Graduations, espresso, pastries, Jessica Alba

The other day, I had brunch with my friend Kate, who made blueberry scones and several cups of espresso (we finished the entire batch, which is intended for four people!). The coffee brought back memories of France and the pastries reminded me of college, when I used to pick up massive blueberry scones at Canyon Cafe twice a week.

After the large meal, I met up with my cousin and her family for her graduation ceremony, which was nice but much more self-congratulatory than necessary. For one, the commencement speaker was under the impression that everyone gathered to recognize her life struggles, awesomeness, and accomplishments rather than honor the entire graduating class of 2011. This woman was absolutely impossible to listen to and the most arrogant speaker I’ve ever heard. I really wish someone would have yanked her off-stage so we didn’t have to witness the “me me me” spectacle. For five minutes, she talked all about herself, how privileged she was to deliver the keynote address, her adversities, the racism she encountered, getting married at age 19, and opening up a learning center. Guess what, honey? It’s your own fault for marrying young and we won’t pity you for that choice. It’s wrong that people discriminated against her, but she’s not the first person to have ever experienced prejudice.

In the middle of her rambling, she choked up, but it only got worse at the very end of her speech, when she broke out into song. I didn’t think anyone could show off any further, but this insufferable woman proved me wrong. Everyone agreed this was vastly inappropriate. At the very least, it gave me something to laugh and complain about with my aunt and uncle. As an older woman, this lady should have been selfless enough to give the graduates advice about the real world and provide suggestions on how to handle their fields. But, like a self-involved twit, she read aloud her autobiography. I was so angry for the poor graduates, who didn’t pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to listen to some pampered princess tout her own horn like a total asshole.

This is partly why I’ve always found graduation ceremonies unnecessary. Graduation is certainly a major accomplishment, but shouldn’t warrant so much attention and numerous ceremonies.

I felt the same way about my own graduation last year. At first, I thought I was just bitter that I hadn’t looked hard enough for a job. I’ve concluded it’s just silly to pat yourself on the back so often and in such a public manner. If I had it my way, these ceremonies wouldn’t exist. I didn’t even want to walk at graduation last year, but I obviously did for the sake of my mother and family members, who financed my degree. At this point, they’re all just happy that I’m doing well and enjoying my work.

Regardless, I was of course proud of my brilliant cousin, who maintained over a 3.5 GPA at an insanely difficult and competitive public university. She’s headed for a master’s program in the fall too, so she has reason to be proud. In general though, the USA has a tendency to award its citizens far too easily. This has to stop.

Now that I’m done whining, I’ll admit that I loved seeing all the graduates in their identical outfits and fancy shoes. Most of the girls wore heels and the men were a little inebriated. It was an amusing sight, and I actually liked waving to everyone from the audience. I teared up when the grads crossed the stage and moved their tassels over to the left. All of this reminded me of last year when Carolyn woke me up for our commencement ceremony. It was 90 degrees in Arizona that morning and we got up extra early to down some Starbucks beforehand. Decked out in our grad gear, we strolled the campus for a while before retreating to McKale Center. A blue bird flew right above my head and flapped into my hair, so we shrieked and swore, only to find out the university president walking right behind us. Our timing was always a little off.

Yesterday, I went with my friends to a Jason Aldean concert in rural Virginia. We were the only non-hicks in the fully packed crowd, but the songs were fantastic and weather absolutely perfect. For the first time in six months, I continuously felt warm on the east coast. I didn’t mind boiling underneath the sunshine, and surprisingly I didn’t get sunburned. Musical performances always remind me of high school, so it was nice to think back on my upbringing. During my SVHS days, I dated a guy who loved sporting cowboy hats, Wrangler jeans, and cowboy boots so he wouldn’t get sucked into the northern California hippie stereotype, so last night I kept thinking he was somewhere in the crowd. On several occasions, I misidentified a concert-goer for him, but of course he wasn’t around. Because of my former flame, nothing reminds me of high school more than cowboy attire! The same goes for beaches, as Crystal and I often hung around Seabright beach growing up.

Jason Aldean!

Throughout the evening, we witnessed tattooed, farmer’s tanned hicks brawl, drunken young ladies weep, and two girls pose with a Confederate flag for a photo. Hopefully the white supremacists don’t seek office someday, otherwise their political aspirations will be shattered! You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to do something like that, I didn’t even know you could purchase such a thing anymore. Either way, the women fled soon after the picture was taken, so maybe they realized they’d just done something incredibly embarrassing.

It’s been a fun weekend and I look forward to an even better week ahead, although the Jessica Alba event might get rained out on Tuesday 😦 I am hoping the thunderstorms take it easy for a while so I can chat with the beautiful “Never Been Kissed” actress about her Safe Chemicals Act activism! Let me know if you have questions for her. Like I said, the hearing won’t happen if a storm takes place, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the sun comes out!


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