Surreal. adj.: “of or relating to fantastic and incongruous imagery or effects produced by unnatural juxtapositions and combinations”

Lately, I have been having trouble wrapping my mind around some things. Celebrated surrealists like Salvador Dali and Max Ernst could handle irrationalities, but neither of these artists graduated from college and neither dealt with the absurdities a Georgetown senior faces each day.

Take last week, for example.

The scene: late Thursday night at a swanky, dimly lit tapas bar on M Street that the firm I interned with this fall had rented for a company party.

The characters: a posh crowd of young professionals and twentysomethings hobnobbing with coworkers, martinis in hand, the workday forgotten and fiancés on display.

The incongruous imagery: me, younger in age, dress and lifestyle.

I did not look chic in my hooded puffy Gap coat. I did not appear classy as I tried to smooth my hat-head and release the static electricity from my energy-charged hair. I did not feel sophisticated when I remembered the unread chapters in my English textbook waiting for me at home.

Awestruck by “Sex and the City Goes to Washington,” I could barely make conversation and spent most of the evening nodding, smiling and sipping my drink. Though a guest by invitation, I was not at ease in the environment, as I most typically associate weekday nights with a book and an early bedtime. I found myself struggling to prevent a yawn from interrupting my nod, smile and sip routine.

The following night was no less strange.

Most of us know The Tombs to be the epicenter of a Georgetown upperclassman’s nightlife.

The quintessential college bar, only a beer pong toss away from the university gates, The Tombs remains, undoubtedly, the primary venue where most upperclassmen go to chill, to grab a couple pitchers or to toss back a few drinks. The place where school-spirited seniors go to watch the game, energetic seniors go to pregame and unattached seniors go to find game.

The Tombs is the Georgetown hangout, the local restaurant where you order a burger with fries and get a chance to flirt with that guy in your history class. The Tombs is what The Max was for Zack and Slater, plus alcohol and more than six returning characters.

The locale for a pair on a first date, the pit stop for procrastinators on the way to the library, the place where a party-hungry senior may go when his appetite is less than satiated by a keg in Village B. We have needs as college students – The Tombs fulfills them.

And last Friday, like usual, the majority of the senior class piled into The Tombs, sipping mixed drinks and sliding beer mugs down the bar. Yet a very distinct, very palpable difference was at hand – our parents. Drinking beers and ordering wings, our parents were laughing and chatting as if The Tombs was their regular joint.

I wasn’t upset. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But when I took a step back to really soak in the scene, it all seemed so bizarre. I felt an inexplicable strangeness. I had never really associated many students from Georgetown with family lives at all. Let alone did I ever expect to be ordering another round with the mother of the girl from my

English class.

I know drinking with family is not abnormal for everyone and maybe I am simply too immature. But for me, a pitcher with parents is yet another unnatural juxtaposition that signals adult life and impending graduation.

The rest of the week didn’t get much simpler. I caught myself in heels and a business suit, schmoozing with a human resources director while marketing myself for a real job. Later that afternoon, I mailed out an application for a personal credit card, filed tax return forms and pulled a hairball out of my shower drain.

None of it makes much sense to me right now.

But when does surrealism ever make sense? I don’t understand how a flower can drift above the earth and radiate light like the sun, but I find Dali’s “Meditative Rose” to be an incredible painting. I don’t have to “get it” to appreciate it. I guess life’s like that, too – except for the taxes and the hairballs.

Polly Burokas is a senior in the College and can be reached at burokasthehoya.com. Focus with Burokas appears every other Friday.

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