After our lengthy and unsuccessful search for a parking space Saturday on our trip to Big State University, during which Charlie chanted "We go to a library! We go to a library!" the entire time, I pulled the car over. I said to Ryan "I think that's the library over there!" gesturing at a large, windowless building, "I have to go to the bathroom BAD! Park the car and meet me in the lobby in thirty minutes!" then jumped out of the car and ran for the building. (I did not expect it to take me 30 minutes to go to the bathroom, mind you, I wanted to allow Ryan time to park, assemble the stroller, load up the kiddies, and walk to the library to meet me).
I was relieved (heh) to see that the bathrooms were easily located inside the library just past the lobby through a set of locked glass doors. Much dancing and swearing later I determined that the doors all the way to the left were unlocked. I still had a while to wait for Ryan after using the bathroom, so I decided to get a head start on the reason I was there, which was to find a book on the Kruskal-Wallis method of determining statistical significance. All of the computers I found required logins, which I did not have. So I approached a friendly student worker manning a big desk marked "Information" for help.
"Hello, I need to look something up in the online card catalog, but I don't have a student login. Is there any other computer I could use?" I was cool and confident, look at me talking to a stranger! I am not intimidated by you!
The student worker replied "Well, that's probably something they could help you with at the library." She said the last word nice and slow.
"Oh. And where is that? Exactly?" I replied. Less cool, less confident, more shakey-voiced.
She pulled out a map and circled both my current location (NOT the library) and my destination (the LIBRARY, where they keep THE BOOKS and the freaking CARD CATALOG).
I thanked her and returned to the lobby to wait for Ryan. When our meeting time came and went I started to get nervous. I didn't have my phone. What if Ryan was waiting at the REAL library for me? I began to get all panicky like I do when things don't go exactly according to plan and I don't have my phone. I didn't even know Ryan's number since I have him on speed dial. "Don't freak out don't freak out don't freak out don't freak out" I thought as I scrutinized every pedestrian I saw, praying for one of them to be pusing a stroller. But no, just a bunch of hippies and walk-of-shamers. Finally, after an eternity, I noticed a pay phone! What luck! I scrounged together all of the silver change I could find and dialed my mom's cell. Wrong number, CRAP! I thought as the change fell into the machine. I stuck more dimes in and dialed the right number. She gave me Ryan's number. But I was OUT OF CHANGE! Oh NO!
You may have noticed that I have a certain lack of resiliance when it comes to plans going awry in unfamiliar situations.
At that moment it was Incredibly Important for me to talk to Ryan, to tell him where I was, so that I would not spend the rest of my life sitting there in the lobby of the not-library with all the undergrads who were smarter and better dressed than me. I knew everything would be OK if I could just hear his voice. The voice of calm.
So I went back to the information desk. My friend was still there.
I asked if there was a phone I could use. I weakly explained that I didn't have mine and I was supposed to meet my husband and that I'm not always this much of a mess. She gave me her cell phone. It had a touch screen and I had to hand it back to her to get me to the screen that lets you dial a number.
Ryan didn't answer. I left a really stupid sounding message about how I was in the wrong building.
I returned to the lobby and sat down. I was just settling back into my inner "Don't freak out" monologue when I saw a bright red stroller in the distance. "HURRAY! I am SAVED!" I thought. I jumped out of my chair and RAN the whole 25 yard length of the lobby and burst through the door into the sunshine. Birds were singing! The Halleujah chorus was playing!
Ryan said casually "Oh, hey! I'm sorry it took me so long. I had to park really far away."
And the four of us walked together to the Real Library where I found my book and fed Wesley and Charlie and Ryan played with the elevators.