I've probably now attended a dozen weddings or so. I don't get invited to a lot of them, which is maybe all the better because I find them slightly stressful. Being a person who likes sameness a lot, getting ready to have to fly somewhere, get dressed up, go through the pomp and circumstance. It's a bit out of the ordinary.
The more weddings you attend, the more you start comparing and contrasting weddings. What did this wedding do well? What did it not do well? It's a touch petty, but it's not that different from watching a movie and wanting to rank it or listening to a song and asking if it's your new favorite.
I decided to keep this trip on the shorter side. I flew in the day of the wedding, merely 6 hour before the ceremony. I wasn't sure I would know more than the guy getting married (Phil), his best man (John), and maybe that's it.
Still, sometimes you go to a wedding, start talking to someone, and even though you'll probably not run into them again, it's a pleasant conversation. At Adam's wedding, I met some Asian guy who, I believe, went to high school with him, and had since moved to Connecticut. I think they figured since we came as "singles" it was best to put as at the same table.
I hadn't thought about that since just about now.
Hmm, so let me quickly get to Phil, and this post may have to continue at a later moment.
I don't quite recall how I met Phil. I used to be at the university all the time. I had a couch in my office, and used it all the time. I was lazy, so I'd teach, head to the couch to sleep, and start the next day. It wasn't typical, and indeed, in hindsight, a bit weird.
Because of this habit, I'd run into students in the evenings. The big project of the day was operating systems. It was a course I had taken (though we had a different project) and been a TA for. Most OS projects seem to be deliberately vague, as if revealing the details would be far too much, giving students no challenge at all.
Since this was post 2000, the web was in full swing, and previous incarnations of the course were also on the web. Clever students cobbled together pieces from the previous projects to get a grasp of what they really needed to do.
There were two PCs dedicated to the project. It wasn't much, and most students relied on developing it at home on a suitably ratty PC.
There were maybe 5-6 students who would work on the project, and usually Phil would figure out what the project was aiming at and explain it to the others several different times. As anyone who has taught knows, explaining something to someone is the best way to learn.
OS was a pretty intense course, and the bonding that came from it something that students often remember years after the course is over. Although I wasn't really part of the course, that is, not a TA, not an instructor, I came and helped out when I could being an unofficial TA, and that was one of the fonder memories.
I had Phil suggest to be some modern indie mix that I still have on my ITunes to this day. We went a few times out to the 9:30 club. One time, we went to listen to the Gabe Dixon band, who was the warm-up for the suddenly popular Norah Jones (and he'd marry someone named Nora--coincidence?). We had listened to Doves, Sigur Ros. I can't say I've been to the 9:30 club much since then, perhaps once or twice by myself, but being out there was memorable.
I remember getting a flat tire very close to campus and not knowing how to change it. I called up Phil since he was one of the few people I knew. He didn't much know how to change a tire either. A cop came by, but wasn't helpful. He refused to change the tire. Phil called up a tow truck, and perhaps he wouldn't come for free (he had AAA). Eventually, we got that guy to change the tire, and I was fine. But it was a nice thing for Phil to do, as I was stuck an hour or probably two until then.
I had visited Phil's place in southern Maryland a few times, and remember that he was trying to meet someone here and how he'd lament that it wasn't happening. Phil's a prototypical nice guy, willing to give the shirt off your back, feeling guilty if he hasn't emailed you. They say guys like that have problems meeting women who want their guys tougher and not always as nice. Edge, they say.
Phil also wanted a career change, wanted to go to music. His programming career was as much due to the booming times in software and his parents suggestion that he do something more rewarding, monetarily, than astronomy, which was his big interest of the day. Phil said he never had much talent musically, singing or playing, but he loved listening to music, and started classes in sound mixing.
This eventually lead him to Chicago, where he thought a change of scenery would improve his life. Although the music career never quite panned out, he did meet Nora in Chicago, and I think he'll take that as a positive change, one that he didn't originally plan for (does one plan such things?), but has worked out quite well indeed.
More to come later...
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