Saturday was Suit Day. Mind, I am not a suit and tie person -- I don't pull the things out often at all. So this day was truly exceptional: my little suitcase was full, because I needed my suit for the morning, and the tux for the evening.
In the morning, we were down in Hartford for tpau's bat mitzvah. This was really pretty fascinating, I have to say. I've been to a fair number of bar/bat mitzvahs before, but I think they were all in Reform temples, with a lot of English. This was a good deal more conservative, and *very* Hebrew-heavy, with just a bit of leavening of English, and instructions from the Rabbi to now flip to page 306. (Those of us who didn't know the liturgy were page-flipping frantically as it bounced around.)
Of course, I don't actually read Hebrew aside from scattered words, but I treated it as I always do, as a fun exercise in on-the-fly decryption. I know just enough of the alphabet to be able to kind of keep up, synchronizing on the frequent "adonai"s and "asher"s that were common enough for me to use them as keyframes when I got lost. None of which helps my reading comprehension much, but bit by bit over the years I'm beginning to internalize the letter-to-sound correlations, which is the very first step in literacy.
I was impressed by the congregation. The synagogue was quite large, and by the time we got into the main body of the morning it was respectably full. (The mitzvah service had 13 people in the class, so it started earlier than usual since it would necessarily run long.) For non-high-holy-days, it was quite a turnout, and a large fraction of the people there seemed very into it -- the bits that were read by the congregation were loud, with many people following smoothly along in the (bloody fast) Hebrew. And despite the *enormous* reception hall -- big enough for a Coronation -- it was totally mobbed when we broke for breakfast. It's clearly one of those good congregations that has successfully engaged the community and really drawn people in.
Following that, it was north to the evening's Eastern Star function. (With a brief detour into a lovely little local book sale along the way.) The OES thing turned out to be in an un-air-conditioned hall, which was bad news: we were still in the leading edge of Tropical Thingy Hanna, and to call the air "swampy" would be to insult the Everglades. Fortunately, someone was on the ball, and we found a little folding fan at each seat for dinner: without that, I'm sure someone would have gone down from the heat. Even with it, packing 140 into a medium-sized lodge room was a bit dicey; the Powers That Be chose to put sanity ahead of protocol, opened the doors (which are usually all closed during rituals), and encouraged the guys to remove their tux jackets. So nobody died, and the heat encouraged everyone to go a little quicker than usual, so we got through in only about 2.5 hours. (Which for a big Eastern Star shindig is pretty fast.)
The drive home was entertaining. I've driven through heavier rain, but never for two hours like that. It was a lot like driving through medium-grade snow: not terrifying, but requiring very close attention every step of the way. Fortunately, while the rain was intense, the wind wasn't bad, so the car was pretty stable.
The highlight of Monday (that's the "plus one") was the Tufts Activity Fair. I went over in garb to help the Science Fiction Society, which is trying to get a borough back off the ground there. I helped attract attention, and answered the more in-depth questions about the SCA when they came up. (In general, I'm trying to step back from being the front-line person at activity fairs, in favor of having the people without grey hair do so instead.)
This was a blast -- one of those reminders of why I enjoy activity fairs so much. Unlike last year (when they had to put the club president into a Darth Vader mask and go shake people down until they signed up), this time we got a pile of sign-ups just from being there. We were the official Geek Table: besides the SFS/SCA, we were sharing the table with the Strategic Gaming Society, and also had a sign-up sheet for the nascent Anime Club. (Towards the end of the day, the girls who are forming the Anime Club came by in their matching Anime School Girl outfits and did a performance of the main-title dance from the anime they were dressed as -- a fine perk for those of us working the table.) So basically, all geeks gravitated straight to our table, and signed lots of sheets.
I have to say, I'm really liking this group: they remind me a lot of Fenmere back in my day. When we didn't have freshmen to talk to, I got to talk to them about the various geekly pursuits in the area, including Arisia, Intercon, the Marathon, and so on. They're the kind of folks who get into all this stuff, but haven't had the contacts in the geek community to *find* all of it. So I'm helping them connect with it, and generally discover a bit more of what's available off-campus. I'm hoping we see more of them...