Main Entry: random
Function: adjective
1 a : lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern b : made, done, or chosen at random
2 a : relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence b : being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements

Random suggests working or acting without deliberation, intention, or purpose. I toss the word random about without much thought, so today, since the political writers are still off counting votes, I would muse on my favorite word.

Back in 1986, when I began working for The University, I was assigned a brown parking sticker. Yep. Before the hand hangtags, we had lovely, permanently affixed stickers. You could tell how long someone worked for The University by how many stickers were on the back windshielf. Of course, professors only had one or two. They could afford new cars, at least the engineering profs. The Fine Arts folks, I think they didn\’t have to worry about parking, their offices were in the steam tunnels.

But all over campus, there were streets marked for Random Staff parking. So if you wanted to park a couple of miles from your work location, you could do it. If you wanted to park next to your work location, well, you had to get up early. I worked in a dining hall, so if I wanted to park on the road behind the dining hall, I would have to get there before the morning crew, who started at 5:30 am. I wasn\’t scheduled until 11:30. Thankfully, the security guard liked me and saved me a spot near the dock every day.

Or my still-in-school roommates would drive my car and take me to work, then park near their classes, since there was plenty of random staff places near classroom buildings.

I think the decline of random staff parking was a big hint in the direction of the university. It was the consolidation of power by the newly minted Department of Parking and Transportaion. They weren\’t writing enough tickets with random staff parking so convenient and available. Changes came swiftly.

PTT was not associated with the KK, the Kampus Kops, (University Police) While removing the traffic and Parking duties improved the attitude and professionalism of the KK dramatically, they were also the victims of the PTT parking vultures. They (the KK) became one of \”us\”.

So, to improve control over our destinies, parking lots were now assigned. At higher prices. And parking permits were no longer guarantees that you could actually find a spot, it was only a \”hunting license.\” PTT became a \”player\” in the University world. They had the money and the power. And the ability to make one\’s life a nightmare, if you were someone who was calendarly-challenged.

Random : lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern. I could no longer be random staff. I had a degree in Math and was working in a dining hall supervising the counting of lime green jello. Until PTT, my career was random as well. But by forcing me to park with purpose, I had to actually get employed with purpose at some point.

But not anytime soon…