Wild West duel occurs over last good parking spot near Stanton

Grace Canny, Cannot Parallel Park

Illustration by Astrid Ketcham.

On Sunday, as a hot wind blew through Walla Walla, the greatest showdown of the entire 2021-2022 academic year took place: a battle over the last decent parking spot near Stanton.

A little before 2 p.m., a blue Subaru Outback left for a quick trip to Walgreens, only to return to a seemingly full parking lot. Lo and behold, by the back, in the direct sun, and not a safe distance from what might be human poop, there was only one vacant 7.5 x 9 foot square. Though clearly not an oasis, the Stanton parking lot does not leave the luxury of choice, thus the Subaru approached.

Silently, a gray truck menacingly crept around the curve. Both cars froze. Each set of eyes narrowed. Onlookers fell silent and no one dared bat an eye. A crow cawed in the tree nearby. The stakes were high. The loser would have to park on the street; this was a matter of life or death. The tension in the air could be cut with the dullest Cleveland Commons knife.

The truck broke the stillness and graciously backed away, feigning surrender. After all, The Subaru was a sophomore and had more right to park their car in that parking lot than anyone else. However, like the wise fool the grade name suggests, they took this chance to also back away, feigning mature driver etiquette.

The truck lurched towards the spot, which the Subaru quickly blocked.

Bumper to bumper, no one made a move. Both were closer to the prized patch of pavement, but neither could get in without wrecking the other. A tumbleweed blew between the cars.

In a flurry of movement and a heart wrenching screech, the truck miraculously secured the spot. Stunned, the Subaru couldn’t even reverse. Losing this spot meant banishment to the street, and worse, parking in the compact spaces: Whitman College’s version of a pillory.