"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


whisper on high

This would have been a "last night in live music" post, but it's such a sad evening that I don't really have anything to say about Ted Roddy's Country Music Show , except that if you're looking for a good band to play classic Texas swing covers while you say good-bye to your friends, it's a good choice.

One of the strangest aspects of my graduate school experience is the fact that most of the people with whom I started graduate school are no longer around. Our cohort (entering class) began with 19 members, but now we are down to maybe 6-7 people still in the program, and there are only 4-5 of us in Austin. It's one of those things that happens: people get married or decide that they'd rather be with a boyfriend in Munich or realize that they aren't cut out for academic life and take a job with the government or the city or a nonprofit in Geneva. And they leave for bigger and better things. It happens all the time. In our class, it happened at a higher-than-average rate.

What that means for me is that most of my close friends in the program are not in my cohort, but are instead a year or two or three ahead of me. And because they are smart and talented researchers and good teachers, most of them got jobs this year, which means that they're leaving. Since I head to the Congo on Tuesday and won't be back until August, and since they have to move all over the country and be at their orientations by August, tonight was our night to say good-bye.

We went to Ginny's, because Mark Not the Methodist wanted to go to Ginny's, and because Ginny's is Adorable Mike's favorite place, the place he took his sweetheart to dance to Dale Watson for their first date. And we sat and talked for hours, danced to Ted Roddy's music, talked about the future and the past and what life will be like as faculty members at universities in New Jersey and Louisville and Lubbock and New York City. We remembered classes and classmates, parties and papers, advisors and dissertations and all of the other things that only people in your situation can understand.

Late, late, after we talked forever, after D-Line and I danced to "Blue Moon of Kentucky," after Mark Not the Methodist refused to say good-bye, we stepped out onto Ginny's porch under her steeple and tonight's blue moon in the hazy, humid Texas summer night. And we said good-bye, good luck, stay in touch, be safe, see you at a conference, come visit me for the Derby, see you in Lubbock. Good-bye.

I guess that's how it goes. Nothing (except stress) is permanent in the life of a graduate student. People come and go, you yourself leave and come back again, new faculty are hired, good teachers are denied tenure. Your friends leave. But, oh, I'm glad to have friends, and to have had one last night twirling around the dance floor with the ones who've shared it all.

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