Boy, Esq. calls me from the campus of the University of Southern California, which is located in a part of California known as "southern California."
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.
They are human GPSes when it comes to sniffing out expired food in the fridge. On the bright side, now he knows where the office is.
Posted by: Executive Suburbanite | November 12, 2013 at 11:12 AM
We could not be any prouder.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | November 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM
There is an app for that.
Posted by: LanceC | November 12, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | November 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM
If he were a NYC boy, he'd know to hop into a taxi and let the cabbie figure it out. This is a danger for parents trying to raise children in environs outside Manhattan ... in the sticks like South Florida or Chicago. Then again, are there cabs in southern California? Or just limos?
Posted by: Lynne Helm | November 12, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Limos and skateboards, I believe.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | November 12, 2013 at 12:47 PM
My USC freshman son and I have identical conversations, across 3000 miles and 3 time zones. Lynne Helm, my NYC boy would definitely take a taxi, if they only allowed them on campus....
Posted by: Amanda | November 12, 2013 at 02:05 PM
I seem to recall a time when I was giving directions from Ft. Lauderdale to someone, I just can't recall---who had taken a wrong turn out of Illinois into Wisconsin somehow on the way to a skating rink (because there isn't enough ice in the yard). I recall telling that certain someone to find a CAB, tell them where you want to go, and FOLLOW them. And then that someone complaining that I had sent them in the totally wrong direction. I'm just saying. Possibly genetic...
Posted by: nthnglsts | November 12, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Obviously, it could have been farther. If it were located in Illinois. But in that case, you might have been able to provide better directions.
Posted by: MommyTime | November 12, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Well, duh, Mahhhm. Didn't you KNOW you were supposed to memorize the campus that he LIVES on; just for occasions like this?
Posted by: Gigi | November 12, 2013 at 04:55 PM
You have a son who calls you? I'm jealous!
Over at my house I'm just the assh*le that bugs him.
Posted by: Twisted Susan | November 12, 2013 at 07:34 PM
He calls, he texts, he sends flowers.
Okay, so that last part is literally the exact opposite of true. If truth were located next to the parking garage by the Starbucks, that part about sending flowers would be next to the parking garage on the exact opposite site of the campus. Literally, it could not be further from the truth.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | November 13, 2013 at 05:52 AM
Sounds like he still needs you. Why? No idea. "A friend of mine" was recently told by his freshman daughter that it was no longer necessary to call her every day. "I'm busy," she said.
Posted by: Tdawg | November 13, 2013 at 01:31 PM
I am pretty sure our daughters never needed us at all. Mine has been ready to move out since about third grade.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | November 13, 2013 at 07:40 PM
See, this is where I get lost.
Is it "Could not have been farther", or, "Could not have been further"? Does far have a past tense? I give up.
Know where I can find a low-paid humor and press release writer?
Posted by: Audubon Ron | November 18, 2013 at 06:41 AM
Ahhh...it is still our fault when they are in college. Love this!
Posted by: Jen | November 20, 2013 at 04:39 AM
If we were doing anything right, we'd be sitting at a fountain under some palm trees right now.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | November 20, 2013 at 09:13 AM
Doesn't engineering require the ability to navigate and figure out how things work at USC? What they really need is a week long "wilderness camp" for all incoming freshman--their mission "you figure it all out."
Posted by: SH | November 21, 2013 at 10:14 AM
Wilderness camp for teenage boys would just be a day without their iPhones.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | November 22, 2013 at 08:34 AM