My daughter called me late Friday night. She’s at the beach for a few days and without internet connection. Sounds like paradise to me. No idea why she’d call her mother. I sure as hell wouldn’t have when I was 21. But she did.
Of course, I thought something was wrong. “Hey, are you alright?”
“I’m fine. Why?”
Mothers don’t need a reason. “It’s kind of late.”
“Oh, I knew you’d be up.”
Well, okay, but still. I’d been thinking about going to bed. With the week I’ve had, I should have been in bed.
“Mom,” she said, “can you check my email for me?”
Yes dear, right after I don my cape and right all the wrongs in the universe. “Um, yeah, sure. How do I do that?”
“Go to webmail.xxx.edu and log in as me.”
Right. Of course. I’m completely familiar with this level of trust. “And your log in and password are?”
She had an impressively full inbox. There were several messages from people who had friended her on Facebook. “Who’s Mc Dots? Is that a person or a fast food menu item?”
“Oh, he’s a basketball player,” she said, laughing. “Did he friend me?”
“Yep.” Made sense, in a way that mothers worry about. You’re 5’9″ and gorgeous, basketball players will want to be your friend.
She asked what else was in there so I read her the sender names and subject lines. A couple she groaned about and said she’d read later. There was one from a law school touting the difficulties of attending said law school (difficulties I presume she will dismiss as insignificant) and the one she was looking for — more information about a voluntary “special project,” from the environmental law professor with whom she’s doing a summer internship.
I read the details to her and she said, “Mom, I need you to go to blackboard and check messages.”
Sure, no problem, seeing as how I’m still awake and all. “Okay, and where exactly is the blackboard in education these days? Will I need chalk?”
“Mom, don’t be weird.”
Got it. No weirdness. At least not on my part.
So I logged in and she walked me through the many confusing layers of blackboard until I got to the pertinent section. Where I discovered how awkward it is to read extracts of environmental case law over the phone. At midnight. I’m telling you, writing four-syllable words is entirely different from verbalizing lengthy paragraphs full of them.
Then she said, “Mom, you need to post a message from me.”
“What? No. I thought you said not to be weird.”
“No really, it’s fine. Just type what I tell you to type.”
So I did. It was painful. “Are you sure you want to use an exclamation point there? You just used one three sentences ago.”
“Mom. It’s not a thesis. Everyone talks like that on blackboard.” And so it went. Me, impersonating a college student on the intertubes.
If I can do it, anyone can. Keep that in mind.
We finished up with me informing her fellow volunteers which case she’d be examining and why. And let everyone know that, despite the lack of easy internet access, she’d send all the information about her case by early afternoon Saturday. So they could compile things and give their professor all the information he needed. So he could present it, before the Saturday evening deadline as requested, to his colleague. Who is serving as special counsel to a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The one holding hearings next week about the newest appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Yeah. That one. I understand they’ll be looking at a lengthy and complex history of decisions, summarized for them by a variety of sources.
Have I mentioned lately how very cool I think my daughter is? Even when she calls me at midnight.