Tag Archives: City Streets

. . . And Shove It!

by Richard

So Zippy the Monkey Boy is now Zippy the Delivery Boy. He finally listened to his mom and me and went out and got a job. He’s a delivery boy for a local Chinese restaurant.

Actually, for all that we worry about him driving around out there on the city streets at night, in a hurry to get where he needs to go, this is a pretty good fit to his skill sets. He’s gregarious, likes to talk to new people, and is willing to smile a lot. One of his major shortcomings is an unwillingness to tolerate stupidity (in others) silently.

I figured that would be a major problem for him in that he’d certainly have customers who would have forgotten they’d ordered food, didn’t have the money or way to pay, that sort of thing. And he wouldn’t deal well with it. Turns out, it’s been a good thing for him as he’s learned ways to deal. It was either that or not get a tip and he loves the tips.

No, the major problem with this job actually comes from a difference in our definitions of reasonable safety. Zippy the Delivery Boy, being a 17-year-old, is convinced of his own immortality and his own invulnerability. Even then, though, he wants to take what he considers to be reasonable precautions. He wants to carry around a really big knife (read machete) in the car under his seat to protect himself and to make sure he can out-threaten anyone who tries to rob him.

A concern for safety is a good thing, especially for a young dude on delivery runs. However, I’d rather he be unarmed and more than willing to hand over the money. See, my concern is that he’ll  be confronted and will then pull the knife to which the robber will respond by pulling a gun. Escalation isn’t just to get upstairs, you know. The way I see it, no amount of money is worth Zippy the Delivery Boy’s life. I’d rather he just give it all up and live to drive another day.

He doesn’t see it that way. He’s convinced he can’t be hurt and the merest sight of his dangerous and vicious self wielding a large knife will be enough to set any reprobate back on the straight and narrow.

For now, he’s willing to give my idea a try. And I’m willing to just sneakily search the car before each shift instead of doing it right in front of him. I like to think of it as trust, but verify.

Now if only he’ll listen to me about speeding.

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Cougartown

by Richard

mwraarrr!

Yeah, dude. Cougars. You know you gotta like dat! Yeah, we– Wha-? What do you mean not that kind of cougar? A mascot, you say? Not a, you know, cougar, but a cougar-cougar? Oh, yeah. Right.

Sorry. Got a little carried away there. So, yeah. Zippy the Monkey Boy and I made it to Charleston, SC, after a nice, relaxing five-hour drive. Loads of good times. In fact, I even forced Zippy to do a little driving on the way. And, yes, that was forced. He wasn’t happy, but he did a pretty good job merging onto the freeway and driving (sometimes through rain) for about an hour or so. But boy was he tense.

Anyway, at the end of the trip, we spent the night in a nice hotel in downtown Charleston and then headed out to visit the College of Charleston, mascot, the cougar.

CofC is a bit of an odd duck for a university. It’s situated right in the middle of downtown Charleston and the main campus is, really, quite small. The actual instructional buildings, however, are spread out within the city and are not all concentrated on the main campus. The student dorms, the cafeterias, the new science building and a number of other facilities, all are on city streets. It makes for an interesting setting.

Oddly, CofC is actually a state school, something of which I was unaware until we hit the actual information session. Only about 10,000 undergraduates attend the school (along with approximately 2k graduate students), leading to an optimistic average of between 23-25 students per class. Speaking of averages and ratios, this is another school with a great female to male ratio for Zippy the Monkey Boy. Approximately 60 percent of the student population is female, while the rest are males. Not a bad ratio of you’re a male, yeah?

College of Charleston has one of the better-regarded marine science programs on the east coast and even has a special learning center outside the city devoted to the subject, all of which Zippy loved. He also couldn’t stop talking about how much he loved all the Spanish moss hanging from the huge oak trees dotted across campus and the city. Said it reminded him of St. Augustine in Florida, one of his favorite places.

The tour itself wasn’t so great, but that’s probably because I’m old. Our young tour guide said either um or uh probably every fourth word and fully half of her sentences ended in a rising inflection, indicating a question, rather than a statement. I realize that’s something only an old person would get irritated by, but, well, it did irritate me.

Still, it’s a nice college, situated in a great city. This one is definitely on his apply-to list.

Now we’re off to Conway, SC, and Coastal Carolina University, a setting that makes Greenville, NC, look like Metropolis and Gotham combined.

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Aftermath

by Richard

The end has come. We’re finished. Sarcasmo and I finished off our 10-day, seven-school college road trip. And, to top it off, neither of us attempted to kill the other. Well, at least as far as Sarcasmo knows, that’s true. We’ll just let him keep thinking that.

All told, we drove one thousand, two hundred eighty three miles during those 10 days. That averages out to about 120 miles each day. You know, this is the first time I actually sat down and thought about that. That’s a whole lot of driving. And odder than that, we spent three days in one place and two days in another so we weren’t driving during those days. Well, not much anyway.

The whole purpose of this trip was to give Sarcasmo some idea of what different colleges were like, as well as what colleges and universities emphasized which majors. Before this trip, Sarcasmo had no idea what university he wanted to attend nor what major he wanted to try and enter. Now that the trip is done, well it’s a whole different story. Out of the seven schools, Sarcasmo has definitely eliminated only 1. AS to majors, he’s still got no idea, but maybe something in engineering. Or not.

So, yeah. Job well done on the college road trip front, yeah?

At the end of all this, what did we learn? Well, to start with, Sarcasmo loved Clemson University until we were driving out of the college on our way to the University of South Carolina. That’s when he realized that the nearest bookstore to Clemson was more than a 40-minute drive. Didn’t matter that there was Amazon.com and other online bookstores, he wanted to real thing, so goodbye Clemson.

Did you know that the first thing you see at the University of North Carolina when you’re walking from the visitor’s parking lot to the Admissions building was a cemetery? True story. And, yeah, that’s pretty much what made Sarcasmo scratch that school off his list. Just a bit too creepy.

College of Charleston? Spread out over too many actual city streets. Sarcasmo was afraid of the possibility of getting run over by a bus when he was on his way to class.

Sarcasmo wasn’t the only one who learned things during this trip, though. I learned that he’s not my actual clone. When given a choice between chocolate and vanilla, he’ll go with chocolate while I love a good vanilla. There. Big difference.

We also had a good time during our hotel stops. We’d eat out, read a little back at the hotel, make fun of the movies playing on tv, read a little more and then sleep. I like to think we drew a little closer during the trip, but that’s not something you can really ask a 16-year-old. I’m going to have to go with my intuition on this one.

When we got home, Sarcasmo was happiest that his brother, Zippy the Monkey Boy, would be doing something similar next summer. Unfortunately, we’ve got bad news for the oldest dude. Seems his brother already pretty much knows where he wants to go and what he wants to study so his road trip will, of necessity, be much shorter. Thank goodness.

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