Friday, June 07, 2013

Bard College Commencement 2013, Dinner c/o Osaka

The next day was just as gloomy, overcast and not terribly warm as the preceding day. I woke up at a far more leisurely hour than I normally do...but then I don't usually go to sleep at five in the morning. L. and I knew that we wanted some delicious Dunkin Donuts coffee (the sheer amount of money, gas and time we expended on Dunkin Donuts coffee during our college years would be astonishing if quantified). I also felt a very strong need to go to the Bagel Shoppe. Of course there is no photographic proof of our doing either thing. But we did. I swear. Then there was a fair amount of lollygagging. C. and L. went to the library to find their senior projects while I tried to take a nap but really just took a lot of photographs of cicadas. Eventually it was getting close to the actual start of the graduation, whose commencement speaker was Gabby Giffords and her husband. That story and how far she has come and how much it reflects the ills of our current gun policies makes her an incredibly effective symbol. In any case, I stopped by the tent but it seemed like kids were still filing in and there would be much pomp and circumstance before the commencement speech. So I wandered on to the campus center to meet up with C., K. and L.
I could have told some stories about all the times I drove to Dunkin Donuts.
When I attended Bard the cafeteria had two sections: the smoking section and the non-smoking section. I can say with some regret and some weird pride that I ate in the non-smoking section a total of perhaps five times. It was a bigger room and the acoustics were weird and so I, like so many others, took up permanent cafeteria residency in "the paranoids" smoking section. Times change and for the better, so that enclosed smoky space has now become just another seating is also where we gathered to listen to the commencement speeches while staying out of the icky weather. Gabby Giffords' husband did the majority of the speaking, and I found his point that he and his wife both are gun owners an interesting and valid one. My opinion on guns isn't going to change anybody else's, but I really just feel like there is a pretty easy balance to be made if crazy people on both sides just kind of shut their mouths. The Libertarian fringe compound guy in Montana needs to understand that while he certainly has the right to bear arms, he doesn't have the right to become his own personal army. The extremely leftist vegetarian activist needs to understand that not all gun owners are the Libertarian fringe compound guy (and that one could argue that hunting for one's meat is a far more noble method of being a carnivore than relying on factory farms). Easier said than done of course. My point is mainly the point he made: everyone needs to make compromises and see the greater harm that could come about if they are not made (like the attempted assassination of HIS WIFE). Moving on.
Then it was time for a more official reunion event at Blithewood. The weather continued to be windy, cold and altogether not to my liking. I also became overwhelmed by the additional new faces that were added to the mix from the night before. I like people and talking to them. But man alive there is a limit to just how many conversations I can enjoy with people I haven't really kept in touch with...especially if it's cold. I also just wasn't feeling like getting totally tanked again, so while many were enjoying the free spirits and beer at the reunion tent, I mainly stuck to one beer and cheese. None of which is photographed because I was getting edgy.
After our reunion photograph I was feeling a little spent. C. was feeling very cold. K. was making friends with everybody, but also wanted sushi. And so our three different states combined and it was decided that C. and I would walk back to north campus to get my car, which we would then drive back down to Blithewood in order to pick up K., and then we would all zoom our way to Tivoli for a meal at Osaka. This plan went well. C. and I ended up getting a bit of a lift from yet another golf cart. K. was about done making friends by the time we picked her up, and Osaka had no line for tables. We all got variations of a maki combination, which came with soup and salad.
I think I ordered the spicy combination, or maybe the special one? I should really track that down, but I am not going to.
So much sushi. So much fun.
After dinner we rushed back in order to see the always spectacular fireworks...but we really arrived just in time to see the end. K. and C. went to see who else was still hanging around, but my decision not to drink and overall tiredness from not getting a proper nap (oh my god I sound like I'm 95, next thing you know I'm going to be talking about the merits of prune juice for digestions) led to a desire to just go somewhere warm and dry. To that end I returned to north campus and the class of 2003 dorm, where I ran into J. and D. and S. and B. and a few other folks. S. insisted that J. and I take a photograph together but he was, shall we say, a wee bit tipsy and couldn't quite take the photo himself. So he asked D. to do it...but D. is like nine million feet tall and didn't really know exactly what S. wanted from a photo. So below are three of many more photographs of J. and I trying to please S.'s directions. 
J. and I were both in the photo program at Bard. We ended up sharing a dark room our senior year...except he printed almost entirely digitally, which meant that really I got a dark room to myself. His senior project was especially clever. I had a total artistic crush on him. No big deal. Now he and B. are embarking on a new venture that is just as much deserving of a crush.
It got kind of ridiculous.
B. jumped in on this one.
My night pretty much ended at this point. I went down to my basement room to regroup but never quite made it back up, though I did hear the ragings of a party for many hours afterwards. I kind of regret not rallying, but really I was pleased with the overall experience and didn't want to mar it by any new shenanigans.

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