First weeks are always crazy

I’m not working the “busiest” shift – which would be the day shift – for another week and a half, but even so, work this week has been insane, as I knew it would be.

The kids are all back in school, and for that matter, so am I, except that I haven’t actually done any work yet. Yeah, this is going great.

Why so busy? The rush of new students who have no idea where they are going, where to park, or how long it will take to get from point A to point B seems to lead to more traffic stops, more parking tickets, and more accidents. Professors are rushing in to pick up keys and parking decals that they forgot to get in the weeks leading up to classes. Nobody seems to know where they are going, and everything is an emergency.

With the onslaught of students, things that weren’t used all summer seem to break, as well, and somehow, that always seems to involve notifying the Police. I’m not sure why, except that we’re always here.

But the worst thing over the past two evening shifts that I’ve worked has been the parking tickets.

Normally, I wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole, because the nightshift person who usually likes to enter them is very fussy about how they are entered. I’ve never been able to do it without some sort of “you’re doing it all wrong” message, so I don’t bother. Apparently the “proper”procedure is to sort them by number first, THEN enter them into the database, THEN run a registration check to find out the name of the registered owner, THEN run that name in the college database to see if the actual driver can be located, THEN update that information in the ticket database, THEN enter flags on things that remain unpaid, or enter when a ticket has been paid or cleared.

One of my co-workers who was stuck alternating between evenings and overnights did some of the ticket work, and was told she should have sorted them and entered them BEFORE running the registration and attaching them.

Normally, I wouldn’t touch them. But this week? We’re getting over 100 tickets a day, and I can’t in good conscience NOT help in some way. So I put some of the tickets in numerical order and put them in the bin to be entered. I took some that had already been entered and ran the registration on them, highlighting the name and attaching that information. I took some that someone else had run registration on and checked our college database.

Let me tell you, THAT is the absolute WORST part of the process. Why? Because RARELY is the registered owner the same person/student who drove the vehicle. The car is often in Mommy or Daddy’s name. So Mary Johnson, for example, is not really a student here, and she didn’t drive the car – her son Johnny did. But we don’t know when we start the search that it was Johnny – we only know that it was SOMEBODY who MAY have the last name “Johnson,” and that the somebody MAY live at Mary’s address of 123 Main St., in City, State, Zip. So, we go through ALL OF THE JOHNSONS WHO ARE ACTIVE IN THE DATABASE until we either find that match, or run out of Johnsons. Let me tell you, I ran through each and every Johnson in the database today. It took me over 90 minutes. Maybe 2 hours. And of course, I had other things to do, like answer the emergency phone and give someone a number for a locksmith because they locked themselves out of their car.

No, that is NOT an emergency, and NOT what the blue phones are for, people. Blue phones are for “I’m about to get raped or murdered, get an officer out here fast!”

Our rape and murder rate on campus is pretty much non-existent, by the way, because nobody lives on campus at our community college. Pretty much. There was a domestic murder a few years before I started working here (an employee was killed) and once, there was a rather odd abduction. Also, sometimes people do pervy things in the bathrooms or in their cars or RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW WHERE ANYBODY CAN WATCH on the second floor of a building in the middle of campus.

Anyway, I also checked each and every Carter. But then, something funny happened.

Yesterday, I was thinking to myself that I should start with “Matthew” from now on, instead of starting at the letter A. After going through each and every Johnson, I came across another common last name that I’d gone through earlier to no avail. LO! Mary “Smith” wasn’t in our database, but the next name was one of many Matthews in our database, so I figured, “Eh, why not?” Guess what! It was actually the right person!

Good thing. Because after an hour and a half to two hours of going through each and every Johnson on campus (you’d be amazed at how many people we currently have on campus named “Samantha Johnson”!) I was ready to scream.

I did take a minute from the frustrating task to take a few photos of some absolutely gorgeous clouds.

Pink and white and gray clouds

More clouds, with palm trees

Still more clouds

More clouds

Oh, and yesterday, I did manage to snap a few shots of an adorable little frog on the window.

Tree frog, taken outside

DSC_0502[1]

I really wish I had my camera with me on Tuesday when they caught the ferret that had been wandering around campus for a week.

Tomorrow will probably be another busy day, but the weekends are usually a bit calmer, and after the first couple of weeks, people start to figure things out, and the mad rush eases up a bit.

My kids also started school this week. So we’re all settling back down to the status quo.

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