Last night we had our graduation, which, like many schools, we have to hold elsewhere--so last night, we all trooped over to the War Memorial Auditorium. We've had our graduation there before, so that wasn't the strange part.
At first, I thought that maybe I was warm because I had on my academic robe. But I noticed others fanning themselves too, people in the audience in their sleeveless tops. I was on the stage, under the lights. I focused on my breathing.
I also had to focus on my breathing because we sat on very strange seats covered in stretchy fabric sleeves--I leaned back, expecting a normal chair, and my back wrenched. Every time I moved, my back protested. So I sat very still, trying to keep my face composed.
I also had to concentrate on keeping my face composed because the sound system from the stage had a very strange feedback, so I heard a voice then heard it bounce back off the walls--even when I concentrated, I couldn't really understand what the speaker said. So, instead of looking like I was concentrating, I decided to sit and smile.
Because I was on the platform, we were the first outside--in fact, there was a stern policeman at the door keeping people from exiting until we walked out. With brisk purpose, I walked to my car--I saw the opportunity I had to beat a hasty retreat before the traffic jam that would surely come.
My back hurt, but I was able to run some errands along the way. I went to Trader Joe's to stock up on beer and wine. Unlike last week, they had plenty of bottles of my new favorite cheap wine: Terrain at $3.99 a bottle--the only wine at that price point that I've had that tastes like it costs $9.99 a bottle.
I also stopped at the Fresh Market. Each Thursday, they have a meal deal, where you can buy all sorts of ingredients at a significant discount--a meal that feeds 4 for $20. The meal deal is the same each Thursday of the month. One month, it's a pasta dinner, one month a Meximeal of sorts, and this month, salad. I got a HUGE package of baby spinach (double clamshell size), a pound of strip steak (I wanted the shrimp but they were gone by the time I got there, a package of assorted veggies (bell pepper strips, mushrooms, broccoli), a 32 oz. tub of melon (the watermelon looked better than the assortment of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew), a package of 6 sourdough rolls, and a tub of cheese.
And then, after a brief stop at the library, I went home and made myself a salad out of older ingredients that needed to be used up: a few, very thin prosciutto slices, chunks of nectarine, sliced cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, atop romaine lettuce, drizzled with homemade honey lemon vinaigrette. YUMMMMM.
Since there was nothing much on TV, I picked up a book I'd gotten from the library: Emma Straub's The Vacationers. I had wanted her latest, Modern Lovers, but I also placed The Vacationers on hold.
What a delightful book--the kind of easy read that made time zip by. My spouse was teaching, so I just kept reading until he got home.
Today I return to the work of academe: interviewing people for adjunct positions, answering student questions, wrapping up Spring quarter and getting ready for summer. Happily, my back feels better today, but not exactly normal--just the reason why ibuprofen needs to travel with me.