Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Graduation Story

Once upon a time, this blog was more about random stories than how my life was derailing, and I think I'd like to get back to that.  I was trying to think of a good story to tell, and in the process of transferring pictures from my old computer to this new one (permanent hard drive damage, the poor thing was over five years old, anyway) I found this magic moment:

Allow me to explain.  This was the photo in my college's quarterly magazine of my graduation ceremony back in 2010.  It came out after I had already gone on to grad school, but my parents sent it to me because it captured one of the most disappointing moments of their lives.  Please note the circled area of the photo:

That's my family, but more on that in a bit.  First, have a little back story: my parents and older brother came to see me graduate, and it was some complicated business.  My brother lives in Pennsylvania, and was having car trouble at the time this all took place, so my parents drove up to get him and brought him back to Ohio the day before driving six hours to my school in Illinois.  All that car time made them good and worn out, not to mention a little tired of each other by the time I saw them.  We had dinner, packed most of my stuff, then they hit up the hotel and I didn't see them until after the ceremony.  And when I did see them again, they were pissed.

Apparently, my family got up extra early in order to get the best seats for my graduation.  I'm the first of us to get a degree, so it was kind of a big deal, and they were excited.  Over an hour passes.  Then the ceremony starts, and a bunch of really boring and long-winded people speak for an amazingly long period of time.  More hours pass.  Then it finally comes time for us graduates to stand and line up for our walk.  My college is pretty small, but there are still several hundred people to get through, so they are calling the names quickly and we are all basically booking it across the stage.  My time draws near.  In the first row of the audience seating, my family sits up straighter in order to see.

My mother's camera is at the ready.

Then, the unthinkable happens.

Just as my name is called, a large man in purple shuffles by in front of them, blocking their view.  By the time he passes, I'm already done.  They missed it.  Hours upon hours of driving, followed by hours upon hours of droning speeches, all for what?  They had absolutely nothing to show for themselves.  In short, a travesty.

Everything that happened afterwards, the last bit of packing, the "celebratory" dinner, the six hour drive back home, was cast in the gloomy shadow of this nameless, purple-wearing ruiner of my parents dreams.  They even had a picture of him, since my mother already had her finger on the shutter button when he walked by.  All they talked about for days afterwards was this guy and how much he sucked.  I felt bad for them, but I was getting tired of it.  After all, I still graduated, didn't I?  Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean it isn't real.  They believe in god, so it shouldn't have been so hard for them.

By the time I moved to southern Ohio for grad school, everything had pretty much blown over.  I was there a couple weeks, still getting settled in, when I got an e-mail from my mother.  "You won't believe this," it read, "they caught it on film!"  Which brings us back to the picture I showed earlier, with my family circled.  Let's take a closer look at them, shall we?

You see that?  That's my family right in the middle of having their view obstructed by an asshat in a purple shirt.  Poor guys.  Just when they were starting to recover, my school had to add insult to injury by immortalizing the moment in print for every current and former student of the institution to see.  I couldn't believe it.  I immediately called my mother, just so she could hear how hard I was laughing.  She did not laugh along.

And so went the first major accomplishment in my life.  At least everyone except my parents got to see it, right?


On a somewhat unrelated note, I've been thinking more about this Blogging from A to Z Challenge coming up in April.  At first I was just going to go with random topics, because the thought of having some kind of theme made me cringe.  However, I started trying to pick topics for each letter, and I realized the things I was coming up with were too broad to be addressed in daily entries.  If you haven't noticed, my entries tend to be on the longer side, and I highly doubt I'm going to put together any of my challenge entries together ahead of time, so obviously I am going to have to make them shorter.
So I came up with idea of using songs.  Each day I'll find a song starting with the appropriate letter and tell a little story about its significance or something it reminds me of.  Nice and simple.  I'm also going to try and write a normal entry once a week from now on.  Keeping ideas flowing and getting them out is good for my sanity.  One blog entry and one poem, every week from now until... whenever.  For my health.

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