Saturday, February 09, 2008

Podunk, here we come

I’m blogging, which can mean only one thing: I have a test coming up. Yes, the things I do to avoid studying endocrinology.

Last week the nation celebrated Groundhog Day, and I organized yet another trip to Punxsutawney. The trip last year was a rousing success so we decided to venture off again. Last year about a dozen of us attended the festivities. We never got an official headcount this year, but I’m almost positive we had over 60. It was ridiculous, primarily in a good way, though not completely.

After our rave reviews from last year, about thirty people expressed interest in joining us for our return trip. As so often happens, most of the girls decided not to go, primarily because girls are inherently less fun than guys. So much more attractive, but so unwilling to stand in the forest at 4 in the morning in February. But our final count of close personal friends came to 11 guys and 6 girls driving from Columbus. Add another 4 of our friends from Cleveland and we’re up to 21. Add another friend of ours who drove up from DC and you’re at a whopping 22. Now the remaining 40 were people that I didn’t know. Most everyone invited their friends, family and coworkers. We even had a couple random guys who saw our cars in the parking lot and decided to join us. I probably wouldn’t have let them in, but I thought they were someone else’s friends and by the time I figured out that they were strangers it was too late to kick them out. So we spent the entire evening on Friday welcoming new people to our humble abode in Punxsutawney, making pizza trucks visit us numerous times, watching the famous film Groundhog Day and generally hoping the fire marshal didn’t discover our gross violations of proper procedure. It was indeed ridiculous and quite enjoyable.

We didn’t actually go into Gobblers Knob at 3 as we had halfheartedly planned. It was sleeting a bit and we really hadn’t gotten to sleep until 2, so we ended up waking up at 5 and getting to the Knob around 5:30. If you’re ever going to attempt this trip, this is really plenty of time. It’s fun to watch the drunk people, enjoy the bonfire and see the silly “crowd-pumping” for only so long. We were a little closer than last year, but generally had the same experience. The people dancing on stage were a little sillier, the music during the pre-dawn fireworks was significantly worse (they played Imogen Heap and Air Supply during fireworks. Hello? Who plans this?) and we got to see the crowd’s reaction to six more weeks of winter, but otherwise, it was the same. It turns out that the novelty of last year’s experience contributed greatly to the charm. I had a great time, but I doubt I’ll make the trip again next year.

Our adventures in town were much abbreviated from last year. A close friend of ours had the extremely poor sense to plan his wedding on Groundhog Day, so we had to rush back to Columbus to make it to the reception. We planned our trip way before he popped the question to his fiancé. But we forgave his rude behavior and packed up our stuff to leave early. Consequently we didn’t get to see ice sculpting or antique shows or the flea circus we had heard so much about. But we hit some of the highlights, got our picture with Phil and made it out of there by noon.

All in all, a good time was had. I bragged to my carmates as we drove home that I had just thrown the most successful YSA Conference that I’d ever attended. Which really means that I should attend more YSA activities. And I would, if they had whistlepigs.

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