I am in my car somewhere between rain and ice, approximately 2,000 miles from any part of California.
The boy has to go to the financial services office to check on one of his tuition loans, and he can't find the building, which is really annoying.
The University of Southern California Office of Financial Services is located somewhere on the campus of the University of Southern California.
I'm pretty sure.
But I may have steered him wrong earlier when I told him it was in the building by the parking garage close to the Starbucks, which is right across from one of the many fountains on campus where you can sip your latte under blue skies and a sun so bright it makes it hard to read your text messages.
Of course, he doesn't have time to sit at any one of the 714 fountains on campus because he's wandering among the palm trees looking for the financial services office. The sun is so bright it makes it hard to read the screen on his iPhone. Which is kind of annoying, I'm sure.
Also, he's in between classes and he doesn't have time for this. I have about 15 minutes to get from my job as a low-paid humor and press release writer to my third job, where I am paid slightly less, and where I teach college-bound high school students the hazards of pursuing a communications degree.
The boy is trying to determine exactly where my system for helping him navigate the campus has led him astray. On this point, he is a human GPS, honing in on the precise coordinates of my incompetence.
"There are a lot of parking garages here," he says. "Who told you it was the one by the Starbucks? And EXACTLY what did they say? Did they actually use the word 'Starbucks' or did you just assume it was the one by the Starbucks?"
Now I'm confused. Is this rain or is it ice? Wait, now it's snowing? What the fuck kind of weather is this?
Also I can't remember why I believed the financial services office was near the Starbucks by the fountain with the palm trees under the blue skies. Did someone actually tell me that?
"I'm not sure," I hedge. "But it can't be far."
"Mahhhm," he says. I can hear the exasperation in the way he drags out my name. "It's a big campus."
"Yes," I say. "But I wonder if there is someone else you could ask. You know, maybe someone in California. Ideally on or near the University of Southern California campus. Is there anyone like that where you are? Because I am in the middle of an ice-rain-snowish weather event just outside of Chicago."
"Oh my god," he says. "Could you just call them?"
"I am on my way to work," I say. "In ILLINOIS. Where it may or may not be snowing. It is hard to tell."
I have to hang up because no one from Miami should attempt to navigate Los Angeles from Chicago in weather like this. The good news is, the University of Southern California office of financial services, is, in fact, located on the campus of the University of Southern California.
The bad news is I was wrong about the Starbucks. Not the part about the fountains or the palm trees or the lattes. But the rest of it? I could not have been more wrong.
Boy, Esq.: Mom not exactly a fountain of knowledge.