By Ben Goldberger —

In the spirit of our Halloween issue, opinion editor Ben Goldberger recounts U of L students’ worst waking nightmare.

The rising sun illuminates my room, seeping in through the splits in my shades. The red block numbers display 7:40 as I sit up in my bed, frantically realizing that I have slept through my alarm. The birds outside my window mock me as I rush around my room, grabbing loose books and supplies as fast as humanly possible. I put on a fresh shirt, gym shorts and a random ball cap as I stumble out of the door and throw my things in my car. My tires squeal as I press down on the gas pedal, peeling out of the parking lot at 30 mph. I hear the eerie music that plays in the background of horror movies, making me clench my teeth and grip the steering wheel so hard my skeleton is practically bursting through my skin.

This year, I decide against buying a parking pass, instead parking at different off campus locations.

This is a popular decision among students because of how expensive parking passes are. The lowest price is $100 dollars, getting you a parking spot at the football stadium, where you can then walk thirty minutes back to the middle of campus or wait for a shuttle that comes every 5-10 minutes. Parking passes for the resident lot, which is literally on the edge of campus, is $200 dollars. This lot also fills up extremely quickly, resulting in students having to park at the back of the parking lot and having to add another 10 minutes onto their walk to their classes.

On top of the tens of thousands of dollars students have to pay for tuition, these outrageous costs just add to the horrifying student debt, restricting their future more and more every day. 

I speed onto campus with three minutes before class starts, only to find there are no spots close enough for me to make it in time. The squirrels seem to laugh at my misfortune as they chase each other around campus. I can already feel the piercing stare my professor would give me when I walked in, hear the noise of my grade dropping a whole letter grade because of my tardiness and sense the dip in my GPA because of this one horrifyingly terrible morning. 

With the suspenseful horror movie soundtrack amplifying, I decide to take just use the pay-to-park lot. The parking lot was practically full, minus a few spots here and there. Electric scooters that students have left laying around or by cars seemingly parked by 3-year-olds block most of the empty spots. I finally find an unbothered spot and throw the car in park. Grip marks are engrained into the steering wheel as I release the wheel and jump out of my car, grabbing my bag while sprinting towards class. 

The sharp screeches and unnerving minor chords in my head reach their highest intensity as I open the door to my classroom and stumble into my seat. Along with the confused stares from my peers, my professor burns through me with a piercing glare. After class, I walk back to my car as quickly as possible, brainstorming where to move my car to for the rest of the day. The music has one last emphatic note as I see a neon slip of paper menacingly placed under my windshield wipers, requiring me to pay even more money to the university.

I have had plenty of stress dreams way more horrifying and scarring than this one, yet none are as scary. All of those other dreams are made up fantasies in my brain. What makes this dream so frightening is that it is not a dream at all, but an everyday reality for the students of the University of Louisville. 

There’s no waking up from the nightmare of campus parking.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal