December 16 8:25 PM

 
On Thursday, I sold back two of my textbooks for 69 dollars, keeping a third (I have to take the class again).  Before leaving, I ran into an old friend from the old school: Mun So-yeon.  I had started to like her a bit back then, but she wasn’t that receptive; and then my friend Victor started to like her.  I mentioned that fact to her on Thursday, and she mentioned to me the fact of his current girlfriend.  She said she had classes in both BYU Salt Lake and LDSBC; she lives in Provo and belongs to that school.  We brought up our trips to Korea last year…  She had gone to Pusan.  During that summer, we had e-mailed and brought up the idea of meeting, but it never happened.  Namkyu appeared just then coming out of the bookstore (we were in front of the elevators), and they two made acquaintance and chattered a bit in Korean almost simple enough for me to catch.
 
What a polite girl…

From school, I went to Temple Square and listened to some of the visiting choirs, then walked around a little.  The multilingual display at the north visitors center has been malfunctioning for weeks now.  The square is beautiful anyway.

 
Driving home down State Street, I was trapped for a few blocks behind some… what were they… must’ve been escaped circus monkeys who’d found their way into some vehicles.  When I finally was able to get around them, I sped up a bit to break up the traffic jam they were about to create.  And right then, some police car appears out of nowhere in a parking lot on the right.  I hit the brakes, but he’d already started to inch forward.  Somehow, the cars behind me had all just disappeared; I glimpsed the nearest one turning right at the intersection I’d just passed.  I was coming to the next intersection…  I moved into the left turn lane hoping the officer would get a better idea than to hound me, but he was already coming on to the road; no sirens on yet or anything.  Completing my turn, I weighed for a moment whether I could vanish into the backroads there.  On the corner I’d just turned left around was a gas station, so I did another quick left turn into it, driving through and coming back out on to State Street, the opposite direction I’d just come.  That officer must’ve been bored… ’cause he had followed me right through the gas station.  As I saw him come on to State Street, I figured my options had been used up, so I saved him the trouble and pulled over to the side.  He pulled over behind me and flipped on his lights perfunctorily… and my thoughts turned to my savings account.
 
He walked up calmly; he was some young-looking blond guy with a mild voice.  I doubted he was very much older than me.  He said he was Officer Hanson.  He told me I’d been going 44 in a 30 zone, and noted that I couldn’t go through gas stations from the intersection like that.  He borrowed my license and asked me for my insurance and registration records.  I was still going through my old insurance receipts when he came back; I could find no registration form.  He told me my vehicle checked out anyway, and not to worry about it.  I showed him my insurance anyway.  I asked him if he knew how much the ticket would cost…  He wondered about my driving record for the past 3 years; I wasn’t sure.  He asked about the past year, and I said there was nothing during that year.  He handed me a ticket showing that 44 and 30, and calling the excess amount 5 over.  He said that he thought that only being 5 over would not affect my record.  He estimated that it would cost about 92 dollars…  I signed the ticket and got a copy, then thanked him for his work before we parted.
 
I quickly decided to take the loss as a blessing…  It did humble me a little, rid me of the idea that I was some sort of freeway deity.  And… well, whenever I lose money unexpectedly, I do whatever I can to turn it into a gain… because I hate the idea of having my pockets picked, and I don’t want my praise of God to be half-hearted because of perceived injustice.  So, I thought I would try to work back the money…

On Friday morning, I asked the supervisor at our airport facility, Adam, whether I could work some nights next week or not.  He said I could just "pop in" whenever I wanted…  I went back that very night, and discovered that night shifts are a lot more difficult than morning ones because of a lack of workers.

 
Well, now I find myself with a lot more flexibility in that job, and I’m sure I’ll make back that ticket cost and more.  So it was a benefit after all, not unlike the Masami accident.
 
On Friday, I went to the D.I. just for fun.  I bought three books, nothing really exciting.  As I was browsing, some worker there, a South African woman, started talking to me.  Her name was Khaya…  She seemed a unique character… although that might be explained by the scent of inebriation I thought I detected.  Maybe it came from another customer…  Well, anyway, I crave amiability, having been surrounded for so long by people and students with naught but a few seconds to spare on strangers.  After conversing for a while, she accompanied me to the storefront and left her contact information on one of my books.
 
As I was buying gas at Maverik that day, I saw these chocolates selling at three for a dollar.  I bought six of them and took them with me to school, sharing them with Inonge, Monde, and some others.  They were so good that I went back later to buy more.  I decided I should stock up on them and give them to my family on Christmas; I spent another sixteen dollars…
 
Either Thursday or Friday, I was sitting in the school computer lab next to Pashka, a Mongolian girl first introduced to me by Tugsuu.  With some input from her, I scribbled up a little budget on Excel… for a Mongolia trip next summer!  Exciting.
 
On Saturday morning, consequent to my working the Friday night shift, I got to work late; I arrived at around 6:30 instead of 5.  I had a hard time even convincing myself to go; I was still a tiny bit sore from the night before.
 
After work, I went to the ward to help with the stake service project.  Things were being assembled…  There was a lack of instruction; I just went to one of the busy tables and tried to figure out what they were doing.  I got the hang of stuff before long, and started to help Sethrina, some girl, and Ari Menon, a 6th-warder and recent returnee from an India mission, co-ordinate the assembly.  We were making little school supply gift packages for elementary school students.  It went well, but we ran out of some supplies and had to substitute others.
 
In the afternoon, Shane and I decided to put up Christmas lights outside the house.  We sorted them out, and he got up on the roof and hooked them on.  We used… our same four strands that we’ve had for a long time.  We also contemplated buying some more and stringing up one of our trees…  Shanna was there with us; it was a nice time.
 
In the evening, I left to go meet Tugsuu so we could go to our friend Hector Arreaza’s wedding reception.  We never quite made it, though… owing to a difference between Tugsuu and me that I considered substantial enough to cancel the evening’s plan, and all subsequent plans.  There are not many things worse than a trusted friend turning against everything you think is important.
 
Today, Nora had not planned to teach the lesson as I was expecting (I just taught last week).  Nora is an LDSBC student from Uganda who is homestaying with a family in our ward, and she just got set as a teacher to replace Brook Olsen, who together with me was installed a couple months ago as young single adult gospel class instructor.  Brook just left for the MTC; she’s going to Illinois or somewhere…  Also now, Scott Manookin is joining us as a teacher.  Anyway, Nora had not expected to teach, and neither had Scott, who had not even been set apart yet.  Jeff Einfeldt, our… what?  Chaperone?  Adult supervisor?  Anyway, he used to teach every third week… but he evidently has stopped doing that.  I ran up and grabbed a lesson manual from the library, looked it over for a few minutes, and muddled through a lesson on 1 and 2 Peter and Jude.  I’m happy now that I won’t do any worse in future lessons than I did this week.
 
Hm.  My Korean friend is coming this week…  We exchanged messages once more since last time, pleasantries.  I haven’t added her back on Messenger…
 
And, as I thought might happen… after these weeks, I’ve become accustomed to the absence.  She is buried, and grass is beginning to grow atop the grave.  …And I’m strong again.  And I think…  Well, I make no guarantees yet, but I think… she has gone back like before, back when she was a non-member…: she has become unworthy to love, in my eyes.  I can do better.
 
What an ultimate irony, that I cried last spring when she said the same words to me.
 
But…  If there’s one thing I ought to have learned about love by now, it’s to speak neither good nor ill of the future.  Time works strangely on the heart.
 
-Steve
 
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