Okay, looks like I'll be back in the Bay Area in about two weeks--June 10-14--in order to don a big goofy red-and-black gown with huge down-to-my-knees sleeves and a hexagonal hat with a gold tassel on top so I can sit in a football stadium for two hours to listen to Sandra Day O'Connor and then maybe they will hand me an envelope that probably has nothing in it and maybe then they will even give me a sandwich. You're all invited.
There's no way I'll top Robin's commencement performance last year, though. When she arrived to line up for the procession she was one of the first ones there and it turned out the flag-bearer for the School of Humanities and Sciences hadn't shown. So when the grad students come out there's Robin leading the way into the stadium with an enormous flag in a holster strapped around her waist. Not to mention which the bizarrely designed Stanford Ph.D. gowns are open in the front, showing off the fact that Robin was wearing a quite short Stanford-red satin dress with matching and very tall stacked-heel sandals, marching right across the dewy grass.
It's my first time back since December and I'm a little nervous; don't know what to do with all those clear skies and sun and traffic. (I actually had a brief moment of nostalgia--seriously--about driving down 280 the other day. Has anyone ever seen that sign claiming it's the "world's most beautiful highway"? I saw it like once but could never find it again.) I'll assume everything still in order. Oh, wait, didn't y'all fall into the ocean or something? No, sorry, that was a movie. (If anyone's been under the threat of natural disaster it's us--daily tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings and floods and what have you, crazy temperature swings from the high 80s to the mid-40s.)
Strangest of all is that I'm coming back to officially sever the last of my ties to the Bay Area--surrender the keys to the English department and my library carrel. I think this year-long goodbye's been easier in a lot of ways--a gradual attenuation that hasn't been as painful as I'd feared, in part because Chicago's proved to be more than absorbing, in part because other matters have left little time for nostalgia. Cassie's departure, too, proving there's life after San Francisco.
But hey: it's five days. Crazy poetry weekend, anyone?