Thursday, October 13, 2011

On the road again for the first time

Having gotten no further “we need to allow more time for people to register” notices from MUPP, it looks like my classes will really, truly start next Tuesday. So today I decided to do a test drive from LPL to the class site at the time I’d actually be driving it.

I double-checked my route, which involves surface streets for about a third of the distance. I’m trying to avoid an area of road construction at the intersection of two major highways, which, coincidently, is right next to the building wherein my classes will be held. I went over the satellite views of critical intersections. I was ready.

As I packed up my stuff at the end of the day, I realized I was feeling queasy. Either the leftover noodle and pork dish I had for lunch was past its prime, or I was – nervous? What was up with that? This was a dry run. A fact-finding trip. If I ran into logistical problems, there was no harm. I wasn’t on a deadline. And yet I was sure I was going to woof my cookies at any second. I took deep breaths. I reminded myself that Everything Is Fine. And off I went.

I left my desk at 4:35. I expected it would take 30-40 minutes to make the approximately 15-mile drive. It took nearly an hour. Traffic was ugly, and that was without any accidents or construction delays. Two of the stoplights along the route are ridiculously long, and let very few cars through in the direction I travel. I was lucky I didn’t have to wait through them twice each. I did arrive a full half-hour before my scheduled class time, but I would still have to eat a quick dinner, glance over the evening’s assignments, and get settled into my desk. Thirty minutes sounds like a lot, but it would go by very quickly. And the penalty for being late is quite harsh. According to the PRCP (Paralegal Rules of Classroom Procedure):
“Just as a judge will not tolerate an attorney’s being late to court, tardiness in this class will be discouraged. Any student not counted present at the beginning of class will be considered absent for the entire class” unless s/he presents a written excuse from his/her physician or employer, or the instructor decides to approve of the tardiness “in the interest of justice.”
Eep. Notice the lack of provision for traffic delays. Or for the forgiveness of a good-hearted yet chronically chronologically-impaired student. (Does the ADA cover that handicap?) Call me paranoid (I heard that!), but I’ve got to have more of a time cushion built into my schedule. Which means I have to leave work earlier. Which means I have to get to work earlier. Which means I have to get up earlier. And “not a morning person” doesn’t even begin to describe me. And what if I’m out at some remote branch on the other side of town, packing up books? (Why, no, LPL won’t be hiring movers to empty a branch undergoing renovation; why do you ask?) Fortunately, my boss is fine with flexing schedules a bit when needed, because I have a feeling I’m gonna need it.

Meanwhile, back at the Big Office Building in the Groin of Two Highways, I noticed that there were some empty parking spaces outside the parking structure. This is good, because the parking structure is two stories, the ground level is all reserved, and there is only stair access to the top level. (Yes, I’m lazy. And I’ll be toting a heavy, wheeled laptop case, at the end of a very long day, in the dark, back to my car. So just shush.)

Having conquered the scary, maniac-filled roads, figured out how much time I’m going to need, and located the classroom, it was time for a reward. I hied myself to the nearest Long John Silver’s (about which I have nothing bad to say, so I’m not going to wrack my brain for a pseudonym) for a Fish & More. Once my malt vinegar quotient was back where it belonged, I visited a nearby comics store and picked up a copy of Warehouse 13 #1, and left my number so they could call me when more copies of #2 arrive.

I’ve still got a few oversized butterflies circling my pyloric sphincter, but fish and chips, and a comic book go a long way toward getting them netted. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to write up a quick summoning ritual for the gods of traffic, and find a suitable sacrifice. I wonder if they like malt vinegar?


  1. They like malt vinegar. I have proof.

  2. Hey, dress rehearsals give butterflies just as much as opening night. Given though, what I've seen of people in "real school" over my life though - the teacher is doing a good deed. While you may be a grown up with real excuses, some folk just can't be arsed to show up on time and no, a judge won't care either.... Still. You're on your way!