Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I have a moral quandary.    Tomorrow is May 22, 2008.  Ten years ago, I graduated from college.   And let me forestall your complaint- I'm not whining about age; I've spent this decade well: two years in a job I liked, six years in grad school, and now two years in a job I really like.   So yeah, go me.  

The thing is, I have a promise to fulfill.   The summer after my college graduation, I stuck around for a while, working for a professor, and psyching myself up for Real Life.   My best friend at the time (or local best friend, at least), who I had been through heaven and hell with, was this fellow I'll call T.  We were the only ones in our respective majors who were double majoring, and the only ones who appeared to really be into one of those two majors.    Of our fellow majors, we each also were basically the only one the other could stand to spend a lot of time with.   There were a lot of late nights, a lot of bonding, a lot of good stuff like that.    We were pretty different personalities, but we got along out of a common thread of obsession re: our subject of study, and shared dislike for our peers.    The esprit de corps of shared suffering, if you will.    To this day, nobody has gotten me a better or more surprising birthday present, pace Cricket.

So one day, that summer, looking to a future, and being whimsical lads, we made a pact to meet ten years down the road.   The rules: it was to be at the Statue of Liberty, at noon, ten years from the date of our college graduation.   If the Statue wasn't open that day, then the immediate day following.   

 The other rule was that we couldn't ever speak of it again.    Failure to show up would be punishable by a hefty gift obligation. 

So, awkwardly enough, and it pains me to even write about it, we had a huge falling out that fall after I left.   I had been in agony the last year of college over a girl, who I was good friends with, and on who I had a huge crush.     T knew her as well- we ran in the same circles- but he had mostly been my counselor through the process, usually of the sack-up/get-a-life pep-talk variety.   I had tried to escalate with her but had been clearly told that it wasn't going to happen.   It didn't change my feelings, really.    Anyway, the fall after I left, they got together.   I was alone in the new city, and was absolutely wrecked.   I was 21.   It was really pathetic.   I hated them both.   They apologized a lot, and broke up maybe a year later.   

I've kept up with him over the years, but not with her.    He and I are ...civil.   We haven't been friends since the fall of 1998, though.

I had thought for many years that I would go to the Statue tomorrow, out of a sense of honor for my own promises and out of a spirit of the happy pre-screwing-me-over memories.    And I would, but...holy shit, is my job a shite-heap of stress and obligation right now.   I basically would waste day driving to NYC and back, although the effort would probably cost me enough emotional capital that I would need to track down one of several good friends in the city to get drunk with. 

Should I go?    I put the odds of him going at maybe 1%.   He lives in the Bay Area and is writing a thesis, so it would be ridiculously inconvenient for him. 


Kate Nepveu said...

I think you should go, for the reasons you gave and because this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

ml said...

i think you should
a) break the rule and talk about it
b) go
c) blog more.

Capella said...

I seem to have missed the relevant window for comment, but I hope you are in or en route to New York. Preferably on a train, because that is less stressful.

Space Monkey said...

Man, you are such a sentimentalist.

Megan said...

I would totally have gone.