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November 24, 2008

Break a 20? Pretty please?

November 24. Day 147.

Quick, allow me to write something now, so yesterday's entry falls a little bit lower on the page.

I spent the entire day at the library, a place I don't often venture. That's because I like my libraries like I like my steak -- rare.

After setting up a pile of books I needed to photocopy, I realized I needed a copy card. For future reference, here's how to get a copy card at the UCSD library.

Step 1. If driving, stop by the visitor's booth on Gilman Drive to get a parking permit.

Step 2. Look for a spot that's marked B or C, but not A and not a meter. If it's before 4:30. After 4:30, meters are acceptable. But still not A.

Step 3. Collect books from the seventh floor.

Step 4. Take a break and walk to the Price Center, a student area and food court about 10 minutes away (including elevator time).

Step 5. Spill a full cup of hot coffee all over yourself.

Step 6. Now you are ready to start copying.

Step 7: Walk back to the library, and stop at the copy card machine. On the way, remove credit card from wallet so you're ready to roll.

Step 8: Read "Cash only" sign on the machine.

Step 9: Discover you only have $20 bills. Much more than necessary.

Step 10. Read "No change given" sign on the machine.

Step 11: Ask the circulation desk rep if she could break a $20 into two tens, or whatever denomination is easiest for her.

Step 12: Be informed that the closest place to break any bill is back at the Price Center.

Step 13: Scamper away from circulation desk.

Step 14: Find a group of undergrads. A trio of guys rushing into the elevator, ideally.

Step 15. Stop them just as the elevator door starts beeping, and force them to wait while you ask if someone could please break a $20.

Step 16. As they hesitate, let images of Price Center or accosting more students dance in your head.

Step 17. Add "Pretty please?"

Step 18. Wait while one guy removes a wad of dollar bills from his pocket and starts counting, shuffling, digging around for more. Thank him. Meanwhile, his friends get more annoyed, so smile apologetically. Thank them too. His friends must then decide to leave without him. He remains alone, wrapping up this good deed.

Step 19. Say $19 is fine, so he can be on his way.

Step 20. Accept the $20

Step 21. Retrieve copy card.

Gained: Didn't walk back to the Price Center -- saved 15 to 20 minutes -- and valiantly helped an undergrad procrastinate.
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