It’s 9:30 p.m. I walk out of my apartment, down the stairs and towards my car. I shivered as I stood in shock in the -4 degree weather. The bright orange sticker glared at me, almost laughing, and my eyes moved to the yellow and red bracket around my right back tire. I immediately thought these three words, “I hate Rexburg.”
Earlier that day, I went to find my car where it had been for the past two or three weeks. I was allowed to park it at the back parking lot of my internship office, and it had saved me from more city tickets. I thought the city parking permit would help, but with all the snow removal, I had to move it every night and it had grown so tedious. What was the point of the $50 permit?
My supervisor gave me permission to park at no cost at the institute, and I was thrilled because this would mean no more parking tickets. I didn’t really have that kind of money. About a day earlier, my supervisor told me they would be doing snow removal, and I had to move my car for a few hours. It wasn’t a problem, but when I tried to reverse, the car rocked back and forth in place. I was stuck.
The more I tried to move back or forward, the more the passenger’s side front tire sunk in the snow and the more difficult it became to get the car out. It was around 4 p.m., and the snow removal people would come around 5:30 p.m to plow through the snow. I called my supervisor, but he was unable to help, and I was stranded.
My friend and another fellow intern showed up. They helped push my car while I prayed the car would push through and out. No luck. The smell of gasoline was in the air from the forced engine trying to push my small grey Suzuki from the frozen hole.
We tried a few more things, a flat pizza box to give the tire more friction and some boiling water hoping to melt the snow and ice around the tire. Still no luck, and I was more desperate than earlier. My friend went out on the street to call another friend who might help us push the car out.
A few minutes later, my friend came back with a random man and his wife in a large beige truck. He helped push my grey hatchback to freedom. I took it back to my apartment complex for a bit while the snow removal people finished and didn’t have the opportunity to move it until after I came back from work and meetings. I was just happy my little car was free again, but as soon as I stepped out of my apartment, I saw that its freedom didn’t last long.
I was outraged. I walked up to read the orange sticker. $70 to get the boot off. I could buy two weeks of groceries with that. I could pay my car insurance for a month. I could put that towards my student loan debt. I frantically reached for my phone and contacted my manager who proceeded to tell me that booting happened 24/7.
I decided to call the booting company, which took about 30 minutes to arrive. I was furious, and when they arrived, I was ready to fight, but the guy was so nice that I really couldn’t be mean. He took my credit card and proceeded to remove the sticker and the very frozen boot. He had to take out a small torch to warm it up and yank it off the tire.
I went back inside and thought of my horrible luck. If I had placed my car in a public area, I would have avoided that fee, or if I had moved it earlier, I would have been luckier. I understand parking around here is a huge issue, but I wish the laws were a lot clearer.
On that note, I also realized that perhaps, as an out-of-state student, I need to learn the parking laws of Rexburg better. I felt embarrassed for overreacting to my complex manager about the booting because I didn’t know booting was 24/7, but I was also left wishing they made it a lot clearer because I am not a local.
Most students don’t think about all the parking restrictions in Rexburg from University parking to the Winter maintenance ordinance. They vary so much that I can’t fully blame the students or the city.
Yes, booting sucks. I am $70 poorer than I was earlier that day it happened, but I guess I couldn’t leave Rexburg after graduating without experiencing the moment you realize you wish you didn’t have a car. I gained the insight that I will become more aware of parking laws to avoid that incident again.
I don’t hate Rexburg. I love it, and it has become a huge part of my life. I will remember this place forever, even after I leave. I only wish that some of the laws were a bit more friendly to those students who come here to make this place a home for four years. I’m not saying we deserve to be exempt but at least given the benefit of the doubt. Some of us didn’t mean to park our car maliciously in the wrong spot.