Oberlin Blogs

A vignette from finals week

June 5, 2009

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

Once I'd finished my exams, I had a couple days to finish my portfolio, relax, and pack, though not necessarily in that order. Finding myself with all this free time on my hands, I did the only logical thing: I offered to help other people with their packing, as a handy way to procrastinate on doing my own. Ultimately, I volunteered to help one of my friends carry her things to storage.

First, we had to debate where exactly her things were going. She's going to be abroad all next year, so instead of storing her stuff in the dorm that she's going to live in next year (like many people do), she had to put everything somewhere else. We knew this, but we weren't sure just how far away the place was located. One of my neighbors expressed doubt that we'd be able to carry everything, which led to frantic last-minute attempts to find a car.

We did manage to find--and get permission to use--a car, but there was a slight problem. The car keys were inside of a locked house, and no one was going to return to it and unlock it in the foreseeable future. Also, there was someone else who'd asked to use the car first. We wished him good luck and hung up while he continued to ponder how he was going to get the car keys.

Fortuitously, my friend only had two boxes (of a possible five) that she was storing. One was considerably heavier than the other, so she and another girl carried it while I was left with the lighter one and all the doors. Thus, we began the walk from Asia House to East Field, where the storage was. As it turned out, my neighbor was right. It was a really long walk, especially when I had to observe two people debating whether or not it was easier to walk sideways down a sidewalk while stepping on one another's feet.

Luck, however, was with us, in the form of a front loader. As they struggled along the sidewalk, I took a break from offering helpful suggestions to glance at the road. A construction vehicle with a large bucket/shovel type thing (you know what I'm talking about) in front of it drove inexorably down the street toward us.

It would be great if we could put the box in there, I thought, but of course didn't mention. It would only have lowered morale.

Then, the seemingly impossible happened. The front loader slowed down. I assumed the exertion of walking while carrying a box was causing me to hallucinate, but no! The front loader stopped.

"Are you going to East Field?" the man inside asked.

"Yes!" we chorused, forgetting all about strangers with candy who pull up alongside you.

"I can take your box there."

"Thank you!" we said, again almost simultaneously. (We should probably consider the circus.)

As I supervised, my two friends managed to maneuver their box into the front loader's bucket/shovel.

"I'll leave it by the driveway," the man told us, and drove off.

We continued on our merry way down to East Field, watching the front loader disappear down the road. My neighbor was definitely going to need a car for her boxes.

When we reached East Field not too long after, there was the man waiting for us, the box still cradled in the front loader's bucket/shovel. Again, I helpfully supervised while the box was reclaimed, and waved our thanks to the man as he drove away.

It was a very successful use of my time, I would say.

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