Today was Steffie’s day to return to college. Classes start on Monday after what seems like a century of vacation.
Considering she’s 18 and we’re not, we all got along very well during the break. Of course some of that was on vacation, during which we followed the ‘open wallet’ policy. For another week or so, she was with my parents in Florida where no store was left unvisited.
The trip to school is nearly 100 miles, taking nearly two hours. Is there traffic? C’mon – we’re passing through the Bronx and over the Throgs Neck Bridge.
Speaking of traffic – the next time someone questions my accuracy, let me refer them to the traffic reporters I heard today. Was I listening to a ‘best of’ compilation while they took a cruise?
On the way back, as we zipped along between 70-80 mph, the disk jockey on one Connecticut radio station cautioned us about the residual traffic backup from an earlier accident in the very spot we were passing.
At least on TV we’re forced to show you the traffic cameras. It keeps us honest. On the other hand, not many people are listening to our TV traffic reports in their cars.
A long trip contains lots of time for talking. Among the things I learned was Helaine’s plight as she tried to transfer money from our checking account into Steffie’s debit card account.
She needed a password and then an emergency backup super secret answer. “What is the name of your favorite pet,” the bank asked? “Ivy,” replied Helaine. Big red letters appeared on the screen! Wrong, wrong, wrong. “Your pet’s name must have four or more letters!”
Two thirds of the way there, I decided to tune the radio to Mega 97.9. OK, they’re in Spanish and I don’t speak Spanish, but it seemed right at the time.
As we got to “La Mega,” they were going into what seemed like a two minute live commercial, on remote and over the phone, from Potamkin Mitsubishi – Volkswagen. From there it was a long series of commercials in Spanish, followed by three in English and another in Spanish.
It’s very strange to hear Spanish commercials with English thrown in. Phrases like “18 to party, 21 to drink,” appeared in the middle of an an otherwise all Spanish ad.
I was getting into the music, but Helaine and Steffie were looking at me with that strange glance that normally comes prior to involuntary commitment. We switched stations.
Our E-ZPass was put to good use as we approached the Throgs Neck Bridge and passed a few lines of 20+ cars waiting to pay cash.
Though Stef had brought a half car’s worth of stuff home, we went back to the dorm loaded. I have no idea where all that stuff’s going.
I attempted to re-snake the cables for her computer and knocked over the hutch which sits atop her desk. Papers and pictures and three shot glasses (effect only – I’m sure they’d never been used) all hit the linoleum floor. The glasses shattered.
Helaine and I didn’t stay long. Once the glass was picked up and some rudimentary straightening was accomplished, we were in the car, on our way home. I stopped for coffee and gas and was headed toward the parkway when the phone rang. It was Steffie.
She found a wire that wasn’t in its proper place, attempted to snake it under the hutch and suffered the same fate as her father! We turned around and headed back.
That’s where we got to see Nassau County’s crowning achievement in fiscal responsibility. At this 90° intersection were at least 17 traffic lights. I’m not sure. There might be one hidden by the bus.
Again, for those of you just joining the broadcast – 17 traffic lights. Anyone got a brother-in-law in the lighting business?
We’re home now. Steffie is asleep in the dorm (or so says her IM away message). I’m not sure she can appreciate how much we enjoyed being with her and how much we miss her.
Sending a child to college is just as much a test for the parents as the student.
¹ – In a startlingly strange sign of New York’s very liberal past, WEVD was named after Eugene V. Debbs, American labor and political leader and five-time Socialist Party of America candidate for President of the United States. How strange is that?