Monday, October 18, 2004


So Homecoming was perfectly decent. Except the fact that I really didn't do anything very homecoming-y.

I met up with Chad for brunch. Literally, I had not seen him in years. I always feel bad when I lose contact with close friends like that. Chad's been in my life for so long it's really just not right to let stuff lapse, no matter how busy we are. We've known each other since the eighth grade. That's close to 20 years. It's well over 3/4 of my life. I'm impressed that I actually managed to keep in touch with someone from that far back in my past.

After brunch, we wandered around campus just to look at the superficial changes to it. Given the passage of time, it was impossible for me to tell if everything just looked different because substantial construction had taken place over the last eleven years, or because I had simply forgotten much of the way things looked before. The Bookstore had moved; it was replaced by a funky new student lounge for the business school. Two of the campus apartment buildings had been renovated (at least externally) and now featured floor to ceiling windows (I'm actually quite jealous of that). The new bookstore was basically a Barnes & Noble. The mini-strip malls along the outskirts of campus -- where we used to have to make do for meals on the weekends -- were updated and upgraded as well. There was even a "new" grocery store close to campus, eliminating the need for a six block hike into a sketchy area of town to get to the only decent grocery store around.

Chad, who has visited the city much more than I, was able to point out to me various changes, as well as stuff I had merely forgotten about. We stopped into a new swanky tea shoppe and had a few pots of tea with a peanut buttery desert. Things would have been so different had I attended this school when they had all this cool stuff around. That means I would have flunked out with a year. It was just such a cool campus.

We attended a few alumni mixing events. All the minority alumni groups co-hosted an event: the Asian group, the Hispanic group, the African-American group, the gay group. We hung out, scoping out the free food and (more importantly) free booze. Try as we might, Chad and I couldn't strike up a decent conversation with anyone for the life of us. Seriously now, what's the purpose of attending an alumni gathering if you aren't going even show the slightest interest in meeting fellow alumni? If you're only going to talk to the friends whom you usually would have talked to anyway, can't you just do that, say, in a bar, or at someone's apartment?

Chad and I eventually bailed on the thing completely and went back downtown for dinner. It was a great dinner, may I just add.

The day with Chad was nice. Oh, the dinner and the tea and the meandering around campus were nice, but the point here was the company. You can't buy friends like that. Memories like what we shared don't grow on trees. Our friends help shape our lives.

And our friends are also the ones who will be there for our future. We're no longer the high school kids whose biggest fear was an algebra exam or a date to some stupid dance. We're dealing with issues like how to balance insane hours at work with a decent social life. Our concerns include how to live life with HIV and whether we should execute plans for massive career shifts.

In the end, it wasn't about meeting fellow alumni. It wasn't so much about seeing the city and the campus again. Really, it was all about reconnecting with Chad.

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