When I first contemplated bringing my car, Old Bessie, down to Washington for the semester, I was eating lunch with Jennifer Aniston at the summer estate in Lexington, Mass. (I had a red roasted partridge and a Tom Collins, while Jennifer went for the escargot with herb french fries and a scotch and soda).
“Jenny,” I said, “I want your opinion on this. I matriculate at one of the most expensive Universities in the country, The George Washington University. I really, really want to have a car down there, but, well, the parking rate is stunningly, almost offensively, expensive. What do you think?”
Jennifer winked coyly at me.
“I tell you what, Ben, I’ll give you the money. Just put it on my credit card.”
“You’d do that for me?” I gasped.
“When you’re in love, you do crazy things,” said Jennifer. “Besides, I make that much dough in about a second’s work. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I’m on a popular TV show about six twenty-somethings looking for love and fulfillment in New York City.”
The money taken care of, it was time to say goodbye to my parents and hit the road.
“Give ’em hell, son,” said my dad, who, though English, likes to use a Southern accent from time to time. “And watch out on the roads, ’cause I feel there’s gonna be some mighty showers from about the Merritt Parkway all the way, to, dang, the Delaware Bridge. My wooden leg’s never been wrong yet.”
My father does not have a wooden leg, but we both knew there was no need to push the issue. I jumped in my car, turned up my Pure Moods CD as loud as it could go, and got the hell out of there. After over ten hours on the road, I finally arrived in Washington to a hero’s welcome consisting of my friends helping me with my bags. I looked at my car.
“Tomorrow, Old Bessie, you’re going to have a proper parking spot,” I said. “Jennifer Aniston saw to that.”
My car wagged its tail.
The next morning, I made my way to the parking office and calmly stood in line for many minutes. I was thirsty, but the Sprite machine would not take dollar bills. I should have known, looking at that machine, the horrors that lay ahead.
“Hi, I’m here to register for semester parking,” I said when I finally reached an available desk. I whipped out Jennifer’s credit card. “We don’t take credit cards,” said the woman behind the counter, pointing to an invisible sign that explained the rule. I couldn’t believe my ears. “Furthermore, since you didn’t provide correct payment the first time around, every additional step you take in this office will cost you $3.” “But.” I sputtered,” as I instinctively stepped back.
“Three dollars, please,” said all the workers in the office in unison.
I didn’t need to hear another word; I skipped out of the office as fast as I could, incurring an additional $12 fee for taking four more steps. “I guess it’s true what all those complaining kids say about GW milking students for money,” I thought to myself.
“You don’t know the first thing about this University, you whippersnapper,” said a deep voice behind me. I turned around and faced none other than Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.
-The writer, a junior majoring
in history, is a Hatchet