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Bagpipes in Washington Square Park

Maybe it was because I was gazing at an exhibition of fluffy Easter chicks in suggestive poses when I first heard them, but the skreel of bagpipes really startled me. I have been in New York for four years now, but somehow, the procession of purple-robed, mortarboarded adults coming down Washington Place and proceeding through the park on a Wednesday afternoon felt like the weirdest thing I’d seen in the city yet. Poof — a graduation parade. Out of nowhere. Strolling right through the everyday everything else — the dog park, the pushers, the necking couples, mingling with the sounds of the performance artists.

I had just been thinking earlier today that the whole city really feels like a campus — I never have to drive, and yet I can get anywhere I want to be in a relatively short amount of time. It’s as familiar as the elementary school I spent both my years and summers exploring. Maybe that’s why — I hadn’t heard anything in advance about graduation at the Steinhardt School of Education. When I’m on campus, I expect to hear about something as big as a graduation. OK, so maybe New York’s not a campus.

Well, congrats, Steinhardt grads. I didn’t know anyone but Hampshire students got bagpipes for graduation. They were good pipers, too, and I spent my early teen years listening to a lot of Irish music. Harmonies played smack-on, and perfect phrasing.

I feel good. I just feel so goddamn good. Yesterday I presented a final project which everyone said I should turn into a real website. I wouldn’t say I aced the final for the NYU class today, but I did all right and it’s done. I’m one paper over deadline, but it started to feel manageable earlier today and I’m confident I’ll have it turned in by the end of the week. Hampshire never made me feel this confident. I have the weekend booked up with great friends, and I can do it without a stone around my neck. I’m glad I took those four years off. I finally am getting the hang of managing myself.

Washington Square Park is full of fancy tulips, with stripes and twists on their ruffled petals. Summer vacation starts any day now — my first summer vacation in the city. Liberty granted is always more appreciated than liberty in abundance. I think I’ll go dancing.


  1. Sarah wrote:


    (btw, Conn had pipers, too. always liked those pipers.)

    Friday, May 7, 2004 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  2. Dana wrote:

    So glad you are feeling better, ms. gus. Welcome back to the land of the living, for all of us.

    Saturday, May 8, 2004 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  3. Alice wrote:

    Thank you! |

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

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