I think we can all relate to this situation: you buy a parking pass as early as possible, walk back to your car to proudly display the sticker and then cry as a bald eagle swoops down, snatches the poor pass and flies away. Not only have you just been robbed by the national bird of prey, but now you are down $75 and are vulnerable to TUPD’s state-of-the-art ticketing technology (a repurposed t-shirt cannon).

How could you have prevented this? I can’t help you on that point, as bald eagles’ preferred prey usually consists of salmon or waterfowl, not sticky red octagons. But I can tell you how to live a full and healthy parking life after your eagle encounter (for those who hold a grudge, read next week’s article “How to Rob a Raptor”).  After reading these tips, no more will you have to suffer the slings and arrows of fortune (or predatory birds); you will know the mystical secrets of parking without a pass. These tips are useful even if you have not been robbed by an eagle; if you have a friend visiting campus, if you totaled your car and are driving one of your parents other three or if you are just lazy and cheap, read on.

The first step in stealth parking is getting a little sentimental. Remember when Mom and Dad came to visit, or maybe when Gran and Gramps dropped by for dinner? Think hard: where did they park? I’ll save you the effort: they parked in parking spots marked “Visitor.” Unless you drive a lemon-yellow VW Bug, there is no way to tell if the person parked in a visitor spot is really visiting or not. Unfortunately, the bulk of these spots are concentrated in the Mabee parking lots, which are annoyingly far from dorms like Thomas, South and Prassel. But there are more visitor spots if you give the campus a second look.

The list of parking lots with 24/7 visitor parking spots are lots B, F, G, P, S, U and Z. These letters correspond to the lot near Laurie Auditorium, Coates Library, Halsell Center, Murchison, Mabee, the outdoor pool and the Alumni Relations and Development building respectively. The official list included lot A (by Northrup) and lot V, but lot A is only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and I could not find lot V on the campus map; I suspect either the list or map is more outdated than the other. In any case, each of these lots have at least a few visitor spots available for the snatching. Alamo Stadium, across Stadium Drive, is another option. As long as you peel out of their lot by 9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, you are in the clear.

There are other options for parking, of course; parking further off-campus is one reliable solution, as most neighborhoods have to allow de facto street parking. The problem is that the neighborhoods closest to Trinity have circumvented this and do not allow parking on either side of the street. By the time you get your car to a safe spot, you might as well have just parked in the Mabee lot, considering how long the walk is from the car to class.

If push comes to shove and you have to park in a non-visitor spot for more than a few hours, try to avoid the North/South/Thomas — it is a well-ticketed zone, which becomes pretty obvious if you ever have to park there.

Is all of this worth it? Why wouldn’t you just buy the parking pass and not have to worry about silly things like parking? Mere mortals like myself gave into the system and bought the pass, but some like to live on the edge, savoring the adrenaline rush that comes with the risk of a ticket. Also, you will survive the year without having to spend 75 greenbacks; why, that’s enough to buy 40 forties, purchase half of a Quantum Mechanics textbook or send three flocks of chicks to a family in need through the Heifer International charity!

In conclusion, I bought a parking pass, TUPD readers. Please don’t ticket me.