Running Errands

The other day, I managed to pull some downright miracles out of thin air.

One of the problems with the Tufts campus is that it is built upon a hill.  Legend has it that

Tufts circa 1853

Tufts’ founder Hosea Ballou II had the campus built upon Walnut Hill (one of the highest hills in the Boston area) so that Tufts folk could (literally) look down upon Harvard.  The first building on campus was completed in 1854, entitled at the time “College Hall” (since renamed “Ballou Hall”).  Today, this building is the central nexus of all things Tufts.  The university has grown around the building and, as a result, around the hill.

But not just on one side of the hill, oh no, that would be far too easy.  It has spread and spawned on both hillsides, creating a situation such that to get anywhere on campus you literally do have to walk uphill both ways.  At one foot of the hill is the largest nexus of student parking.  At the hill’s peak various administration buildings.  On the opposite hillside is the library (amongst other things).  At the extreme opposite foot of the hill is Aidekman arts center, where my department is housed, and where all of my classes (and our personal Drama Graduate Lounge) are located.

Due to a series of applications, administrative red tape, and various things that I had to drop off/pick up in various places, I had to be in several locations in a short span of time.

Now.  There is a parking lot directly next to Aidekman.  This is extremely convenient on days when I just have to go to class and make no other stops.  However, when I have to do any amount of printing (in the general graduate lounge), go to the library (to drop off/pick up books), or really do anything else on campus, I opt to park in the WAYFARAWAY lot to ensure that my chores actually get done in the process of going to/coming from my car.


A map, for your reference

The other day I had to: stop at the administrative building to drop off a funding application, stop at the library to drop off some books, stop at the experimental college to drop off an application for a class that I’m proposing to teach next semester, go to class, stop at the library on the way back up the hill on the way to my car to pick up some books, then head to my car in time to head home.

To make matters worse, I was in a bit of a time crunch because my dance partner was due to show up at 6 PM.  My classes usually get out around 4:30, leaving me plenty of time to run a few tawdry errands and skid home just before 5.  It takes me about an hour to go from academic chic to ballroom dancer (including a dinner break).

Timing was going to be tight.

To complicate things further, I had to swing by the grocery store on my way home to pick up some bits and bobs for dinner.  And then my class let out twenty minutes late.  And then my dance partner texted that he’d be at my house about a half hour early because the combined forces of traffic and his job had treated him particularly well that day.

Keep calm and carry on?

Someone with a cosmic time-turner must have realized that this simply wasn’t going to work, because as I was trying to sprint up the hill with an armful of books, figure out what I was going to wear that night, and compile my grocery list simultaneously, apparently the streets of Arlington became a veritable parking lot.  I skidded to a halt at home with enough time to spare that I was able to chew my food, and my partner ran late enough that I was actually ready to go when he arrived.

We were on time to the dance (which was a trip in itself, by the by; a ballroomful of sixty and seventy year old couples who could quickstep and tango like pros all dressed in their cocktail best… I felt like I had stepped into some weird Gatsbeian time warp).  I got all my chores done.  Nobody collapsed due to blood sugar issues from not being fed vis a vis time crunch.  And my gluts are none-the-sadder.

Now to figure out how to fit in everything I have on my plate before I leave for the National Gothic Fiction Conference next Thursday…

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