Saturday, April 6, 2013


In honor of it being Conference time, here's a story about a different Conference time when things didn't go as planned, but it was okay anyway.

This was a few Conference times ago, when I lived in Provo and was yet unmarried. My traditional practice was to catch the bus to my parents' house in between the Saturday Afternoon and Priesthood sessions, then spend the rest of the weekend at home and get a ride back, due to a shocking lack of the 822 on Sundays. This plan worked well when the 822 ran more-or-less hourly on Saturdays:

822 SB (BYU Wilkinson Center)

I would catch the 5:00 bus, get home in time to watch the Priesthood session, and spend a placid evening and next day in the company of mine. Of course, I had to spend a decent portion of the 4:00 hour getting myself to BYU, but it was a short walk, and there were several buses, if I timed it right (you always have to time it right on a Saturday).

Then, the 822 was reduced on Saturdays, so the schedule looked like this:

822 SB (BYU Wilkinson Center)

This created a conundrum. I am a stickler about catching all of Conference, even listening on an iPod at work when I had to work on Saturdays. But the new schedule made it difficult: I would have to catch the 4:00 bus to make it home in time for the Priesthood Session, but I didn't want to spend the 3:00 hour missing conference while trying to get to BYU. The problem was confounded by the 831 schedule, which had concurrently been reduced to 90-minute frequency:

831 SB (500 North University Avenue)

If I wanted to be a stickler about taking the bus, and if I wanted to be a stickler about catching all of Conference (yes; yes), there was only one way to do it. I was pretty pleased with myself for figuring it out.

It was a perfect plan, with one complication: other humans.

(A complication shared with so many of my plans)

We were watching the first session of Conference at my apartment; it so happened that at the same time, one of my roommates was making crepes. When he was done making crepes, he paused the TV right in the middle of Elder Scott's talk and, when we looked up in shock, said, "Guys, we're TiVo-ing it. Now come get some crepes.!"

The crepes were quite excellent. But our crepe interlude lasted for about 45 minutes, and I began to worry that I wouldn't make my 831. I did, but I had to shower more quickly than I had been expecting.

The Saturday ride on the 831 from 500 North University Avenue to BYU was 5 minutes. It is rather remarkable, therefore, that during this specific 5 minutes I should happen to get a call from an old mission buddy, who was going to a Chinese buffet and wanted to know if I wanted to come along. I have never, as far as I can remember, turned down free food. So it was that, as the 831 was pulling into BYU, my friend was waiting in his car to take me to . . . 300 North University Avenue. Oh, well.

As I walked back to my apartment after the second free meal of the day, I realized that my plans had been thrown off again: I was in no position to catch the 822 at BYU, and the Saturday afternoon session was about to begin.

I had already told my roommates that I was leaving for the day, and, not wanting to confuse them more than I already did with my odd ways, I decided not to return to my apartment. Instead, I peeked into the apartment two doors down, where several people living and not living at the apartment had gathered, to see if I could join them. They acquiesced (always throws me off when they do that), and I spent a pleasant first hour-or-so of the Afternoon session in their company.

But then it came time to catch the bus again. I had to tear myself away and head out to the bus stop. Fortunately, the drivers had rotated in the meantime, so I avoided the awkward experience of having the driver stare at me for getting on twice in the same place without making a return trip in between (it's happened before).

I spent another 5 minutes on the 831, following which I watched the rest of the Afternoon session in the Traditions Lounge in the Wilkinson Center (my original location of choice). During the closing hymn, I tore myself away again (like I said, stickler) and walked out and onto the 822 that had already been sitting there for several minutes. the rest of the weekend went as planned. I think I probably missed about one talk. I've had worse.

I was sitting here thinking about past conferences (including the one where commutergirl and I had an argument that led to our getting engaged; ask me sometime), and this story came to mind. It was from a time in my life where I didn't have very many people to turn to.  It's nice to have friends.

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