September 8th, 2004

home...such a beautiful thing...

As mentioned in my previous entry, I was in Northport for the holiday weekend, visiting my family and seeing a few old friends. The plane landed late Friday night, and I wasn't in the mood to do anything but go to sleep.

I got up late Saturday morning and did something that, in the recesses of my mind, I've been itching to try for a while: running the course of the Great Cow Harbor 10-Kilometer Run. I was doing pretty well over the first quarter of the course, but I then had to confront the centerpiece of the race - the hill of James Street, which has an average grade of about seven percent over three-eighths of a mile. I've pedaled up this hill on a bike before, so I had some idea of how strenuous it was; but running it was a different story completely. It was upon reaching the top that I had to make the first stop of the day. I made three more before finally calling it quits about 70% of the way around the course. I had nothing left whatsoever. I then proceeded to walk over a mile back to my car, which was parked at the start of the course. After a brief stop at home I then went swimming. This was very relaxing. After dinner I went to All Star Video and commiserated for a bit with Ryan, my best good friend from the old days. He arranged for the two of us to see "Without a Paddle" after he finished work that night, and I left to check out downtown Northport. I saw one of my high school classmates in an Italian ice shop, in the same job I had seen her working in a few previous summers. Now keep in mind, it's been over five years since I graduated high school. I expected most of the class of '99 to have dispersed, having completed their college educations and getting on with their lives. As it turns out, not so much.

I stopped in for an ice and the first thing she said was "so, I heard a rumor that you joined the Navy." I pulled out my military ID to confirm this rumor. We then spent many minutes updating each other on the twists our lives had taken. She said she had completed both her bachelor's and master's degrees - but had not found a teaching job yet (her master's is in education). She also mentioned that many of our high school classmates were around town, trying to get their lives on track after having finished college. Northport isn't exactly the kind of place for singles in their mid-20's - as my friend stated, it's populated almost entirely by young married families and old married families. I can't help but wonder how many of my friends thought, upon hearing that I had dropped out of Cornell and joined the Navy, that I was crazy. There's more than a hint of irony in the fact that I'm the one who has a steady job that I love. While the overriding feeling I had about this was sadness about how my friends' lives seemed to be stuck in neutral, but there was a tiny part of me thinking "how do you like me now?"

So after that Ryan and I went and watched "Without a Paddle", which was hilarious. Definitely the funniest movie I've seen this year. I also got the last copy of his old band's CD, and he autographed it for me.

Sunday morning I made a trek out to Wal-Mart to spend some more of the free money my parents had given me for Christmas. My priority was to find a new pair of sneakers - the ones I had been wearing for three years finally gave otu after Saturday's run, and I had pains in both my lower legs all Saturday night (these pains have since subsided). I found one (after dropping my shoe size twice) for a pretty cheap price. I also picked up a few DVD's mostly from the sale rack. After Wal-Mart I went for the one food I crave (and I use that word for a reason) but can't get in South Carolina - White Castle. It was beautiful. Then I spent a fair bit of time in downtown Northport, just soaking the place in, remembering why it's such a wonderful thing. After a few hours of hanging out, I met up with Ryan one more time. We went to a place in downtown Huntington called Cold Stone Creamery, where they make the ice cream cones right in front of you. Sort of like a Subway for ice cream. We then went back to his place to watch "Taking Lives," but I really wasn't into the movie, and I was getting tired and wanted to sleep, given I had to leave for the airport at 0800 the following morning. This I did, and the flight back was without incident - though I did have to deal with the outer fringes of Hurricane Frances upon touchdown.

So that was the weekend. In the next entry we'll explore today's exam.

arg arg

Today was the first chemistry exam - I probably should have done better than the 3.83 I pulled down. The major problem was taking the exam on only three hours of sleep. I haven't yet seen the exam and the mistakes I made, but I would bet that the lack of sleep had a lot to do with the eight and a half points dropped.

The lack of sleep led to another foible. The class was having trouble answering a question posed by our instructor. In my mind, I thought of "avoid a torpedo" as an answer, but when the words came out, the word "photon" preceded "torpedo." That provoked at least ten seconds of hard laughter. And I knew I was going to take plenty of crap for it. But being tired, I really wasn't in the mood for it, so I had to just ignore it all for a little while. I know I'll still be hearing about this for a long time to come.