May 08, 2007

Sheer Madness

What a crazy week. I knew things were gonna be nuts when it started, with everyone but me having more free time and all of us very aware that they'd be gone in a few days. Doug, Barbour, Randy and I struggled to catch up on Heroes before they left. Oh, and I stayed up way too late at least twice watching zombie movies with Randy (hopefully more on that on Moviegoings sometime soon). In this case, that meant getting done with all that stuff by Thursday, but only I knew that the real reason for that deadline was a surprise visitor.

As I recall, Martinez first floated the idea of visiting on graduation weekend about a year ago. By fall he had officially decided to come, and I was the only one who knew about it. With each passing month . . . then week . . . then day, it became more difficult not to say anything. Of course, I finally clued Rachel in well in advance, and that was where the dam almost broke. But she narrowly managed to keep it quiet until the moment arrived at long last.

I tried to arrange for as many people as possible to be in our apartment when he walked in, which worked fairly well. What didn't work so well was the almost 2 hour delay in the flight from Dallas due to "weather problems." I was reluctantly preparing myself for a drive to Dallas when he finally got to lift off. What was so silly was that the rain was never coming down harder than a drizzle in Longview, and by the time Martinez landed there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the sun was shining and most of the water had already dried up. I even had groceries in the back of my truck.

Anyway, festivities lasted far into the evening, and then Rachel and I watched Idiocracy for, like, the 3rd time with Martinez and Barbour. Naturally, we went to bed quite late . . . only to be up before 9:00 the next morning. Martinez had an 8:30 appointment with Dr. C, and Rachel and I joined him a bit late so we could say hello. Then we wandered through the faculty offices and greeted Dr. Watson before Rachel and Paige headed for the Senior breakfast.

With that done, we headed over to the Ice Cave and spent most of Friday socializing amidst packing and moving and whatnot. Lunch transpired at Double Dave's, followed by the purchase of no fewer than 18 tickets for a later showing of Spider-man 3 (the usual crowd was augmented by the Barbours and the Sharptons).

Friday night, of course, was the Senior banquet, where we were joined by everyone (Gullmans, friends, etc.) . . . except Uncle Doug. It seemed longer than last year . . . probably because I didn't have anything to do. I think everyone I knew that was there went up at least once. Rachel got a medal for graduating cum laude, and was very pleased and proud.

After the banquet finally ended, we futzed around a bit, changed into more comfortable clothing, and headed out to get to the theater a bit early. We arrived 30 minutes before it started, and the line to the door had already stretched to the exit, wrapped around on itself and crawled halfway back up the hall. As it turned out, though, we arrived at the perfect time. The line began to move seconds after we joined it, flowed directly into the theater, and left open a large section of seating . . . which was still a bit too small for everyone to be together. But we did save about a dozen seats in a pretty good spot.

I didn't think about it at the time, but the experience was very similar to one I had almost exactly 5 years ago: Sitting in a theater in Honduras watching Spider-man with a group of people I knew I probably wouldn't see again for a very long time (if ever). In a nutshell, the friends were older, but the movie wasn't as good (review up on Moviegoings).

There was, however, one truly iconic moment. At the climax, as Spidey enters the final cataclysmic battle, he lands in a dead run directly in front of an enormous CGI American flag. I can't remember now whether the movie stopped for a moment, or went into slow motion, or simply moved at normal speed . . . but the image of exploitative jingoism is seared into my brain. As fast as the image was interpreted, my reflexes cranked my head directly to the right, where Randy was sitting on the other side of Rachel. He was choking and gagging rather violently, having unwisely taken a sip of his drink just before the image appeared. It was priceless.

Anyway, after the movie, Martinez, Doug, Barbour and I played Super Smash Bros. in the Ice Cave until almost three in the morning and then turned in. I got up to drive Rachel to graduation prep at about 8:15 and then crashed again until Becca and Gallagher dropped by at about 9:45. Graduation started on schedule and proceeded as usual. It turned out to be more about Dr. Austin than it was about the graduates. Oh, well. They all got their degrees.

Bud's big speech was interrupted by a medical emergency . . . someone collapsed and the crowd seemed rather rattled. Before the ambulance showed up they called for a glaucometer (sp?) and I ran MoM Gullman's over. They already had one by the time I got there, and the subject inquestion looked to me like he needed a priest more than a glaucometer. There were people crying and lots of grim looks. An ambulance showed up, but it left awhile later without its sirens going. There were rumors of dehydration floating around, and I assume the guy was okay.

Everyone was quite punctual to our traditional post-ceremony gathering . . . except for Uncle Doug. He had forgotten his ID and couldn't pick his diploma up without it. So he ran to the Ice Cave on the opposite corner of campus. When he got there, of course, he was feeling a bit icky, so he took a quick shower and changed into more comfortable clothes before running back . . . only to discover that he had left the receipt for turning in his robe in his other pants. Foolish, foolish Uncle Doug.

After the after-parties I went to look at houses with Rachel and her dad, then we helped Jon move out of his dorm room. Then we packed Rachel and her mother off to dinner and I spent the evening playing Super Smash Bros. with Barbour, Martinez, Doug and Randy. I had expected to be up rather late, but my eyes wouldn't stay open anymore by 10:30, so I crashed. We saw Gallagher and the Gullmans off the next morning, and then Martinez and I watched an MST3K, for old times' sake The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy!).

And then, as the day wound down, the good-byes began in earnest. Rachel and I saw Martinez to his plane, and Doug pulled out of town a few hours later. Barbour, after a brief detour, popped in momentarily on Monday evening before taking off. By Tuesday morning, it was back down to the Wheelers and the Scholls. Randy will be back from New York this weekend, and Gallagher will be coming to help us move.

Oh, yeah . . . there's that. No time to mope about how empty it is, we're moving to a new apartment off-campus. Things will continue to be crazy until almost June. Time to get packing.

Posted by Jared at May 8, 2007 11:41 AM | TrackBack