Monday, June 02, 2003

Pomp And Circumstance

Oh yeah -- Graduation was Sunday, and it went off without a hitch -- if by "without a hitch" one means "a long vague day punctuated by moments of chaos and panic." Mostly the morning was memorable. Some highlights:

9:20 a.m. After breaking an hour into eight-minute sleepsegments with the snooze alarm, wake up with faint memory of Darcie leaving with the baby to go usher at commencement.

9:30 a.m.-- 9:50 a.m. Put on shirt; take off shirt; put on deodorant; put on shirt. Iron tie. Put tie on poorly. Iron tie again. Put tie on. Take tie off; iron shirtcollar. Put on shirt, tie, suit, graduation gown, the mortarboard with the mickey mouse ears. Put hood on incorrectly.

10:00 a.m. Go downstairs to look for Sam, a wheelchair-bound advisee who cannot get on or off the bus so needs a ride. Find no Sam. Assume, nervously but ultimately correctly, that Sam must be going over with his mother after spending the night at his Boston-area home 2 hours away.

10:05 a.m. Get into car. Get out of car. Realize that keys are in the front seat of Darcie's car, which is now six miles away and phoneless in the auditorium on the other campus. Rummage through four days worth of pants pockets just to be sure, just to be doing something.

10:15 a.m. Hitch ride with graduating senior from Turkey. Thank God.

10:15 a.m. - 10:25 a.m. Endure Beatles music as we wait in traffic to get dropped off at the auditorium. Reconsider thanks to God.

10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Graduation.
  • Rain-dampened faculty line-up in cramped green room.

  • Faculty march-in and up the stairs to settle into painful wood 100-year-old pews.

  • Class Orator Rob, the first postgraduate chosen for the honor in quite a while, delivers unmemorable speech -- something about the difference between the rough streets where he used to be and the higher-on-Maslow's-pyramid choices he could make here at NMH.

  • Colin '03 passes the spade -- representing the work program and the commitment to community service. Diana '04 accepts on behalf of the Junior Class

  • Speaker Francis Moore Lappe delivers a speech about choosing hope, not fear. Speech verges on rousing, but never quite climaxes.

  • 400 seniors and postgraduates march slowly across the stage as their names are read. Sam's wheelchair cannot get onto the stage, so everything stops at L while the Headmaster walks majestically off stage and to the floor, where he hands Sam his diploma. Crowd of thousands surges to their feet. Reportedly, Sam is crying, although the stage's edge blocks my view.

  • School Song Jerusalem sung. Seniors cry. Everyone yells the line "bring me my arrows of desire" gleefully, even the normally disapproving faculty.

1:30 p.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Hide in apartment. Out the window kids pack, hug each other while their parents stand around awkwardly, drive off one by one.

3:30 p.m. -- 5:00 p.m. After the last stuffed SUV drives off college-bound into the sunset, walk through the hollow-sounding trash-littered war zones of the dormitory. Fold, pack, and put away for Goodwill several huge boxes of designer clothes, shoes, sporting goods, books and random objects of the accumulated one-year life of a few kids, mostly foreign, who have the cash to burn during the weekly mall trips all year but cannot bring everything back to their country. Find and keep a microfiber winter coat, a brand new Banna Republic raincoat, a few books, a pair of binoculars, a 40 pound weight set for Ginny.

5:30 p.m. Drive away from an empty campus.

6:30 p.m. -- about 8:00 p.m. Too many Pied PIPAs, a grilled steak burrito and a farmer's sausage quesadilla at the People's Pint in Greenfield.

? Haze, blurriness. Television. No noises in the hall at all.

Ahhhhhhhh...Summer. Drunken, drunken summer. The hangover was worth it.

[UPDATE 6/3/03 12:56 a.m.: Seems students leaving great stuff behind is a common phenomenon: Today's Boston Globe marvels at the discarded items at Colby College:
258 pairs of women's pants, 199 T-shirts, 40 winter hats...discarded clothes, food and furniture...scales, clocks, mirrors, lamps, ice skates, bicycle helmets, piggy banks, paperback novels, computer printers, stereo systems, and even a few George Foreman Grills were found in the trash.]

posted by boyhowdy | 8:08 PM |

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