The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Parking enforcement officers: Student studies species for the animal biology department thesis

Day 1

In defiance of my adviser’s criticism, I began a study of the creatures commonly called, “Parking Enforcement Officers.”

The department chairperson has refused my request to study the hunting habits of the PEO for my senior project in animal biology.

I firmly believe the irrational and heartless instincts of the PEOs will supply ample material for a research study, so I am going forward in the hopes the final paper will change their minds.

Day 2

I found it difficult to keep up with the PEOs in their natural environment. Anatomically they should be able to walk on their two legs, but prefer to glide along on two wheels only using their legs to stay erect when not in motion.

They achieve impressive speed and agility on two wheels yet stop frequently to search for prey. The abundance of automobiles provided me with ample cover to avoid scaring the PEOs, but they also impeded my ability to keep up.

Day 3

I obtained a bicycle. I fear, however, that I will not be as well hidden. My presence may change their natural behavior.

They are fascinating creatures. Although physically similar to human beings, they seem to lack the ability to feel sympathy, mercy and compassion, which is instinctual to Homo sapiens.

Day 4

I witnessed a truly remarkable event today. By crouching behind a tree, I was able to observe a PEO detect a meter with less than three minutes left. The PEO hovered around the expiring meter staying a far distance away, but never out of sight.

With 10 seconds left, the PEO moved in for the kill. The owner of the automobile could be seen running and screaming toward the car in an attempt to scare away the predator. But it was too late. The PEO was printing off a ticket.

The owner displayed every emotion imaginable to drive away the PEO. But no batting of eyes, crying, pleading or screaming had an effect. The PEO casually moved on.

It is possible the creature lacks hearing. As PEOs evolved, listening skills may have hindered its ability to make kills. Or perhaps its ears were sacrificed as the eyes developed their eagle-like precision.

Day 5

I often observe the PEO talking into a communication device. My hypothesis is that the creatures exhibit hive characteristics like bees and ants. Individual PEOs may be only drones. But where is the nest? Could a queen be directing their heartless attacks against expired parking meters?

If I can get funding, then I’d like to set a trap and get ticketed in order to observe the creature up close. In a different sense, that little slip of paper could be my “ticket” into the nest.

Day 35

Unable to secure funding, I had given up my research. But now I am obligated to resume.

Quite by accident, I was a victim of a PEO and was able to scrutinize it up close. I had come up to campus on a holiday to do some work. There were no human beings or their automobiles anywhere. Without prey, I didn’t think any PEOs would be on the prowl. All the same, I put money in the meter just in case.

Unable to watch the clock and return to my automobile in exactly 36 minutes, I returned to find a ticket on my windshield.

My exhilaration instantly disappeared when I saw a ticket up close for the first time. On it was printed instructions for how to find the nest and what one should do there.

Going to the nest, something I had once considered a privilege, now felt like a punishment.

Day 36

The department chairperson is threatening to expel me from the program if I do not immediately heed my adviser’s demand about my senior project.

Alas, I am obliged to mail in the amount listed on the ticket and decide on a different subject in an entirely different habitat without delay.

Perhaps it is better for humans to simply avoid the horror of these creatures. After all, if the PEO drones are simply following orders, what other options are there?

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