We’re back from our short whirlwind trip to the Bay Area for Jeff’s college reunion. As Jeff notes, we hoped to post while there, but that was prevented by a flaky Internet dial-up connection at his parents’ house, which finally cleared up just hours before we were scheduled to leave. At the Stanford bookstore on Saturday, I did manage to use an iMac on display to check my email and clear out about a third of the several hundred spam messages that had collected just since I previously had checked my email Thursday morning, but the timing and location weren’t conducive to posting to the blog.
The trip was fast, jam-packed and exhausting, but with only one minor exception–his final class party late Saturday night–I had a really fantastic time. And even that one event wasn’t unbearable, only a little overwhelming and claustrophobic, and probably understandable given that it was the end of several event-filled days, very late Saturday night, and featuring a crowded gym full of beer-drinking, seemingly entirely straight, unknown twenty-somethings (even Jeff and his friends only saw a handful of people they knew).
We left DC Thursday morning at 11 Eastern, travelling to San Francisco via Dallas/Fort Worth, arriving at SFO 40 minutes early (though the more-than-30-minute wait for the luggage to arrive nearly balanced that out) around 5:00 Pacific, and were met by Jeff’s (delightful) parents who drove us back to their house in Daly City. Despite having a reservation for the reunion “Dinner on the [Stanford] Quad” at 7:00, we were repeatedly urged–nay, required–to eat something beforehand, and Jeff’s mom in fact already had some (delicious, as it turns out) lumpiang sariwa, from a local Philippino Filipino (I actually first used this, then oddly rejected it, thinking that for some reason it might be a pejorative spelling, but then Jeff emailed me that it actually was the more accurate) food store, set out for us on the dining room table.
We then dressed in our suits and ties and made our way to Palo Alto; with Jeff driving his parents’ car, it was my first time to be chauffeured by him. Thursday night was beautiful, clear and only mildly and quite comfortably cool. We parked in the reunion lot and made our way by golf cart to the check-in location–one of our fellow passengers on the cart was from the class of 1954 in town for his 50th reunion; another, from the class of 1974, asked what class we were with. When Jeff answered “1999,” he turned to me and asked if I were also from the class of 1999; I demurred, noting that I was there as a guest, but silently blessing the poor eyesight or generous spirit of his generation that could take, however briefly, 15 years off my age.
After checking in, we made our way over to the gorgeous Stanford quad, in the center of which dozens of tables were set up for all the five- and ten-year reunion classes around and under tents and with centerpieces of boxes of white and red carnations.
Because none of Jeff’s friends were planning to attend dinner that night (most weren’t coming in for the reunion until Saturday), we took two seats at an empty class of 1999 table. Eventually two cute–albeit self-absorbed, snobbish and relatively uncommunicative–guys sat at our table, though eventually they left, making room for two latecomers from the class of 1994 who sat with us since there were no available spots at that class’s tables, and who turned out to be much more engaged, engaging and interesting (she’s given up a five-year practice in law to start her own jewel design business, while he had only recently returned from a year of competitive cycling in Australia). Our table was filled out by a group of friends from the 1999 class and the husband of one of them; when he sat down next to Jeff, he noted that my nametag too lacked a class number, so we connected at first because of our commonality as non-Stanfordites. Over the course of the dinner, we continued to discover that Mark and Dijana were really cool, and by the end of the evening had collected there address in Manhattan, where we hope to visit them on one of our New York weekend trips.
After dinner, Jeff gave me a walking tour of part of the campus, and then we retired back to his childhood home to sleep. Jeff’s mother had moved a second twin bed into his room for me but, surprising both of us, had pushed it against the other, making them up as a single king size bed for the two of us.
–And day one ended.–