Editor's Query

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I was working my way through college on the janitorial staff of a summer field biology school in northern Michigan. I had been out late in a bar the night before, and at 6 a.m. found myself with a throbbing headache and the garbage to collect quickly from the laboratories before the students came in for classes.

As I drove down the narrow alley behind the labs, my way was blocked by a car parked by an early riser who was in a lab going over his bug specimens -- and who had been too lazy to walk the 100 yards from his cabin. I entered the lab impatiently but politely asked the student to move his car. I then collected the garbage and drove on down the alley, encountering another car, another lazy student, another delay

Finally, at the end of the alley, a station wagon was parked crossways. Out of patience, I got out, grabbed the garbage and threw it in the back of the truck. Then I climbed in the back myself, stood there with the garbage and loudly exclaimed, "I hope the @X&# who parked this @X&# car will come out and move the @X&# thing!"

To the sounds of tittering by a class of students in the lab taking a taxonomy exam, the very dignified older professor sauntered out next to the car she had used to bring in the plant specimens for the test. She looked me in the eye for a moment as I tried to disappear in place, then exclaimed in her quiet Texas drawl, "I don't mind you saying things like that to me, but it bothers me when you say that about my car."

Allen Solomon, Silver Spring

New query: Tell us about a time when a mundane chore turned especially creative. If you have a 100 percent true story taken from your own experience concerning the above query, send it to queries@washpost.com or The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Include your daytime phone number. Recount your story in 250 words or less.

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