Saturday, June 07, 2003

We're about two-thirds of the way through the reunion now, and it's been fun so far; the only disappointment is that the sizeable contingent from my old dorm has not been able to incite a good water fight yet. I have high hopes for the Sunday morning brunch, though. Maybe we can find some alums from the fraternity house across the alley who will help us out with that little matter. I can recall some escalating incidents, two and a half decades back, that began with an exchange of funnelator volleys, dispatched the -- er, ornamental Cannabis sativa sitting in the open (!) window of a fifth-floor dorm triple to contraband-dicot heaven, and ended with an entire outer wall of a brick building becoming mysteriously splattered with bite-sized portions of stale cream cheese. With chives. (This is why most of my classmates are a bit afraid of me. I remember stories like that one for much too long and in entirely too much detail. Maybe if I threatened to regale a few of their offspring with these stories between play sessions at Camp Tech, I could pick up a bit of mad money for my efforts, if you get my drift.)

We're relaxing now, having punted Tech Night at the Pops and the associated class dinner, and having gone to our favorite Indian restaurant instead. The Pops are something of an institution here, but I don't share the enthusiasm that most of my friends feel for them. I've learned to like symphonic music in mid-life as well as retaining my lifelong fondness for good rock and pop, and I'm by no means a snob or a musical purist, but when the Pops launches into the oldies-top-40 stuff, it always seems like a waste of good rock and roll to me. After 15 years, I still remember the Tech Night when they closed their program with La Bamba. I still cringe on behalf of the Class of 1958.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

I'm trying to figure out what the proper etiquette is for collecting ants during the outdoor events at one's 25th college reunion. I expect that using the crumbs of hors d'oeuvres for bait is a bit tacky, not to mention whipping an ethyl acetate jar and alcohol vials out of one's handbag while everyone else is trying to sip their beer and munch their cocktail shrimp without noticing. Then again, my classmates always knew I was a little weird, and there's not any reason why the intervening years should have changed anything.

Maybe I'll stick to collecting the ants in my mom's yard when I get there afterwards. At least Mom will appreciate every minute of my efforts, since she definitely doesn't like ants. I still remember the night, about 30 years ago, when a Camponotus queen walked up my mother's ankle in our living room. I still remember Mom's reflexive kick that sent the ant flying; damned shame that there weren't any pro football scouts in the room. I'm sure the ant was surprised as well; she was obviously a mated queen, because she'd torn her own wings off by then, and her tiny little ant brain probably harbored no expectations of ever flying again. She got one final taste of being airborne before my mother pureed her beneath a sneaker. Ever since then, I've had real empathy for the dangers faced by hymenopteran reproductives.

It's also just as well that one can no longer purchase an 84% solution of chlordane in a garden shop. My mother hated ants so much that she used to splash the baseboards with this solution -- undiluted -- at the sight of a single carpenter-ant worker. I think her yard must still harbor the biggest population of chlordane-resistant ants in the state. As for the level of exposure that we primates must have received: It's probably for the best that I never had children.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Various things have kept me offline for a while, mostly related to manuscript edits, although we did spend some time attending Rick's 25th college reunion. It was quite the intimate affair; mine promises to have about 20 times the attendance of Rick's, which will be a very different experience.

Two events made today potentially memorable. One is that, even as I fuss with edits to my second manuscript, the first has been accepted by a major genetics journal with only minuscule revisions required. Rick was complaining last night that we had two bottles of champagne taking up space in the refrigerator and no occasion on which to drink it. I expect to make some fridge room tonight. Hell, we can drink it outside and hope that some Euodynerus foraminatus stop by to sip from our glasses too.

The other milestone is that, three months having passed since my total spaying in March, I was finally cleared to get my prescription for ethinyl estradiol filled today. (Note to worried friends: No, it's not the estrogen-progestin combination HRT that has been getting such bad press lately. Yes, I'm well under 65. Yes, even if I tolerate it well, I promise to go back off it before I get that old.) While I was waiting for the pharmacist to hand over the goods, I realized that I was standing next to a shelf full of disposable cameras. The brand on display behind me (I'm not kidding): FLASH 400. First thought: Yep, that's me. Second thought: As Inspector Clouseau would say, "Nit inny muure."

Third thought: Y'know, my relatives really are pretty old. My youngest aunt is now 75. I've got exactly one younger first cousin, and he's going to turn 41 later this month. It hasn't been all that long since I was permitted to leave the children's table, so to speak; we really do have a different time scale of life's milestones than do families living through the wee hours of the genealogical clock. I just keep picturing my mother getting all sentimental about this. "Just yesterday my daughter was a little girl; today she's picking up her first prescription for HRT. They grow up so fast ...."