After school parking lot traffic

Shannon Freese

Here at RBHS we’re blessed with a vast parking lot with many spaces for both students and teachers. We have the choice between the north and the south lot, and even when you show up 20 minutes after the first bell has rung, there’s still a spot waiting for you way out by the baseball field.

Hopefully the walk will punish you enough to the point where you’ll regularly arrive to school on time. Besides, it’s always better than parking in sophomore alley. The parking tags, while being hideous, aren’t nearly as ugly as those from last year. And the best part about the parking lot is that it’s located right next to the best high school in Columbia.

Our curse, however, is the after school rush to get home as soon as humanly possible. If you’re not out of class and to your car before the traffic rush starts, there’s no way you’re going to get out of the lot until 3:20 p.m. Being in this traffic is by far the worst thing about the parking lot at RBHS. It’s not necessarily the waiting that’s the bad part; it’s all the stupid, awful stuff that comes with it.
For instance, let’s say you’ve successfully made it to your car, and now you’re ready to back out. Of course, backing out is one of the hardest things to do in the traffic rush. Before you back out, a car that spews a black cloud of exhaust has to rocket behind you and honk because that’s standard protocol for the RBHS parking lot. But you’re not finished backing out yet. You have to wait until after you’ve nearly been backed into (or nearly backed into someone) before you can wait in line. Stupid.
The next most vital step is the getting into line. If you’re lucky, a friend or acquaintance will let you into the line. After an energetic smile or wave, you can now wait in line to exit the lot. If you’re not so lucky, this can be one of the most frustrating parts of the entire lot process. Watching people avoid eye contact so they don’t have to let you into the line is one of the single most aggravating things in the world. The boy in the car in front of you can dig in his console, mess with his radio, look through his backpack, or text all he wants, but not let you into the line even though he notices you. The better of the two avoiders are the people who stare straight ahead. Instead of letting you down easy like the “I’m too distracted to notice you’re trying to get into the line” car boy, the girl in the other car stares straight at the car in front of her, as if your wait doesn’t exist in her brain at all. Awful.
Once you finally get in line, everything starts rolling. If you take a right out of the north lot, there’s more trouble coming your way. The parking lot manager has to let the buses out from the circle drive into the street, which you will never understand why. He halts all forms of traffic that aren’t oversized and Twinkie-yellow. Who cares if they wait? They get paid by the hour, so why does it matter to them how long they have to sit there? For that moment, you want to be more important than those buses. You’re impatient. You just want to go home and heat up leftover pasta and play Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3. They don’t have such pleasures to enjoy! After the buses have been cleared out, the parking lot manager will now let the lowly peasant cars continue with their business. Stupid.
After the Red Sea has been parted for the school buses, the problem is getting away from the building. If you’re leaving the south lot, there’s always that one idiot who decides to turn left onto South Hampton, even though the sign clearly says that no left turns are allowed. And after waiting an extra five or 10 minutes for someone to let them out, you realize how justified the rule is. Out of the north lot, turning left onto Providence Road seems just as dangerous as jumping onto a moving train. Plus, with the constant flow of 55-mile-per-hour traffic, one mistake could end up making traffic stop entirely for a car t-boned. Awful.
Traffic in the RBHS parking lot sucks. When you’re not angry or yelling, you’re sitting in your car flipping through radio stations looking for something that’s not a commercial. There’s a point in time where it’s not even worth it anymore, and sitting in journalism for 30 minutes after school and typing a blog post is infinitely more productive than waiting in traffic will ever be. So once you’re done at 3:35, you can be home in five minutes instead of 30.
Today, I hate the parking lot traffic.
By Shannon Freese