The Newly Discovered Symptoms of PTS

Once last semester when I was living in the Harris-Millis complex I was sound asleep, recharging myself for another enlightening day in the classroom.

All of the sudden I was sitting up straight in my bed with my heart pounding, catching my breath and clinging to my window overlooking the main entrance.

Did I hear something go bump in the night? Was I reeling from a nightmare in which Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked me in the babymaker? Was this paranoia a side effect of smoking too much?

No, I was suffering from what I later learned is called PTS anxiety.

The affliction is so named because of the only known cause, the University of Vermont Parking and Transportation Services or PTS.

If you have a car on campus, you may want to perform a monthly self-check for PTS anxiety. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, panic attacks, increased blood pressure, allergic reactions to bright yellow envelopes, and hallucinations of the Grim Reaper.

How, you may ask, does a school service trigger such reactions in students? Hop on the Magic School Bus, kids, and let’s explore!

First of all, I will not hesitate to admit that some of stress during my aforementioned first year at UVM is because I had no parking permit.

Instead, I recruited my friend in the business school to help me construct a comprehensive risk-benefit analysis illustrating the possible advantages and dangers of having a car on campus.

Among the discouraging factors were the responsibility, gas money, people pestering me to drive it, and parking tickets numbering around, for instance, infinity.

My eyes glazed over, however, when I saw all of the reasons for taking my car up.

I realized I could go skiing when I wanted, redeem my empties at the grocery store, surround myself with false friends that want to borrow my car, go skiing, go to TJ Maxx on Route 7, and go skiing!

I was sold, and I took the first step into the pit of despair known as “being at the mercy of Parking and Transportation Services.”

To make a long story short, I regularly parked my car at the Sheraton, occasionally being brash enough to grace the Harris/Millis lot with my conspicuous red BMW.

What I forgot, unfortunately, is that this car sticks out like a hockey defenseman celebrating Arbor Day at Slade.

I received a $50 ticket approximately 25% of the times I parked there, which remember, is where I lived.

Honestly, PTS actually told me that attendants specifically look for my car when giving citations. Quickly, the tickets added up.

When a UVM student receives a parking ticket, it is automatically billed to the student’s account, the same one that reflects any holds. Registration day came and went, and I couldn’t register for classes.

I found my options to be a) sell my soul to the devil, or b) call my dad and beg for forgiveness.

This year, the first thing I did on campus when I arrived in the fall was buy a parking pass for $235.

For that amount of money I expect a 24-hour valet service run by shirtless Ralph Lauren models, or at least a guarantee that I have a spot in my dorm’s lot.

Unfortunately, neither expectation has come to fruition and I’m starting to wonder why I ever hoped that buying that blue sticker would let me breathe a little easier.

I still got tickets in my own lot! Granted, I was at a metered spot, but it was the only free one and I still maintain that I can park there because it’s a spot in the parking lot that I am paying for.

I will give credit where credit is due, and declare that the PTS department here is hands-down, without a doubt, the most efficiently run branch at the University. I strongly encourage all UVM staff to take their jobs as seriously as the transportation servicemen do.

Actually, I would not be surprised if every attendant I have encountered is in fact a machine controlled by the lovely receptionist who sits behind the desk in the PTS office.

Whenever my car was towed and I had to retrieve a release form, I was so grateful to be assisted by this kind, sympathetic and comforting woman who has never, ever, chastised me or glared at me with a look frightening enough to make me wish one of the white pickup trucks of doom would run me over and put me out of my misery.

Did I forget to mention that sarcasm is another symptom of PTS anxiety? So for those of you who have a car on campus, beware the health risks associated with Parking and Transportation Services.

I recommend deep breathing exercises, saying the Lord’s Prayer, and eating buffalo wings; that’s how I stay ahead of the game. And when I’m most discouraged, I remind myself that at least I can go skiing whenever I want!