitch. Besides, anyone who has seen me in neon knows that it does nothing for my skin tone (think Marilyn Manson and Emma Stone’s love child), and be glad I’ll stay away.

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