Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Lost Berliner

Most people's kids bring home an abandoned baby bird or puppy or squirrel at some point. Leave it to Eric to bring home a German.

This poor kid is an exchange student at Eric and Katie's school, and today was his first day. He's in Eric's Algebra II class. There was some miscommunication with his host mother, so he tried to find a bus home, but of course he's in an unfamiliar city and an unfamiliar country. So he walked here with Eric and Katie, who couldn't find a bus either (they're transfer students).

It's not an unmanageable walk, but it's not short. "How far is that, anyway?" I asked Eric. "About four miles?"

"Maybe two," he said.

"Oh, I'm sure it's more than that," I insisted. "It's got to be nearly four, anyway."

"I don't think it's more than three," he said.

"Three and a half," I told him, "and that's my final offer."

We shook on it.

Anyway, three and a half miles, in Texas late summer heat, can't be pleasant for an uninitiated Northern European, so of course I offered to drive the kid the rest of the way home. He wasn't sure where the house is - he just got here two days ago - but remembered the address, so we google-mapped it, and good grief, it's halfway to Dripping Springs. I'm not sure why he's going to my kids' school at all.

Traffic's always a bitch, so I didn't get the poor guy home until nearly seven. His host mother came running out of the house, out of breath. "He should never have tried to get on a bus," she said. "He doesn't have my phone number. He doesn't have anybody's phone number. The police are on their way. - I mean, thank you. But he is in so much trouble!"

Her dog, concerned with matters of more immediate material interest, calmly jumped into my car.

I hope the kid gets a break. I remember how huge Austin was when I first moved here in 1986 to go to UT - at the age Eric is now, actually - and it's a hell of a lot huger now. I came here from Madison, Alabama; whether this is more or less of a foreign country than Germany is probably open for debate.

At least everyone is now safely back where they belong, because I did not, in fact, bring the dog home.

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At September 06, 2007 10:03 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

There's a milk carton thread going on at snopes right now (that's the actual title, I thought it was cute). I reported that you were alive and well in real life as far as I know because I haven't actually talked to you in a while. Gayle suggested that you could probably use a beer. I do think it's high time the three of us (others welcome of course) go out.

At September 07, 2007 12:40 AM, Blogger Beth said...

I could so totally use a beer it is not even funny. As if being able to use a beer were normally funny. Let's get together. This weekend? Lemme know when you're free... thanks for thinking of me; hi snopes!!


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