This morning Paul and I will drive across town to pick up James's childhood friend Sam, and then the three of us will head south to drop off the yowly pets at the vet's office, then further south to Portland to fetch Tom, and then the four us will keep driving south, south, to Massachusetts. And there we will intersect with all of the family and friends who are coming from hither and yon to celebrate James's graduation from college. It will be a scene. We will laugh and cry and behave awkwardly, and James will be embarrassed and overwrought and also very pleased.
In the meantime I have packed nothing except for joke gifts. This must change pronto, and so must this headache. I have, however, already done other important duties: for instance, warning my mother about the possibility of loud student protests at the ceremony. ("Graduations are so boring! It will be fun, Ma! It will be sociological!") I have taken phone messages from J, who wants me to bring him some sourdough starter. (Sourdough starter? Graduation? Moving out of your dorm? How do these things mesh?) I have lined my pretty blister-causing sandals with moleskin. I have scrubbed off the weird sticky spots on my windshield.
I have no memory of what I wore to my own graduation. I do remember we had a student protest, though . . . against our commencement speaker, Drew Lewis, who had just helped Reagan fire all of those air-traffic controllers. I do remember that I won a fellowship from the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufacturing, and Commerce . . . presumably for being arty since I certainly showed no promise in manufacturing or commerce. I do remember that my boyfriend had just broken up with me and I feared that everything wonderful in my life had come to an end. Acquiring a fat silver medal stamped with Prince Philip's head was not a solace for being dumped. Thirty years later, I'm not exactly sure where that medal is, and I haven't laid eyes on the ex-boyfriend since. Things have gone along okay without either of them.