Monday, September 20, 2010


Eternal night veiled the campus at the University I was visiting. Whether this is a natural feature of the surrounding area or a man-made one to accommodate the vampire population of the student body, I don't know, but the night-time that engulfed me was forever.

I was attempting to register an account at the campus computer lab in order to use the Internet, but the process of registering required that I complete a quiz about the points scored in the most recent baseball game that had been played on the campus. I had to identify which players from both teams scored in which innings (strangely, called pads in this area) and the final score at the end of the game. I had to do this in the form of an essay.

Needless to say, this is a very difficult thing to accomplish without having watched the game, taking notes as it progressed. I had not done so. And so I sought out the local scoreboard, which kept such records until another game was to be played. I started trying to take notes on when different players scored, but it was very difficult to read it as the information was scattered around, apparently at random, and every time I looked from the scoreboard to my paper and back to the scoreboard, everything had changed completely. The only things that were consistent were the letters "NMC" at the top.

Frustrated, I went to a nearby car wash and got my car washed. No one was there. I simply helped myself to the equipment and did it myself.

I went to class, but right before I entered, I realized that I was naked. Luckily, the blinds in the classroom were closed, so the other students inside could not see me. I hurriedly put on my clothes and ran away.

I went back to the car wash with my wife and kids. We entered the washing area, but we had no car. We had ordered personal washes. The machines sprayed us with water and soap and got our clothes all soapy and wet. I think I was screaming during this whole ordeal.

I tried to go use the drying machine, but the controls were too confusing. There were two big buttons, one of them labeled, "load." The other button's label was too faded to read. There were also six smaller buttons in two rows with just single letters on them. The bottom row were N, M, and C. The labels on the buttons of the top row were also too faded to read. There was also an unlabeled small red button.

I watched another customer dry off with another machine. He pushed some of these buttons and the machine dried him off.

So I tried the top button with the label worn off, and the airflow that came out of the machine had specks of spit in it. I realized then that the label had read, "Camel."

I tried "Load," but the same thing happened.

I asked the attendant for help, who looked at my receipt and informed me that no drying service is included with personal washes. She informed me that you have to get a car wash to dry. It was at this point that I realized that I was already dry anyway.

I told the attendant that I had used the machines earlier. She told me that they had been closed at that time.

"But I used it!" I said.

"The machines still work," she said, "but we were technically closed."

Whatever, I thought.

I returned to the baseball scoring table again, but this time it was really crowded, which made it ever more difficult to get the information I needed.

I was getting really frustrated.

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