The grasshopper’s summer of my Spelunking School education has come to an end. There were caps and gowns and such, apparently. I didn’t attend the final festivities for a variety of barely considered (until now) reasons:
1) the same reason that I didn’t “walk” last year, when I also had the option, which is that even though I am fond–and I mean genuinely affectionate–toward my fellow graduates, in general large celebrations where people hug and take lots of pictures together tend to leave me feeling alienated. When I see other people celebrating together, I feel that they have somehow gotten to know and love each other more than I have with anyone in the program, and they look happier than I feel. It makes me feel inadequately happy. This also happens at parties. Usually at parties, if I can’t make an excuse and go home, I make an effort to smile a lot and get my picture taken with arms entwined with other smiling people, and I think on Facebook it looks pretty convincing, but basically it makes me feel I’m a little deader inside than other people, although maybe it’s just that I’m sober. Still, I am appreciative of ritual, and will often put myself through celebratory rites if it is free–by which I mean it only costs me time and self-esteem.
2) Spelunking Graduation was not free: cap and gown rental was $75 dollars. Yes, that’s a rental. And no, you can’t keep the cap. You can keep the keepsake tassel. I considered just wearing my high-school graduation gown, which I believe was $12 for purchase, but it was black, and the spelunking gowns were some other color. My last semester of education was really satisfactory–the kind of semester I could have really been effusive about had it occurred a little earlier in my six semester career–but sadly it was too late to dislodge the little seed of bitterness in my heart. And the $75 piece of polyester that one was supposed to respect as much, and pay as much for, as a higher quality material, was just a little too emblematic of my whole educational experience. I couldn’t swallow it. I promised myself I was going to have a party later this summer, and that the $75 could buy the first several bottles of alcohol.
3) I was at work at my NEW JOB.