Well, Matt's gone. Off to home for the time being while he sorts through his job potenial.
It all started yesterday morning (which inexplicably feels like three days ago) when I woke up at about 5 am, eager to get on the road with the sunrise. The day before, I had gotten mini packets of Crystal Light with caffeine (60 mgs per packet) and dumped two of them into my orange plastic water bottle. In my overnight bag, I had tucked S'mores pop tarts, this breakfast would save me several hundred calories and several hundred milligrams of sodium, which I would soon shoot to hell by eating breakfast with Matt at the diner when I got there.
I made pretty excellent time. I drank my highly caffinated beverage and nibbled on a singular pop tart and listened to Bean Trees on my ipod. No one was on the road going my way. I got there at around 7:15 and woke Matt up after I got up the highway, so he'd be somewhat coherent when I finally arrived.
As I got closer, it snowed, then began to ice, and then turned to rain. Bummer. Matt was really hoping for some kind of winter wonderland for his parents.
When I got there, he was mildly coherent and monotone. We made our way to the diner, and sat. He got oatmeal and tea, lamely enough. I got eggs, sausage, rye toast, home fries and a frozen moccachino.
I was hyped up at this point. The wild strawberry highly caffeinated beverage was pumping through my body and made me very chatty. I talked about work, his graduation, my co-workers, his family, and the ride up. I chatted endlessly and animatedly. And I ate with just as much gusto. The rye toast buttery and toasty, the eggs fluffy, home fries crisp and oniony, the sausage links gigantic, like an entire Italian sausage. My moccachino strong, sweet, and cold. I felt awake, and excited.
The caffeine clearly was giving me a fuel that was only added to the fire that I was already a morning person and already excited to see Matthew.
Matt ate spoonfuls and spoonfuls of oatmeal in the way he did when we first started dating and would eat breakfast together at around 6:30 in the morning. It was a slow, dragging way, as if he was doing it in his sleep. I would monopolize the conversation, and when later in the day I would reference something I said at that meal, he'd blink at me, and say "We had breakfast together?".
I teased him for his tiredness, and told him to be excited! He's graduating!
One of my pet peeves with Matthew is when he says he's excited or happy about something, he doesn't really look it. He's cursed with a monotone voice, so when he makes the effort to sound excited, it sounds forced.
After we ate, we went back to his room to haul his stuff to my car. I took him to turn his mail key in. I waited at the circle, Bean Trees playing, waiting for him. I saw him walk down the steps and he stop to say hi to someone who was walking the path next to my car. I heard a familiar voice and titled my head curiously. It was Dr. Murphy! One of my favorites. But more on that later. We said hi and hugged and chatted in the excited bubbly way that Matthew can probably never fathom. We promised to catch up later, and we left.
Then went to his mother's room at the hotel we were all staying. She was happy to see me, as usual, and was excited to see that I brought pies with me from work for them to sample. We hung out before we got ready to go, and left the hotel a little before noon.
Which was somewhat of an ordeal. Everyone who attended his graduation was: His mom, Patricia, from North Carolina, Jim, Matt's dad and Patricia's ex husband from Ohio, and Paul, Patricia's boyfriend or something, from Alabama, but living with Patricia.
Everyone is friendly with eachother,so that wasn't the issue. The comical issue was how Patrica talks on and on and on (like me) and I was in the back, slightly going out of my mind and thinking something along the lines of "This is going to be my family." in a "I could use a glass of wine" kind of way.
We arrived very early. About two hours. But we got parking and good seats. We took photos and Matt went off to check in. Leaving me to sit with the rest of them. To save you some time, it was an incredibly insanity brining hour and fourty-five minutes.
Finally, finally, it started. The teachers and chefs came in, with the deans and other high ups, the speaker, and finally, the graduates. Now, I don't know what it is about "Pomp and Circumstance" and graduations that makes me want to burst into tears, but I was a somewhat emotional mess on and off throughout the ceremony.
The class speaker was funny, Dr. J, one of my favorite teachers, gave a good speech that I ended up taping. The graduation speaker, a man who I have no recollection of where he came from spoke in great length about various things. One of my favorite moments in this speech was at the start, when he outlined his entire thing like he was speaking at a conference.
He also told a funny story about Julia Child- involving the drink "Lemon drops", if you are interested in it, tell me and I'll post it.
About halfway through his speech, I became hungry. I hadn't eaten since about 8 am, and it had to be about 3:00. "I could really use a snack and a drink right now." I thought. In that order, because, on an empty stomach, it would take very little for me to get buzzed.
At last they began the actual "diploma" ceremony. I was excited. I zoned in and out till they got to Matt's row, and I became even more excited. I adjusted my camera to try and compensate for the crappy lighting, but will end up having to adjust it later anyway.
When he finally walked across the stage and down then stairs, we couldn't catch him in time to take a photo. Which made me feel sad.
It was FINALLY OVER!!!!!! It took forever. I was starving and in need of a drink. So I would need to find a way to procure a glass of wine. We were in a sea of people, and I promply lost Pat and Paul, Matt's dad was somewhere behind me, but as I got to the back where the reception was, I lost my sites on his family, and started looking for Matt. Who I found quite quickly. He was making his way against a sea of people around a table across from me. "Matt!" I called, he didn't hear. "JAMES!" I called louder (His first name, and a tatic we use with my parents. They don't look up to "Mom" in a crowed, but "CAROL!" seems to work nicely). I tried again, and he found me. I grinned and made my way to him. "Matt!!!!!! You're graduated!!" I exclaimed, shaking him by his shoulders excitedly and hugging and kissing him. "Yay!!" I said. Then "I need a drink, but I don't have my ID." So he made his way to the drinks area and got two glasses of wine (I figured they'd serve him, because he was still wearing his sash thingy and probably wouldn't refuse him a glass..Also, I'm pretty sure every BPS student is at least 21)
I took the glass and took a grateful, delicious sip. What it was I'll never know. Then I looked around for food. We ran into his father, and they both ate some kind of crusted goat cheese thing that to me looked a bit like a chicken cutlet. Ugh! I need to eat something substantial immediacy or everyone around me with suffer the buzzed consequences.
I turned to Matt. "I want to find Dr. Murphy. I'm supposed to find her. Oh, and Dr. J, and whoever else we run into." I said. But seeing as we were packed in like Sardines, finding anyone anywhere would be quite a task. Finding the other part of our party would be useless for now, also.
We found Dr. J first. Dr. J is pretty awesome. Not quite sure how old he is, somewhere between 40 and 50, with wild hair and a beatnicky, rock n roll, hippie attitude about him. I had him for History of Americas and had a great time. He sometimes told great stories about his life as a college student, and as a law student working for his doctorate. He focused on what happened and why and what became of it rather than who was shot on what day and year. The class was about in depth discussions, exchanges of ideas, opinions and knowledge and was generally a good class. I liked it, even at 8 am (in those days I was more annoyed about missing the newsy bits of GMA than actual sleep) . (Which, to a college student, is just slightly early, even for a baker). He's one of those teachers that made it easy to enjoy history.
He said hi and chatted with me for a bit, and then with Matt, assuring him that he's (Matthew) is a great guy and should he ever need a reference, a call or anything, to email him. Which I thought was pretty awesome. You can't ever know enough people.
At that point, I spotted Paul, and did the same thing I did before, first calling his first name, and then his middle name (which Pat calls him). Neither worked, so I weaved thought to find him. "I found you!" I exclaimed, fighting the urge to do jazz hands or clap in sign language (which are pretty similar).
At this point it would be prudent to mention I was barely half way though my first glass of wine, and I was feeling it go directly into my head at an alarming rate. I still needed food. When Matt and I walked around a little more, a server with a plate of won ton wrapped chicken that was filled with I don't know what came by, and I took one and popped the whole thing into my mouth. It was both delicious and screaming hot. Something creamy with a touch of Rosemary, maybe?
More about my blundering tipsiness when we return.