It is the day after my youngest son’s graduation from college in Claremont California. He is on his flight home to Atlanta and I am staying one more day to sell his car and shlep home whatever he couldn’t pack into a couple of suitcases and a duffel bag. I thought about driving his piece of shit car back and having some “quality time” to myself. Luckily, the rational part of my brain eventually kicked in, realizing that his shitty car and my shitty back would make for a good cheap horror film involving a car breaking down in a small town inhabited by mutants and/or psychopaths ala Husk, Vacancy or The Human Centipede. I really dont want to start driving from California and wake up one morning with my mouth stitched to someone else’s anus. With my luck it would be John Travolta’s butt and he would like it. I have to learn that my fantasies about saving money and visiting all the amazing places on Diners and Drive-Ins would quickly turn into a one way ticket to Hell and Irritable Bowel Disease with some sodomy thrown in for bad luck…. and bad taste. Instead, I look around before me today and see the remnants of Ben’s excellent adventure.
The absolutely stunningly beautiful campus of Pomona is strewn with furniture, broken TV stands, half drunken bottles of liquor, and the detritus of 4 years of collected junk, now only memories of a once in a lifetime experience called college. While the excitement, happiness and pride in accomplishment was palpable all weekend, so was the sadness and nostalgia. These young men and women really bonded and cared about each other. Beneath the hard drinking and silly making I saw many red eyes rimmed with tears and feelings of loss, perhaps even anticipated grief. They have been so busy studying and partying, achieving and goofing off, that it’s possible many of them (the graduating seniors) never considered what it would REALLY feel like to say goodbye. I know some people are tough and hard-nosed and go from early developmental milestone to lifetime achievement award and dont miss a beat. I’m not that way and in fact, I am someone who is constantly awash in memories from younger days.
I remember my graduation day from U.C. Boulder in 1975, which alternatively seems like yesterday and a galaxy away in space-time. Some friends I never saw again and others like orbiting satellites and planets came back into my life either for awhile or for forever ( I hope). I wonder if these guys, these ardent and highly opinionated Pomona graduates, all talking fast (with one another) in a lexicon constructed from their shared experiences as well as their many inside jokes and collective intelligence can see that far ahead or even want to……..I figure when they finally get some sleep and sober up it will probably hit them, and then it will be our job as parents to be there for them, as always.
For the old-timers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBv6ou7mywI&feature=related