The situation: I'm one of the co-coordinators of our ethnomusicology paper workshop, which generally draws about fifteen people per session. I am the co-coordinator in charge of schlepping the refreshments. They all fit in one big old Treasure Island shopping bag, but it's enough of a pain in the butt to drag that to school that I usually take the bus on days when I have the EthNoise food bag.
The CTA, in its infinite wisdom, sets abnormally short buses along the U of C school routes. These buses fill up almost from the first stop. And I mean fill -- I once read a Richard Scarry story about a character in Tokyo whose job it was to physically cram people into the trains, and that's about the level of the school buses. They get even fuller as the temperature drops. And today, it's about ten degrees colder than the average for this time in November.
Therefore, the ten o'clock bus did not stop at my stop this morning. Just zoomed right by, leaving about a dozen cold, disgruntled students in its wake. I'm particularly disgruntled; I don't take this bus when I don't need to, but I really need it this morning because I have the food bag. The next bus will probably be a) delayed and b) full as well, because that's just how these things work out.
So we're standing there, cold and disgruntled, when this car pulls up to the curb. It has a driver and a passenger in the front seat, and the passenger rolls down her window and calls out, "We're going to campus. We can take two people with us if someone wants a ride!"
Just like that. Completely random. Someone was kind enough to stop and offer a ride to school, for no better reason than that it was cold outside and they had two extra seats in the car. The food bag and I got to school in plenty of time for me to put the food in the fridge and chitchat with the department secretary a little before class.
Sometimes, my faith in humanity is restored.
(Of course, I also saw the professor of the class I was going to, who confessed shamefacedly that he hadn't corrected my paper because he'd forgotten that I'd e-mailed it to him -- the Music Department is trying this whole "going green" thing -- which also restored my faith in the consistency of human nature.)(I don't mind not getting this paper back instantly; it wasn't a major project. But the look on his face when he confessed that he'd forgotten about mine was just priceless.)
Also, I went to see a dissertation defense today. The process isn't nearly as scary as I'd imagined, and the defender passed, so all is good.