Reuniting with Georgetown

Saturday morning we got up early and headed for campus to catch a couple of the seminars. The first seminar was called “The Catholic Church: Why We State, Where We Need to Go”. The panel consisted of a Jesuit priest, a woman who is a Catholic lay leader and heads the Social Justice department, and a man who had been a Jesuit but left to get married. They had some very interesting and spiritually insightful things to say. After they shared a bit, they opened it up to the rest of the room (a fairly large classroom that was packed) for people to share their own thoughts and to ask questions. It was really good and we were glad we went.

After that, we went to Gaston Hall (the largest auditorium on campus) for “A Conversation with George Tenet”. I’m here to tell you something you might not know: the man can NOT sit properly in a chair.



It’s funny that on the one hand, this is George Tenet, the former Director of Central Intelligence, a high-placed (now former) government official and very powerful, well-known, well-connected individual. But on the other hand, as a fellow Georgetown alum (class of 1979), he’s almost like an uncle, or to some attendees, a brother. It must be funny for some of the people who were in his class – who shared a dorm with him and partied with him at the Tombs – to listen to him talk about his conversations with the president and how much classified information he dealt with. It was a great talk. People in the audience were asked to write questions on index cards, which were passed up to the moderator (university president and fellow alum Jack DeGioia) to ask George Tenet. He answered questions about Iraq and WMD, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 9-11, and a number of other topics very candidly and with some interesting stories. It was definitely worth going to.

Back to the chair thing, though—for some reason, George Tenet seemed like he was unable to sit in the chair provided. There was a very nice setup with two armchairs and a table in between (with water glasses). Instead of sitting back calmly in the chair to answer the questions, he kept inching to the front of the chair, fidgeting back a bit, then leaning forward again. A couple of times, I really thought he would topple face forward with the chair – the back legs came off the ground more than once.

Those two events (along with a number of other seminars and tours that we didn’t go on) were free of charge to all who attended, and were the best things at the reunion weekend.

After the George Tenet thing, we went to a picnic down in a tent near McDonough Gym. The food was catered by Rocklands, a great BBQ place in Upper Georgetown. The picnic was disappointing, though – the food wasn’t what we would have expected (mostly just burgers and hot dogs) and there wasn’t anyone there we knew. We chatted with a couple from the class of 1995 who were there with their baby, but they weren’t very talkative, and it was also hard to hear because of the music that was being played.

We bailed on that to see if we could find anyone we knew. We had just about given up and were in the Bookstore to buy a few T-shirts, when I turned around and saw Phil DeBiase. I was very confused for a minute because – it finally clicked in my head that this was correct – he graduated in 1999, not 2000. He explained that he was there with another friend, Lisa Givens, and that he tends to crash all the reunions. I was so glad to see him, and it was great to see Lisa and catch up with her as well. Dave and I were jealous to listen to her talk about her plans to move to St Louis, where she had just bought a one-bedroom condo for $150,000 – totally impossible in San Diego!!

After we made our purchases, we were adrift for the afternoon. Not knowing what to do with ourselves, we surfed the internet for ideas, and discovered that the National Gallery had a special exhibit of Lichtenstein drawings on display. So we ditched the car at the Wong house, then took the Metro downtown and visited the museum. We stopped by to see my beloved Monets, and then went to the contemporary wing. The Lichtenstein exhibit was very small (only 13 works) but we enjoyed a few other galleries as well. Then we went to the sculpture garden for a bit – long enough to realize just how hot and humid it was. (Still not too bad for DC weather, but it was in the mid-80s and the usual high humidity.)

Since we were so hot, I convinced Dave that it would be a really good idea to go swimming. We leared earlier in the day that Yates, the gym available to all Georgetown students, was free to alumni during the reunion weekend. The ironic thing is that of the collective 8 years Dave and I spent as Georgetown students, we actually worked out at Yates a total of probably fewer than 5 times – even though we were required to pay the Yates fee! So, we made up for it a bit by swimming 20 laps. It was refreshing. We were so sleepy all afternoon, and after spending some quality time exercising in the water, we felt a lot more awake.

We had decided to buy an iTrip so we could listen to our iPods in the rental car (which had a CD player but no tape deck with which to use our usual adapter). So we drove over to the nearest Apple store in Virginia. We got a great parking spot as soon as we got there, walked across the street to the store… and found that it was closed! The store closed at 8 pm (lame!) and it was 8:06 pm at this point. The cashiers inside were ignoring us. So, they lost our business. We would go to Best Buy on Sunday instead.

Then we went to Red Hot & Blue for dinner – yummy barbecue. We were SO full by the end of dinner, and it was very late (about 9:30 pm). We drove back to the Wong house to ditch our car, and took a cab to campus for the Class of 2000 party on the Leavey Esplanade.

The theme of the party was “Bars of Georgetown”, so they had set up four different stations with signs to name them as different Georgetown-area bars. They were all mobbed, and it took 30 minutes of standing in line just to get a drink. Luckily while we were standing in two different lines, we ran into some people we knew, and were able to catch up with them a bit before we went our separate ways. In the second line, we ran into Lisa, so we went with her and found Phil, as well as Mike Radolinsky, who I believe graduated in 2003 (mind you, not 2000). We hung out with those guys for quite some time, but we lost them after we went to get new drinks. Dave only ran into one or two more people he knew after that, so we realized the situation was rapidly deteriorating. Another event not at all worth the $30 each we paid (return on our investment: 3 drinks).

Standing on the Esplanade looking down at the construction of the new athletic facility, and the brand new Southwest Quadrangle beyond that, we pondered our involvement in future reunions – whether it’s worth going to reunions for Classes of 1998 and 2000, and whether it’s really worth paying for as many “official” events, rather than choosing to go out to lunch/dinner/etc with friends we know. It’ll be interesting to see where we are in a general sense when my 10-year reunion rolls around anyway….

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