January 10th, 2017

krazy koati

Make this the best of the rest of your days

One disappointment of the reunion is that bunny_hugger didn't know many people there. Her class seemed to be lightly represented to start. Nobody was at her class's table in the dining hall when we had dinner, admittedly late. (We left as they were closing for the night). But when she did find someone from her class there was usually some discussion of how they're not sure but kind of remember your name, did we have this class, often gym, together? No? Well maybe from somewhere. bunny_hugger wrote some for the student newspaper, which might make her name last longer in people's minds and might have been throwing off false memories. Her friends just didn't come to this reunion.

There was an exception, though. One of her friends came in on Saturday. Not someone attending the reunion properly. He'd just noticed on Facebook that the reunion was this weekend and bunny_hugger would be there and he was only an hour or so off so why not try and meet up? I may have the details off a bit, but it was that sort of casual thing. He wasn't attending any events because somehow he didn't think they'd register him. This seems to go against how registration works to me, but perhaps somebody misunderstood something at some point.

He came with his wife, someone who's got a DeviantArt account under a name I was sure I couldn't possibly forget, so that's gone wrong already. We met up by the college's museum; they went through it before we got to it. I think she might have been the one suggesting they take the trip over to see the reunion.

So we spent time catching up. Or bunny_hugger and he spent time catching up and recounting stories, while his wife and I nodded and remembered how we'd been told some of these anecdotes about what their college day were like. Pranks he and his friend had played, for example. There was one good one --- going into a bathroom on one floor and popping back out on the next --- that misfired only because bunny_hugger didn't happen to notice the teleportation there. As she's described the circumstances I probably wouldn't have noticed myself. He mentioned that he actually still occasionally draws the comic he had begun back in college, and made a sporadic go of as a web comic back in the 90s. Evil Paul, about an evil Paul McCartney who goes about oooohing at stuff. That would probably still work.

It all felt good meeting this old college friend, and his wife, although the bizarre thing is that we did leave to get back to regular old reunion stuff. I think we had a loose plan to maybe meet up again, but we wouldn't, and we didn't run into anyone else bunny_hugger knew as a friend from the days either.

What we were going to was a retirement celebration. Not for one of bunny_hugger's professors. They've all retired or gone to other posts or didn't happen to be in for the weekend. It was for someone in the English department. She had been assigned as bunny_hugger's first advisor, when she arrived at school with plans to be an English major and before she found the Philosophy courses so much more everything. bunny_hugger had only a few meetings with her since there wasn't much to do, but this would be one of the few organized events for which bunny_hugger had a personal link.

It was at the English department, the other end of the hall from the Philosophy department (which was all but empty that day). Lots of people crowded into the department's common area, with food all the way at the other end of the crowd. Lots of people telling anecdotes about their time knowing her or how she'd influenced them. A startling story about how she and her partner worried about how being open might threaten her tenure chances. In the English department. Of a Quaker school so left wing that, while bunny_hugger was there, a long-running campus May Day tradition ended in a fit of earnest are-we-being-good-enough fighting. It serves as a reminder that while the 80s were only thirty years ago, they were also like a hundred and fifty years ago.

(It also puts in context the gossip, current to bunny_hugger's undergraduate life, that her eventual mentor in Philosophy had been pressured by the school to marry his longtime girlfriend because who could deal with two professors living In Sin in the 80s? No idea if the gossip had any base in fact but it's hard to remember that Lasnerian 1982 was that very long ago.)

She remembered bunny_hugger, bizarre as that seems. I know there are people who do well remembering names and faces. I'm not among them. I have a hard time believing when anyone who deals with a lot of people and has casual interactions with me --- fast-food cashiers, library clerks, that sort of person --- remembers me. How could a professor who has hundreds of students and likely a dozen or so advisors each semester remember someone twenty years after the last of their maybe four interactions? Well, she explained, there weren't many students switching from English to Philosophy to start with. And almost never did a female student switch into Philosophy. (Philosophy has sex imbalance and gender issues severe enough that those alone should group it with the STEM fields.) She remembered a person that exceptional.

Well, we all knew bunny_hugger was exceptional.

Trivia: In 1945 the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration provided Yugoslavia with ten thousand trucks, fourteen thousand pack horses, ten thousand mules, 237 locomotives, 8,555 railway cars, over four thousand tractors, four thousand tons of caustic soda (for the glass industry), $7 million worth of mining equipment, 44 sawmills, and 433 woodworking machines. Source: The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War, Ben Shephard.

Currently Reading: All The Traps Of Earth And Other Stories, Clifford Simak. Who don't like psionic robots? (Honestly surprised it wasn't a John W Campbell story.)