South Park Self

putting out fires with gasoline

I was driving up Klipper Rd to campus yesterday morning, and there was a dude stopped on the side of the road with his car on fire. Literally on fire. The bonnet was aflame in a more or less circular patch across most of it. I have no idea what would cause that degree of catastrophic failure, but it was beyond catastrophic. Someone actually photographed it, which must have been a few minutes after I passed it, viz:

When I drove down in the evening it was a burned-out shell. No paint left at all. Gutted. It may have actually exploded. It was weirdly post-apocalyptic, and vaguely associated in my mind with student protesters burning buses. Maybe the car self-destructed in solidarity? But I can't actually get my head around how bad the engine problem actually has to be for that to happen so suddenly and completely.

Something else I can't get my head around: student narcissism. I was stopped ten minutes before the end of the day by a student, who wanted advice, from me, now, and would not accept that I wasn't available, wasn't the right person, and the advice she needed could be given tomorrow by other advisors who were there expressly for that purpose. Followed me to my office. Sat in the chair asking questions about course choices, and every time I told her "no, please sort this out tomorrow", seemed not to comprehend. Argued more, tried to slide in more course questions, talked about her medical condition and the difficulties she was having, which seemed to be largely imaginary. I eventually invented an appointment, twenty minutes later, and threw her out, still trying to con me into giving her detailed advice for which I had consistently told her I was not available. Who does that? what the hell is going on in her head that she cannot compute that I have other pressing commitments which make me unavailable to her, and to address which there is an elaborate system to ensure she receives the advice she needs? I accept that students are largely just post-adolescent and have not yet experienced the Total Perspective Vortex, but seriously, I think that was pathological.
We've had problems over here with the Vauxhall (VW?) Zaphira. They have a nasty tendency to burst into flames for no apparent reason - including the ones which have been 'passed' by the registered dealers!

As for the female student - was she white entitled? Or so focussed on her problems that she couldn't/wouldn't listen to you?