So here, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite grad school memories. Technically, it didn't take place "in" grad school, but it did happen (frequently) during those years, and it involved a fellow grad student.
No, not that.
It was grocery shopping.
When I was in grad school, a major part of “fun outings” for my best friend and I would be our weekly grocery shopping trip. The joint trips started out, I think, because I didn't have a car and she did. And we both needed to eat at least now and then. And because taking classes & TA duties took up our days, these trips usually happened late at night, around 9 or 10. We started out at Big Discount Grocery, but eventually upscaled now and then to Target (which had a big grocery section in Collegeville). And since we couldn’t afford many other kinds of outings, it was a way to get out of the apartment and spend some time together, all while accomplishing a necessary errand. But the fact that we always went down every damn aisle sort of tells you that these were not just functional errand trips.
I should mention here that my friend and I were (and often continue to be) complete goofballs. So these shopping trips included:
- running jokes that were funny only to us
- contests at the checkout to see who could think of a historical event closest to the date represented by the four-digit number on her final checkout receipt. Rules allowed us to substitute a "1" for the first digit or drop it altogether. (My friend tended to win this one)
- a seasonal improvisational joust where, at the holidays, we would make up songs about the products we were buying, set to Christmas carols, trying to trade off lines back and forth without a pause. The lyrics had to be product-relevant, have internal logic, as well as rhyme and scan properly. (This one was my forté.)
- a mutual prank where we tried to sneak highly improbable products into the other's shopping cart to see if the other would get all the way to checkout before noticing.
- and once, during the Olympics: my friend did several cartwheels in the aisle (she may have even yelled "And she sticks the landing!", but my memory on that part of it is fuzzy), which was fortunately empty at around 10 p.m.