Yesterday, my dear sweet friend Thomas Joseph Aloisius Conners (nee Piernikowski) was rewarded for nine years of (mostly) hard work on behalf of the world of linguistics when Yale University finally acquiesced and granted him his Ph.D. Hooray Tom!
I had the honor of driving up to New Haven in the front seat of my friend's Audi as he drove at ludicrous speed on the Merritt Parkway so that we could... well, so that we could miss actual graduation and arrive just in time for lunch. We were right on time.
We had a lovely lunch with Tom's family and then wandered New Haven for a bit, taking in the sights and stopping by the President's house, which was guarded by a SWAT team and a fierce looking lady guard in a nice suit. We think Tony Blair, who gave the commencement speech the day before, must have been inside.
After the walk we stopped by a friend's house for some champagne and cake and... well. That's when all hell broke lose. The party in and of itself was a lovely, civilized affair full of bubbly wine, peach cobbler and light and airy conversation. One man had been a drummer for Lisa Loeb. Another had an absolutely fantastic Mark Twain mustache. There was even a French Nuclear Physicist doing magic tricks. This is the kind of stuff you just can't make up.
As the party wound down and the last non-Tom-affiliated guest left, I was walking by the door and heard what can only be described as the sound of impending disaster. A combination clanking and flailing and thump thump thump, followed by a low, soft wailing. Yes, ladies and gents. A very nice Sociology graduate student had fallen down the stairs.
I opened the door and ran down - "Are you ok? What hurts? Your head? Your butt? Your foot? Your ankle?" - It was her ankle, and from the looks of it, it wasn't pretty, even from the get-go. I went back upstairs to fetch Tom's mother - a nurse - and some ice. Snap. There is no ice. There is no bag of frozen peas (always have one on hand for this exact purpose). Thankfully, the French Nuclear Physicist, who happened to live downstairs, had a 1/4 of a bag of frozen broccoli that we managed to turn into an ice pack. He said he'd almost eaten it the day before, but had take-out instead, suddenly proud of his decision to eschew vegetables in favor of Pad Thai.
For some reason, no one would let me call an ambulance. Someone was going to drive. It was almost drunk lady, until I pointed out that sending the person with the broken ankle off in the car with a probably drunk driver was not the best idea we'd had all day. We took two cars.
Oy. Fast forward through a misguided trip to the University Health Services building, where they do not have an X-ray machine and where I'm pretty sure they don't want to have anything to do with you on graduation day.
So we wove our way around campus to the Yale-New Haven Hospital Emergency Room. Where we learn that *someone* had gone and canceled our dinner reservation because she decided she wasn't coming. Even though the other 12 people who had been planning on eating at the restaurant were in fact already gathered there waiting for Team Hospital Visit to show up. Right? You're like "Who cancels someone else's dinner reservation without asking them? Or even telling them for that matter!" I swore somehow I'd managed to change my regular pair of pants for a pair of Crazy Pants. When had we gone through the looking glass? To top it off, there was a dude who was stabbed and the lady who had stabbed him sitting in the ER. Hoards of children were running around seemingly unsupervised, and as time went on it got later... and later... and later... and I knew my "I'm not getting home before midnight if I do this," premonition was in fact coming true.
If this weren't a family blog, I'd unleash a stream of profanity right here that would make a sailor blush. (Oh yes! AND in addition to BIRTHDAY WEEK, it's FLEET WEEK. Sometimes God shows love.)
A few hours later after an impromptu Malaysian meal that was mostly starch and salt, I was back on the road to New York City, this time sitting in the back seat of the Audi and encouraging my friend to take 95S instead of the Merritt Parkway because I was too tired to be afraid of death at every turn.
So, for the record Tom. Your friends do love you. We just want to be in charge of dinner next time.