Today, Mr. W and I brought 3 kids with us to visit UCLA. All 3 (not all his) want to attend my alma mater, so they were excited at the prospect of a tour. It was sweltering hot (in the 90s Fahrenheit), there was lots of walking involved both on campus and around the neighboring Westwood, but they had each other so they didn’t complain much. The two boys tossed a baseball back and forth to each other throughout their walk, but they did ask a few times whether we were close to the car. The answer was usually “HAHA, no.” Kids are so not used to physical exertion these days, not because their bodies can’t handle it (we had one cheerleader, 2 baseball players), but because they’re spoiled by technology. There’s a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon in which Calvin is bugging his mom to drive him to his friend’s house to play. His mom tells him to walk there, since it’s only a couple of blocks away. Calvin refuses to walk. His mom starts yelling, and ends with, “What do you think people have FEET for?!” Calvin yells back equally irrately, “To work the gas pedals!”

We got to show them much of the beautiful North campus and Sculpture Garden (where they played toss-the-tennis-ball with a huge yellow labrador retriever that was wading in the Sculpture Garden fountain and took photos hanging off a bossy looking fat woman statue), they bought souvenirs at the Student Store, walked through Powell Library and got to peek in a lecture hall doing a video presentation in Dodd Hall. They admired the state-of-the-art athletic facilities inside Pauley Pavilion and the Wooden Center. At one point, the five of us were studying an unusual looking sculpture, and I was in the front with my back turned to the kids. I heard a “wap!” and then the girl’s voice, “Ow!” I turned and the boys were grinning so I thought they threw the baseball at her and hit her. She turned around and gave the younger boy a dirty look, then looked around and realized it was a pine cone that fell from a tree overhead and hit her. She said, “I thought you threw the baseball at me! I was gonna shove you!” Her older brother said, “Man! I heard that, too! It made a sound as it dropped, like whoosh, BAM!” The girl, whom her dad always calls a drama queen, said, “If that had hit my head, I would have a CONCUSSION! Lookit, my hand’s all red! Ow!” I thought it was hilarious. On our way out of that area, we once again walked by that area, and she ran up to me and showed me the offending pine cone. “Lookit how hard it is! It totally hurt!” I said, “How do you know that’s the same pine cone?” “Because,” her brother said, “That’s the only one over there.” “Only you,” I told her. “Only you can stand in a big broad grassy area, and there would be just ONE pine cone falling, and it’d hit you.” She laughed and said, “I know, really.” I told her she should go buy a lottery ticket, cuz what are the chances? “But she has bad luck,” her brother pointed out.

In Westwood, we dropped by Diddy Rease’s, where they’ve been selling 2 freshly made cookies of your choice and a gob of ice cream of your choice to make an ice cream sandwich for $1, for as long as I’ve known of them. There’s always a line, which goes by fast because the people behind the counter spit out orders like nobody’s business. (I have no idea what that cliche means, but it seems appropriate here.) We’ve always marveled at the low price. Obviously, they make money off volume, but to have that price for over 12 years was impressive. (They sell a dozen cookies of your choice for $3.75, which the older boy bought.) However, we saw a posted sign that says they will be increasing their prices for the ice cream sandwiches to $1.25 starting June 5, so the 5 ice cream sandwiches we got today for $1 each would be our last time. 🙁 But heck, even at $1.25, I’d buy. You can’t get just a scoop of ice cream at any ice cream shop for that price.

I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since I went to school there. Time flies so quickly by when you don’t have midterms, finals and quarters to mark its passing.