A swanky loft downtown was the setting of a cocktail party hosted by the quaint New England college I graduated from a few years ago. They were looking for money, and the chicness of this setting seemed to be a good starting point.
While mingling with those alumni I recognized, I ended up in conversation with a woman whom I had no idea who she was. We talked about the school, what courses I had taken and when I attended.
“But I had the absolute worst academic advisor while I was there,” I said. I explained how I graduated from what should have been a 4-year college in a scant 2 1/2 years.
“That’s impressive. How did you do that?” the woman asked. I was used to this question most people posed wondering how I accomplished this feat.
“I happened to have finished up my requirements for graduation quickly. My advisor should have encouraged me to slow down.”
In seeking discretion, I didn’t want to use their name but explained that my advisor was a renowned photographer, teacher, and filmmaker. “Advising” didn’t seem to be in his wheelhouse.
“< Name of Advisor> was distracted by one of his star students who is now famous for documentaries. You know, the one who even has a camera technique with his moniker?”
“Here we are years later, and I’m still upset that my advisor didn’t say, ‘Whoa, what’s the rush? How about using the time you now have and take courses to explore different fields?’”
There was a pause.
“I’m Mrs. <Name of Advisor>. In fact, he’s standing over there,” she said as she gave him a slight wave.
Conversation stopped dead in its tracks.
She stared at me. I stared back.
I nervously took another sip of my wine and futzed with the cocktail napkin. I wanted to say, “Would you excuse me now while I fall through the floor, dying of embarrassment?”
She came to my rescue. “Would you excuse me while I freshen up?”
“Of course,” I said, and graciously made a beeline for the door.