Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 15, 2004 - Rhodes College Graduation

What I absolutely love about this horrifically dreary selection from my college memoir is that it reflects the reality of what graduation represented to me ten years ago today  - a disruptive, depressing life event that I had absolutely no control over and was not emotionally prepared for. 

But you know what?  It all turned out okay. :)

Excerpted from Chapter 14: So Yesterday (Baccalaureate and Graduation) 

We all were up early and my immediate reaction upon pulling myself out of bed was that I was sick.

I wasn’t sure if this was because I was sad or because I hadn’t slept much. Probably a combination of both. Adding to the stress was the fact that we still didn’t know if graduation was going to be in Fisher Garden [on campus] or Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church [because of bad weather]...

Mom called at 7:35 and I was still lying in bed. She said that she had called and the ceremony would be in Fisher Garden as planned. She didn’t trust this completely and asked me to call and confirm. I did, and I also checked the website. For once, something was going right...

Graduation Day
The ceremony wasn’t all that long. It started with a speech from President Troutt, who said, “I’m so glad to be here this morning in Fisher Garden. In fact, aren’t we all glad to be here this morning in Fisher Garden,” which prompted cheers from faculty, students, and parents alike. I couldn’t imagine going through graduation at a church. This was just so much more special.

And so, one by one, we walked the stage. The very stage where Jordan, Greta, Kara, and I had summoned the dead a few months earlier [for a seance around Halloween]. As I heard my name called, I winced to here Dr. Lewellyn say, “Becky Heineken.” All that trouble of going and recording my name in the damned tape machine and I got “Heineken-ed,” as Melissa put it.

[After the ceremony, which was an hour shorter than predicted, we sent my brother off to a Blink-182 concert in St. Louis with some friends, and my parents and I went to lunch.  While there, we ran into a classmate of mine whom I didn't really know, but who I had been comically running into at a rate of about ten times a day during the move-out process.]

We had lunch reservations at Paulette’s at 1:00, and so did everyone else in the world, including (of course) the Edgecombes. Imagine Mom, Dad, and me trying to hold ourselves together when that family walked in the door. Needless to say, we didn’t do a very good job and by that time, Robert was giving me weird looks, possibly thinking that I was stalking him. Oh, Robert, I have stalked many, but you were not among them.

After that, I don’t really remember much of the afternoon. I was trying too hard not to be sad when really all I wanted to do was curl in a ball and cry for hours on end. Eventually, Mom and Dad left me back at the apartment and I was all alone.

[In case it wasn't glaringly apparent, I was really fucking depressed about graduating. Blah, blah, I'm sad...]

Vintage:  My thoughts on Angel's cancellation.
So sad was I later that evening that I started to watch an episode of Angel from the week before that I had downloaded due to failure to tape - making matters worse was the fact that Angel was going off the air, thus ending the eight-year Whedon reign on my viewership, and leaving me to wonder what was left for me in the world of television. As I sat in the empty apartment, with only David Boreanaz and his illegally-procured face as comfort, I got through about two and a half acts before the phone rang. It was Kara. She was at the Saucer with her family and wanted to know if I wanted to join. Preferring this greatly to the pathetic night I had ahead, I jumped in the car and headed downtown...

I noticed that [the regular] bouncer was working at the Saucer and was a little thrown when he enthusiastically greeted me with a hug. I tried to act like that was normal behavior but seeing as how he never did that again, I’m not so sure I pulled that one off.  [Years before the Slider Inn existed, my regular bar was the Flying Saucer.  The bouncer there used to flirt with me, but I was twenty-two going on nine and apparently didn't understand flirting.]

Once inside, I realized that [Kara's family] was in the middle of great revelry. They managed to rack up a sixty-plus dollar tab and Kara’s brothers were playing pool with some fellow patrons. I told Kara that I had just found out, via e-mail, that there was going to be a graduation party at Jillian’s across the street starting at 9:00...

We decided to head across the street and just check it out (I also was not keen to leave the premises alone in fear of another sign of affection as I egressed). [The word "egressed" has been brought to you by my stupidly expensive Rhodes education.] So the two of us jetted out and walked into a completely dreary party that hadn’t really gotten started. Much to Kara’s jubilation, Skippy and Haney were there, and she managed to talk a few minutes to them before we left. [Her family] then decided to go over to Beale Street, but I took this as my cue to go home. I was tired, immensely sad, and this was not my family. It was time to crawl in bed and cry...

2014 me, again: So where am I now?  Incredibly glad that I wrote this.  Terribly sad that Kara won't be here in five months' time when we have our class reunion.  And immensely proud of that little girl who couldn't stop crying about leaving college for (eventually) sucking it up. 

(And also kind of relieved that I never again devoted myself to a television show the way I did Buffy and Angel.  Total overkill on my part with those two.)

No comments:

Post a Comment