No, no. I said that wrong. Let’s try again:
It’s the First Day of SPRIIINNNNNNNG!
To me, there’s an inherent zaniness attached to the first day of Spring that doesn’t come with the other seasonal changes. The first day of Winter is claimed by earthy/granola/Wicca types who wanna wish you a Merry Solstice. The first day of Summer is anticipated by characters in the Great Gatsby, Shakespeare enthusiasts, and not much else. The first day of Autumn? Please.
But the first day of spring — that’s the day when life goes strange, goofy, loop-de-loop. Or could. The earth is shuffling off its slushy, ice-bound coil. The idea of warmth adds an extra zing of energy to every movement, every growth. Once the first signs of spring begin to appear — in Pittsburgh, that would be the miraculous, overnight filling of the winter’s crop of potholes — everything’s coming up daisies, and it’s crazy.
It’s also Match Day.
No, no — let’s try that again:
The day on which the nation’s graduating medical students find out where they are going for residency! A residency which, depending on the specialization, could last anywhere from three to seven years! And — this is the kicker — it’s all decided via a COMPUTER PROGRAM. Matching up brand-new doctors with hospitals, a la an electronic dating service. Only, when an e-date goes wrong, it only lasts an evening (or, when it goes really wrong, an hour). If you end up in a residency program you don’t like, it could last YEARS. And there’s nothing you can do about it, unless you’ve suddenly decided that you DON’T want to be a doctor after all.
So today, all of the graduating members of Brian’s med school class filed into an auditorium (where the “Matchmaker” song from Fiddler on the Roof was playing on the speakers, alas) and waited for the dean of the school to announce names and hand out little white envelopes with a printout of where we were headed.
We were lucky — Brian was one of the first twenty people called up, so we didn’t have to sit in agony while the other 150 people in his class went wild & crazy and tore up little envelopes with their teeth before heading out to toss back a few at a pub.
We are going . . . . to the University of Utah!
(ahem — oh, whatever)
THE UNIVERSITY OF UUUUUUTAAAAH!
It was a little anti-climactic for us, since we were pretty darn confident that this was what our printout was going to say. Brian and I had geared ourselves up for a shock, and how to deal with it gracefully (“Oh, Seattle! How dandy!) that when we saw that we had gotten what we expected, we just stared at it, going “Huh. Look at that.”
That’s the first day of spring for you, right there. Oh, and did I mention that Jeffrey had to come straight to the ceremony after undergoing oral surgery? And was still all woozy from the anesthetic, and so kept simultaneously falling asleep while applauding? Oh, and that the ceremony also included a med-school tradition that involved a goldfish bowl full of dollar bills? Yeah — the students fill up the bowl as they come up for the envelopes. Whoever has their name called last gets to keep the money. And is then expected to spend it all buying drinks for the rest of the class. (Ah, the doctors of tomorrow. Drinking tonight like there isn’t one.)
Part of me is a little wistful now, since it’s really beginning to hit home that we are leaving Pittsburgh, really leaving. I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my entire life, although it doesn’t seem that way. (Each year of high school seemed just as long as the seven years I’ve spent here.) All day we’ve been fielding phone calls and e-mails from our ‘burgh friends, all asking about residency, all excited to hear the news. This afternoon, red-and-white balloons appeared on our doorstep — the Utah colors.
(“In Spring . . . and the goat-footed balloon man whistled far and wee . . .”)
But I’m very happy — weirdly happy, like I can’t quite believe how perfectly things have worked out for us. When we called our mothers on the phone, Brian’s whooped and hollered, and mine cried with joy. I’m glad they were able to show the emotions that I felt pretty sure I would have upon learning Il Destino, but somehow didn’t. I suppose that’s why I’m happy about moving closer to family: they always manage to support you through your shortcomings, even in the most unexpected ways.
This summer: Beehive State or Bust!