i’m back

but not so cheery

I’m back.  Apparently, I was missed.  Thanks, guys.

We went to visit Eric’s family, and see his little brother graduate from college.  It was a great weekend filled with some of my favorite people.  I saw what the Washington Mall looks like seconds before a huge storm.  The Washington Monument looks like it’s getting moved to the Luxor with the amount of scaffolding around it. I sat in a college party where the goal was to get 3,000 graduates in one room by the end of the night.  I saw a scary centipede and watched sting rays get fed.  I rode my first subway.  I went to my first baseball game.

We arrived in Baltimore on Saturday afternoon and went to D.C. to try and see the Smithsonian.  Unfortunately everything closed ten minutes before we arrived.  Then a huge storm came in and had us running (and for Eric’s brother, who is on a crutch for a hurt knee-  hobbling) to the closest shelter where we could sit around and drink until we didn’t mind the rain anymore.  Luckily, we found one.

Exhausted after the first day, which involved much flying and walking, we spent the evening swimming in the hotel’s indoor pool, dubbed the “fundome” by the owners, and then we ate pizza and played spades.  We called it an early evening.

Sunday morning we drove into Baltimore and spent the day at the Inner Harbor.  We ate at an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet that satisfied my crab leg cravings for the next six to eight months.  We ate shrimp and crab and crawfish and then we went to the National Aquarium and felt guilty.

Back to College Park, another meal, back to Baltimore, and went to the baseball game.  I was trying to understand the rules, and in this particular game the Orioles got 10 runs in the first inning.  Eric was trying to explain that this wasn’t the norm.  I loved the stadium.  I loved how going to a game held its own little community of food and fans and so many people.  It costs a lot more money to eat at a National Ballpark than an Ice Bats game, let me tell you.

Monday morning was the graduation.  James Carville and Mary Matalin gave the speeches.  We didn’t have anyone speak at my graduation, so I really enjoyed this part of the ceremony.  It was the other FOUR AND A HALF HOURS of the graduation proceedings that took its toll on me.  The Cole Fieldhouse does not have air conditioning.  It also has seats made of painful slats of wood.

It was alternating between huge storms and painfully bright sunlight outside, and the wool sweater that I had so carefully chosen to wear (“Baltimore?  That sounds cold.  I’ll just pack jeans and sweaters.  Didn’t they say it’d be like fifty every day?”) was now a torture device.  I was itchy and sweaty.  I kept elbowing everyone around me trying to scratch that part of your back that you just can’t reach and you can never describe accurately enough for others to try.

“We have over one thousand graduates here today,” they announced at hour three and a half.  This was after the first two hour ceremony, and after the first reception.  It was time for the individual recognition.

“Surely they won’t read all of their names,” Eric leaned over to me.

“See those little cards in their hands?” I said.  “That means they are reading names.”

“No.  There’s no way.”

“Aaron Abrahamstein.  Dean’s List, three years.  Phi Beta Kappa.”

“Jesus.  I don’t believe this.”

During the three hundred criminal law graduates we went outside to look at the rainstorm.  I came back in to see where they were in the ceremony, and found that we had only missed two rows of graduates.  Eric’s brother Kevin was now sitting hunched over in his chair, his gown up around his waist, showing his Air Jordans and shorts.  His crutch was on the floor, a “Class of ’99” balloon limply dangling above it.  His head was in his hands.  Others were fanning themselves with their programs.  I was sure I saw three Architecture majors taking their finals.

But we lived through it, and we had a good time, and then we had lunch and I spent an hour by myself in the hotel room packing and cleaning and resting.

We had one evening left in College Park, and we spent it at the local college bar, watching everyone have their last evening together.  When we started feeling like the oldest ones there, we went back to the hotel.

So, no, I didn’t run away, and I didn’t drop off the face of the earth.  I realize how it sounded… I leave a little message at the bottom of the page that referenced Kim Rollins and then suddenly I’m “on vacation.”

But I left you with my hissyfit, isn’t that enough?  No, I missed you guys, too.

I’m just really bummed out today.  I applied for a couple of job transfers two weeks ago, and I didn’t get either of them.  I keep wanting a change, but it keeps staying the same.  I feel sort of useless.  It’s overpowering everything I wanted to say about the trip, including anything funny that happened.  So, as the week unfolds (or unfolds, as the week is winding down), I’ll share more along the way.  For now, I hope you don’t mind this little laundry list, as I sort of need to figure out what to do with myself now.

But I’ve been nominated as a finalist for the diarist.net awards.  It seems the Tiny Wooden Hand is a favorite among others as well.  Go check out the competition.  You can even vote if you’d like, but I’m not telling you to.

Boy’s Life got a review in the Austin Chronicle.  There’s a picture of Eric and a really good review of our show (it even mentions little ol’ me…).

Oh, and the books section has been updated with the waste of a book I read on the plane.

So, even if there’s nothing to read right here today, there’s plenty I’ve linked to.

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