Sunday, August 09, 2009
The Seventeen-Year Sighting
Eugene and I have an old college friend named Ed. Eugene met Ed first; they bonded over a low score on an Organic Chemistry exam. Ed was the one who taught us the true definition of toluene ("Toluene...is a benzene...with a methyl group...sticking out of it!") and was involved in some of our most memorable moments from undergrad. Unfortunately, the last time we saw him was in 1992, at the graduation ceremony. Every once in a while, we'd find him online, in an alumni group or social networking site. There may have been an occasional phone call or e-mail, but contact was limited once Ed returned to Thailand, where he was born. Then he came to Evanston, near where my in-laws live, to take a short course at Northwestern. We weren't going to let this opportunity to see each other slip away.
We made arrangements to drop Alex off at my in-laws' house for a few hours. Then we drove to Ed's hotel; it was faster driving there than finding a parking space in the parking garage. Ed was waiting for us in the lobby. He still looks very much the way he did in undergrad.
The three of us walked to Carmen's, a pizza place Eugene and I have been to several times for stuffed pizza. The air conditioning wasn't working--naturally on the first really hot day this summer. The pizza was still good, and the conversation flowed. Ed happens to be one of those friends you can pick up with right where you left off no matter how long you've been apart. Of course we did have to fill in the major personal events of the last seventeen years, but they haven't changed our relationship.
After dinner, we walked to the lake, where we took the above photos. Too bad we didn't get one of the three of us! When it started to get dark, we found a Ben and Jerry's and had ice cream before walking Ed back to his hotel.
The babysitting situation turned out to be a triple win. We got to have an adult conversation and walk around downtown Evanston. Alex's grandparents got to spoil him and hear him talk and identify his letters. And Alex, once he got over our absence, ate lots of eggrolls, played with his uncle, and learned how to use a microphone. Yesterday was also Eugene's birthday, so between hearing Alex spontaneously tell him "Happy Birthday" and reuniting with his long-lost friend, I don't think he could have asked for anything more.