Back from Back To School
I'm back, back, waaaaay back from my reunion. 20 years ago, we all swore to keep in touch, and in many cases, we only took our first real stab at it last Saturday. In person. This isn't a complaint, mind, and I'm not kidding myself that this goes any different for the majority of people.
I'm happy to report that prior performance was no indicator of future results. This reunion definitely didn't suck like my 15 year college one. In fact, it was a really nice experience. I chalk this mostly up to the fact that I'm actually more like my highschool self at this point than my college self. I still have very positive memories of high school and the kids I knew there. College, on the other hand, was full of very rich, very spoiled, very self-important assholes. For four years, and indeed quite a few years afterward, I believed that was the way to be. As I've gotten over that time, and over myself, I've come back around to feeling about life and the world like I did in 1984. OK, I'm not the same dopey kid, and I sure wouldn't fall for the flash of the cash like I did back then, but I think of myself in much the same terms. As a consequence I feel pretty good about the people from that era--the friends I made when I was myself.
Overall, I was pretty surprised at how kind the years have been to the good ol' class of '84. For the most part they were as trim as before, and appeared prosperous, or at least fertile. Luckily for me, direct evidence of fertility was limited to a select few, as most folks left their kids at home for the golf outing and the party, the two events I actually attended. My boss pointed out that such events are self-selecting, and that the fat and poor ones probably stayed home. I won't guess about the infertile.
There were a few highlights, though.
There was the one guy that hardly anybody remembered at all and nobody really knew (sorry Tony);
The guy who spent most of high school in shop classes, smoking out back with "those people," and down at the roller rink, whom I think everyone thought was going to wash away in the great stream of hourly factory workers our high school produced, who turned out to have gone to college and be running his own very lucrative high-tech consulting business (here's to you, Dark Horse Guy);
The cute girl who, after four (count 'em, four) children somehow turned into a supermodel, or at least the closest our school ever produced;
The few girls who turned into alarmingly leathery stick insects;
The occasional case of The Hair That Time Forgot (almost all women);
The far more frequent cases of The Hair That Time Remembered, and Wandered Off With (thankfully, all men);
And the one guy who actually showed up completely unchanged. I mean literally. Hair: the same. Build: the same. Sleeveless t-shirt and acid-washed jeans shorts: the same. It was totally weird, but like David Byrne wrote: "If you always wear the same outfit, people will remember you better." While nobody knew who Tony was, everyone knew Ed in the first instant.
Overall, it was a great success--I saw the people I wanted to see, saw a few people I didn't even know I wanted to see, and made nice with the people I didn't want to see, just because. I even got the stereotypical crush confession.
Now, she wasn't necessarily the person, or even within the subset of the people, I'd have liked to hear that from back in the day, and it wasn't actually a surprise, since I'd known, and purposely pretended not to know, at the time. But it was still a nice compliment, and tried to be nice in my response.
It's kind of a strange thing, this sort of confession. I find myself wondering what might prompt me to make such a statement. I suppose if I had actually had a reciprocal crush, I might admit it when the other person gave up the goods, and I guess if I thought there were an impending opportunity to make up for lost time, and spilling my guts could seal the deal, I might.* I know one thing for sure, though--it would be a private moment, not a neutron party-bomb that could cause a whole group of people to suffer transmortification**.
I reckon that was about the only really strange moment of the night, well, that and the spectral presence of the generally unknown Tony. OK, there was also the moment when somebody called all my closest friends together for a photo--somehow this caught the attention of the whole room, and while we were standing there for a photo or two, we endured a fair amount of observation to the effect that "there's the whole brainpower of our class right there." While I'm not sure it was meant as a compliment, given the company I had while standing there, I sure took it as one. Girlygirl pointed out later that it was probably the majority of the earning power too (leaving Dark Horse Guy out, I'm sad to say)--at last, some payoff for being the nerdy brainiacs (even though a number of us were also sports lettermen). Allright--I'm sending Sammy Maudlin home before I get myself all choked up.
So Girlygirl and I got back home safe and sound, and I'm satisfied that I spent my weekend wisely. I caught up pretty intensively with a few of my closest pals from the old days, which included seeing that the one who'd been pretty dissipated-looking, and clearing suffering from "loss of way," had cleaned up and cleared up and gotten happy and successful, meeting my best pal's two and a half year-old daughter, and generally drinking a lot of beer with guys I'd always drunk a lot of beer with, and getting away with it the next morning like I was 17 again. Twice. Can't ask for much more than that.
*Seeing as how I'm totally married, and unlike some people I know, totally committed to the idea of that, and indeed to the Girlygirl in general, I don't see that ever happening.
**Vicarious embarrassment, the stock-in-trade of pretty much all sitcoms these days, for those who're reading for the first time.