Friday, July 31, 2015

Frat Boy: Gracie - The Gala Part 1

Stunning.

This wasn’t any ordinary Formal, this was a Gala. This was a celebration of our SAI chapter as the oldest running chapter in existence. We were at The Drake Hotel, one of Chicago’s most beloved landmarks on the North section of the Magnificent Mile.

I was graduated at this point from my undergrad but continued at Northwestern for my graduate studies. Diana, my girlfriend (and my future wife) is two years younger than me, so she was still an active undergrad member of SAI.

Most people finish their time as an officer of PMA or SAI at the end of winter quarter and only have the spring to deal with watching younger people take over and than they leave. This is a difficult transition because for years you work at making an organization better and then you pass on these jobs to younger members.

No one is really in office for more than two or three years so sometimes the institutional memory doesn’t get passed on and young officers. This is a very inefficient way to run an organization if constant growth was a goal. However, the goal of PMA and SAI wasn’t for the organization to be in a constant upwards trajectory. Instead these organizations existed to help people bond and learn how to run an organization. The rotating officers, and having older people let go, was a great way to accomplish this task.

I did let go, but I was still a presence. I came to PMA and SAI events and I was often asked for my help and advice when dealing with issues. It was hard after being the music director watching the new music director try to figure out the gig, but it was okay and anyways, I had other priorities.

As this big SAI Gala started to come to together, the girls in SAI asked if the PMA guys would sing at this event. This was unusual as the PMA would usually only sing at their Formal and SAI would sing at their own. However, this was a special event and SAI extended the invitation. The current music director didn’t get invited to the SAI Gala, so I was asked to conduct the PMA as they sang a couple songs, and I happily agreed to help out.

The Gala was huge. Usually only undergrads showed up to Formals, but many SAI alumni showed up. There were much older people who had graduated before I was born who came and then there were those SAI members who took care of me when I was a freshmen, since graduated, who came back for the celebration.

It was such a great feeling to see all of these people again, introduce them to Diana and show tell them about how I had “grown up.” I remember seeing Gracie walk in. It had been more than two years since she graduated and we last talked. During that time, my resentment towards her had built. Not because of anything she had done during this time but because of how I felt that I had been mislead by her.

Gracie had her way of doing things, and her view on the way that SAI and PMA should run. I found that many of her opinions didn’t hold true now that my class was in power. For some reason this felt like a power grab and a way for her to manipulate me. Of course, this is silly. She had graduated and of course her views would be different than mine. As much as our organizations stayed the same, they also changed a lot. My negative feelings towards her, were more about my own insecurities and my inability to let go, more than it was about any bad things she really did to me.

When I saw her, I made every effort to avoid her (I know, reeeeal mature). This wasn’t really difficult since we had different crowds that we hung out with at this event. So everything went really smoothly.

I was so excited as I tried to settle down the PMA guys to sing. I gave them the pitch of our first song and we joined together in song. As we sang, I felt the positive energy coming from the guys and the girls behind me cheering us on. It had been almost a year since I last conducted these guys and it was a great feeling performing with them once again.

After the set, I left the ballroom to go to the bathroom, still feeling the adrenaline high from the performance. As I walked down the hall back to the ballroom, Jessica came running up to me. She was distressed and out of breath.  Jessica told me about what had happened in detail while I was gone, but all I heard was “Gracie,” “Diana,” and “fight.” The positive adrenaline and energy in my body, immediately turned into anger and without responding to Jessica, I pushed into ballroom.

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