For 4 1/2 hours I've battled, all with perfectly reasonable and friendly people, strait-jacketed by a humongous and labyrinthine set of forms and online portals. HR, benefits, the ID shop (in an absolutely terrifying "shed" in a part of campus where I assume they bury the bodies of those who cannot survive the ordeal), and then finally the parking services kiosk.
The kiosk, a two person affair where one is made to stand in the sun while molasses-slow - yet smiling - attendants slide paperwork through a chute and then wait, chewing gum, while one tries to negotiate said form against the outer wall of the kiosk, stained and bumpy, with one, two, no, three different pens.
$180 to park. I can pay it. I have a salary; one is not complaining about the money.
But in the sun, and the 90% humidity, one leans in close when the chute opens briefly to feel the cool air - from where? - emanate.
A walk to a parking lot some distance to retrieve the car's tag number, which will change in a week when one finally gets to the state tag office, and then a return to a line. 2 people outside the kiosk now, smiling. One's torn piece of paper held aloft to the kiosk people. One has the number; one is ready to complete.
And meanwhile cars roll on either side of the kiosk while one - and 2 others - scurry and press bodies hard against the stained and bumpy wall to afford passage.
One's eyes blur. One's head beads. The sun now, just 60 feet off the surface of the earth. The occasional gasp of chilled chute air the only thing keeping us alive.
Tomorrow a different building, where one will meet with IT folks - indoors, one hopes.
In my car a gyro and warming tea in a sweaty cup. One can't see my car from here. One has already forgotten in which directions it waits. Seriously, one's brain is fried.
But it is my turn again, the chute opens, I press my head toward it. A hand reaches out, welcoming, welcome to the university. Here's what we promised you. Here is the end of this battle.
A red hang tag. It says "STUDENT" in gigantic black letters.