Potency + Posterity through All-Nighters
Boston College maintains - what I once thought was - an inane tradition of graduating students planting themselves in tears and on bundled blankets to sunrise gaze atop the roof of the school's baseball field's parking garage. The garage is neither aesthetically pleasing, nor is the view of treetop-obstructed skyline very scintillating. On the eve of 23 May 2011, it was a brisk, wet evening. The campus lay covered in thick fog through the morning. Our sunrise proved disappointing as we squinted longingly through overcast skies. Tears flowed, seniors whinnied through the darkness, grazing the hard top to commemorate their different social circles vis-a-vis memory sharing and gratuitous embracing. Although peppered with empty beer cans and empty booze vessels, the scene appears either genuine or not.
Initially opposed to all the crying and the garish affair, I traipsed up to the garage - begrudgingly and in the middle of the night - just as "wee hours" approached. Police officers officiated; my peers huddled, swarmed, and swung their extremities-cum-beer can with reckless abandon. I felt I had to feign the feelings that appeared, at first glance, slightly disingenuous. Can pulling an all-nighter really create such effusive emotional outpouring?
Earlier that night, a band of friends ushered their families through the doors of Boston's oldest bar to dance their faces off. I maintain that this portion of the evening was the most fun. Coming from the North End after having consumed the first coffee drink of my life (to endure an all-nighter without scholastic pressures), several families entered the Bell in Hand Tavern to a congregation of many of our friends.
We danced. We drank. We introduced our parents to those of our best friends. (Besides primary school and weddings, when does this happen?) We marked the beginning of a long-night-ahead mentality with copious amounts of alcohol on parents' tabs - and it was brilliant.
I've just returned from a month and a half in California, Vermont, and Italy filming weddings for friends. Travel to San Francisco and Burlington fueled the latter half of August travels, and a combination of airplane, automobile, and Italian ferries shuttled me through nearly all of September in Sardinia. A rather unfortunate end to summer.
The Sardinian wedding reminded me of the potency of all-nighters.
The wedding began and ended in traditional Italian fashion, from 6pm to 6am. The beach ceremony began at 6. We filmed and photographed the ceremony and subsequent sunset portraits until 7:30, after a champagne cheers and half hour of guest congratulations. Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, canapés and general mingling followed. A cold seafood, meats and cheese buffet began the meal, and ended with a primi piatti of traditional Sardinian pasta (culurgiones) and a fat slab of beef for secondi. There was a gelato cart and dessert buffet. After food was coffee, surprise video screenings, and more mingling. The dancing didn't ensue until midnight, after the fireworks show, of course. And the rest of the evening didn't end until 6am.
It is not that the Tuozzos et al. thought to prolong the ceremony and proceedings intentionally, it's just the way this affair took place. In retrospect, it is clear that this wedding - among all weddings - was meant to take a strong seat in the memories of all who attended. When you stay up all night, and at an event like this, you remember everything. The images are emblazoned more strongly than not. The potency of your retelling the sequence of events is emphasized by the lack of sleep and sunrise observance. This is why the all-nighter nostalgia proves its mettle, in the end, because you will never forget what you did.
Although the Boston College tradition seemed petty at the time, I now realize its importance. I will forever remember gallivanting around in my long-johns through a mist, impenetrable with lacrimation and morning dew, bearing my father's dSLR around my neck. This celebration necessitated my first cup of coffee ever and an involuntary 45-minute nap on my bedroom floor (unforgiving, carpeted cement has never been so comfortable). I attempted to pack up a year's worth of gratuitous memory and thing-accumulation in 2 hours, rather than the 6 hours before, or even days preceding.
And thus wrought the fierce wrath shaken from the branches of my father's anger that afternoon: we packed everything up and out by 5pm the same day of graduation.
Note: the strict removal of yourself and all belongings by 5pm the same day as college graduation is in fact one of the most inane, unjust, and inconsiderate rules demanded by a university.
If you look at both images above and below, they were both taken right at the 6am marker, yet look completely different. But what they lack in visual similarity, they make up in potent memories and nostalgia.