My wife and I drove 4 hours yesterday down to Springfield College to pick up my daughter's stuff. This parental pilgramage is as predictable as Robins coming back every Spring. Like all rites of Spring, there are constants that do not vary and rituals that play out identically all over America.
First of all, any college with common sense will temporarily rescind their hard and fast rules regarding parking, doors being open, and ID checks. For a day or two, they will allow a mild form of anarchy to take over. They will allow this because it will happen regardless. Combine the tendency of college students to be scofflaws with the determined force of a parent who wants to load up and get out, and what we end up with is a situation that is out of control. The best they can hope for is that in 2 days, the normal sleepy atmosphere they are used to will return and the tire divets in the grass are not too deep.
So, as we approach the college, we give Lis a call. "Find us a spot and stand in it". She calls back. Great! Right in front of the door. I pull around the one way and there is my little darling standing in the best spot on campus for loading anything. What luck. Wait! The car in front of us is attempting to pull into our spot. The man points to Lis as if she is in his way. Lis does not budge. All 5'2" of her stands tall and points to me behind him. I could almost see his shoulders slump as he pulled away. By the 3rd year of doing this, you learn a trick or two.
We walk into her hallway and there is one box neatly taped sitting outside her room. I think, "This can't be good". But being optimistic, I assume the rest of the boxes have not made their way to the hallway yet. Right. We walk into her hovel and it looks like every college room I remember. Crap everywhere and nothing in boxes ready for me to put in the truck. It is going to be a long day. I get the ladies started packing boxes and then head down to snooze in the front seat while Green Day blasts from the CD Player.
Tired of sleeping upright, I plop down on the small couch in the dorm foyer. Constant activity. Moms, Dads, sons and daughters parade past with countless bundles, furniture and bags. Two young studs walk past with a sad excuse of a coffee table between them. Beer encrusted with a bag of chips and deck of cards still glued to the top. Outside, there is a 30 yard container . They heave it in. And in the meantime, the dorm janitor sits on the pic nic table in the sun while his Walkman plays tunes. Lis informs me he is supposed to be helping whoever needs it. I guess he figures staying out of the way is help enough.
I wander up to the room. Good. Stuff ready to be loaded. And so my day continues. They pack, I grunt it down to the truck. 4 hours later, I have a full truck and Lis has an empty room. As I look at the heap in the back of the truck, I am struck by the sheer volume of stuff my little girl needs to get through a year of college. Refrigerator, TV, Stereo, 50 pairs of shoes, the list is endless. The one odd item I do not recollect ever bringing home before is the box of liquor and beer I packed somewhere in the back. Oh well, even the goodie two shoes need to howl at the moon once in awhile. Apparently, my little darlin has discovered this.