Boy, Esq. calls me from the campus of the University of Southern California, which is located in a part of California known as "southern California."
I am in my car somewhere between rain and ice, approximately 2,000 miles from any part of California.
The boy has to go to the financial services office to check on one of his tuition loans, and he can't find the building, which is really annoying.
The University of Southern California Office of Financial Services is located somewhere on the campus of the University of Southern California.
I'm pretty sure.
But I may have steered him wrong earlier when I told him it was in the building by the parking garage close to the Starbucks, which is right across from one of the many fountains on campus where you can sip your latte under blue skies and a sun so bright it makes it hard to read your text messages.
Of course, he doesn't have time to sit at any one of the 714 fountains on campus because he's wandering among the palm trees looking for the financial services office. The sun is so bright it makes it hard to read the screen on his iPhone. Which is kind of annoying, I'm sure.
Also, he's in between classes and he doesn't have time for this. I have about 15 minutes to get from my job as a low-paid humor and press release writer to my third job, where I am paid slightly less, and where I teach college-bound high school students the hazards of pursuing a communications degree.
The boy is trying to determine exactly where my system for helping him navigate the campus has led him astray. On this point, he is a human GPS, honing in on the precise coordinates of my incompetence.
"There are a lot of parking garages here," he says. "Who told you it was the one by the Starbucks? And EXACTLY what did they say? Did they actually use the word 'Starbucks' or did you just assume it was the one by the Starbucks?"
Now I'm confused. Is this rain or is it ice? Wait, now it's snowing? What the fuck kind of weather is this?
Also I can't remember why I believed the financial services office was near the Starbucks by the fountain with the palm trees under the blue skies. Did someone actually tell me that?
"I'm not sure," I hedge. "But it can't be far."
"Mahhhm," he says. I can hear the exasperation in the way he drags out my name. "It's a big campus."
"Yes," I say. "But I wonder if there is someone else you could ask. You know, maybe someone in California. Ideally on or near the University of Southern California campus. Is there anyone like that where you are? Because I am in the middle of an ice-rain-snowish weather event just outside of Chicago."
"Oh my god," he says. "Could you just call them?"
"I am on my way to work," I say. "In ILLINOIS. Where it may or may not be snowing. It is hard to tell."
I have to hang up because no one from Miami should attempt to navigate Los Angeles from Chicago in weather like this. The good news is, the University of Southern California office of financial services, is, in fact, located on the campus of the University of Southern California.
The bad news is I was wrong about the Starbucks. Not the part about the fountains or the palm trees or the lattes. But the rest of it? I could not have been more wrong.
Boy, Esq.: Mom not exactly a fountain of knowledge.
But she does bring a wealth of social media savvy to the operation.
For example, she can tweet something like this: basicALLY
Within minutes her gazillion followers will re-tweet it with comments like: omyyYYZZZIILLL. You are so.
When she posts a photo of her French toast, the Internet practically shuts down from the buzz.
I'm not going to lie: It is a little frustrating when I have just finished crafting what I imagine to be a high-quality, correctly punctuated and grammatically precise 300-word description of my underwear and 6 people like it on Facebook and 4 of them re-tweet it - and I am actually bragging about this level of influence - and she gives me a pitying look and posts a photograph of HER HAND and for the next 5 minutes her communications devices ping nonstop with notifications. Because really Internet?
But there is no arguing with the unharnessed power of Girl plus Twitter plus a dozen other social media sites you haven't even heard of yet. By the time you have, they will have moved on in a giant cloud of Victoria's Secret body spray and sprinkle cupcakes.
So many cupcakes.
What choice did I have but to recruit her? I can't say for sure what this will mean for you, our reader, other than cupcakes. We will try to keep a lid on the boy band thing because that stuff will take over a blog faster than nail polish fumes in a room full of 15-year-old girls.
We've turned over the keys here, where she has already begun making some cosmetic improvements. And we are not just talking about mascara. A lot of eye shadow is involved as well.
Social Media Director Girl Kamikaze: "Could you like not?"
I am not sure how many of you come here for information about goose down jackets but apparently this is the place. I know this because spammers have been hitting the site pretty hard every night for weeks now and many of them seem to think you would like to buy some sort of goose down jacket. Which may or may not contain bedbugs.
I have no idea how this spamming process actually works. I do know that "reporting spam," or blocking IP numbers and particular key words in the comments section appear to have no effect. I have been adding key words and IP addresses to my block list for months now. I apologize to anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to leave a legitimate comment that contained the words "luxury goods," "cheap shoes," or any of a dozen other descriptions of designer products that are now blocked from mention here - and that may or may not come with bonus bedbugs.
I am sure these are all very fine products in their own possibly bedbug-infected way, but I just feel that the comments section of this site is not the place to try to sell them.
You don't have to be an economist to recognize that it makes no sense to ship deodorant from Chicago to Los Angeles. And who would mail ramen noodles? A postage stamp costs more than a single package.
But as Ben Bernanke would probably tell you, college care package economics do not align with textbook principles of supply and demand. Also, if we knew anything about textbook principles of economics, we would never have had children in the first place.
We had no idea of the price we would come to pay for encouraging their academic ambitions. We just thought those magnetic alphabet letters and numbers looked cute on the refrigerator door.