Friday, March 28, 2008


I forgot that Barack Obama was in Pittsburgh this morning speaking at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial. I needed to go into campus to scan some images for my manuscript and decided at the last minute that I was too good for the 71A. Screw nature, I thought. I found four quarters for the parking meter and hopped in the Nissan.

My plan was perfect: I would slip into the meter lot next to University Place, where there is usually one space because the meters there are one quarter for fifteen minutes. I only needed an hour max to use the scanner and go to the bank. It would all be beautiful and painless and I'd be back home hard at work before lunch.

But of course my plans were foiled. The street teemed with reporters and security. Flashing police lights were EVERYWHERE and the Oakland streets had a snarl unlike any I'd ever seen, including when the Rolling Stones concert was on campus. I just banged my head against the steering wheel and put the car in neutral as people honked and nothing moved.

I get so flustered about parallel parking, but all the pay lots were full with angry attendants guarding the entryways. Once the cars finally moved, I tried to find a space on the other side of Bates, but there was just nothing. Obama really drew a crowd, I guess. The only vehicles that moved freely were the darn buses I scorned. I was just about to give up hope, drive home, and get in a bus to go back to Oakland, when I spotted a group of my students. They were piling into an SUV, getting ready to leave for a football meeting. God was smiling at me! They were leaving a spot! An end spot!

I rolled down my window and waved at them. They said, "Hey Miss Katy, you want this spot?"

"Yes! Very badly!" And they vacated it for me. I wanted to hug each of them repeatedly, but I needed to move quickly and park the car. It was a 1-hour meter that took only two quarters. I was so filled with joy, I actually gave the two spare quarters to a pan handler.

I got my work done as planned. But instead of heading home to keep working, I went to Trader Joes to buy a chocolate bar. I spent $104 dollars, because once I bought the chocolate bar I couldn't stop buying delicious things like apple rings and corn salsa. I finally got home around three, angry that so much of my day had slipped away without permission.

But you know what? That chain of events coupled with the 72% dark Swiss chocolate really fueled my fire to keep writing. I can see the end. Everything is going to be ok! I feel it.

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