The call came in in the early evening, as I was starting to think about what to have for dinner and was settling in perhaps unwisely in a fresh game of Victoria: Revolutions mere days after finishing the old. Off to the closet, for a clean dress shirt and reasonable pair of work slacks, and then to find one of my new and not-yet worn pairs of dress shoes. I'm plagued with momentary doubts: do the white shoes look all right, or do they make me look like I'm going bowling in 1958? I decide to plunge ahead and get the new shoes worn in a bit anyway. And then the drive to campus, maybe seven minutes away, where I explain my purpose to the security guard, and she gives me a temporary parking slip and points out the visitors' parking lot, ``if you can find a space there''. Rashly, I do not ask what to do if I cannot find a parking space.
All right, there's nothing in the legal visitors' parking lot. Surely, though, there's another parking lot somewhere on campus and at least one of them must have space free? There are indeed, if I drive to the far side of campus, other parking lots, some of them the huge ones built on land which somehow failed to be turned into Post-Sputnik Sprawling Centers covered with blonde brick fronts. Those lots are equally full. Back to the visitors' parking lot. There are cars driving around, watching sharply for signs of people leaving, but no empty spaces. The occasional person carrying a bundle of books trudges on, but apparently from one side of the lot to the other without threatening to take a car and leave. They apparently exist to taunt drivers.
Ah, surely there's some parking however semi-legal near the proper classroom building? ... Surely everyone else has had these same thoughts. Maybe the only approach is to meet my mother and take her parking space as she leaves. I don't have a cell phone. I would need to park somewhere to fetch my mother so I could find somewhere to park. I circle again, visitors parking, distant parking, the building ... ah! One spot! Maybe not a parking spot. But there's some cars along the rim of this cul-de-sac. That's close enough to a parking spot, isn't it? It'll do.
I get into my mother's classroom minutes after the class begins.
Trivia: In 1857, United States trade negotiator Townsend Harris's letter from President Franklin Pierce addressed the shogun as ``His Majesty the Emperor of Japan''. Source: A Modern History of Japan, Andrew Gordon.
Currently Reading: Why Do Men Have Nipples? Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini, Mark Leyner, Billy Goldberg. Mark Leyner is a television writer for, among other things, the swiftly cancelled Wonderland which I never saw. He's also the author of such quirky works of fiction as My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist and Et Tu, Babe, which I believe I once started reading because of an odd quote from it used in someone's .sig file, although I didn't get through it.