This evening I went to what may have been my rudest graduation ceremony experience EVER. My neighbor, who just earned her GED, had invited me to it. She was so proud of herself that I just couldn't say no. The ceremony was held outside at Mount Hood Community College and the whole thing would have been really great had not I found myself seated in front of a family that insisted on chattering loudly in Russian through the entire ceremony.
They yacked through the soloist (which I have to admit was kind of secretly ok, since her version of "America the Beautiful" went into some kind of unsettling supercareybeyoncéaguilera showboating overdrive), they chattered through the student welcome and then through all of the speakers. The only time they shut up for five seconds or bothered to clap was when their son went up to pick up his diploma. Once he had it, they loudly packed up their shit and left. I should note here that even though I learned tonight that like national anthems (any national anthem or even just anthemic souding piece, it doesn't matter really), "Pomp and Circumstance" apparently makes me cry, their departure did not.
The worst part of it all was that their behavior before they left, coupled with the reality that I am right at the peak of my sugar/starch detox withdrawal made my patience thin enough to turn me into that lady who shushes people at public events. How did this happen? Next thing you know I'll be one of those old broads who loudly unpacks hard candies at the ballet, yells at kids to get off her lawn and whiles away her free hours writing crackpot letters to various magazines, newspapers and the Lifetime network. I may look younger than my years, but I begin to fear that inside me beats the shriveled up, complaintive, little walnut of a heart of a Statler or a Waldorf!
I'm telling you, though, these people were rude and should not be allowed out in public (except for maybe to attend the annual convention for the International Society of Loud Talkers Who Cannot Keep Their Pie Holes Shut). Trust me, you would have wanted to shush them too and possibly poke them with something sharp, but I'll leave that second part at your discretion.
On the up side, once they left, things were much better. At that point I could get into clapping loudly for all the people who had no cheering section in the audience. Being effectively an only child from a small, reserved family, I always feel for these people, my people, the ones who don't have loud relatives hooting and hollering when their name is called. Of course, being reserved myself, my support mostly just manifests itself in applauding extra loudly, but I think my people know I'm there for them.
Seriously, despite the feeling slightly disgruntled, it was great to see J. and so many others graduate. I know she worked really hard for it, and I'm sure the others did too. I was surprised (but also pleased) to see how many "older" people there were, who had gone back to get their diplomas. It's got to be so much more difficult to do later in life.
So yay to all who persevere - whether it's diplomas or diets or just doing your thang. For as the soundtrack to the 2 minute fireworks extravaganza that capped off the evening said, "Celebrate Good Times, Come On!" And, really, if you can't trust the advice of Kool and the Gang, whose can you trust? The correct answer to that question, by the way, is Bootsy Collins. Now go forth, conquer the world, and do it with a smile! It's how Bootsy would want it, for he is the anti-Waldorf!