For being introverted almost to the point of being antisocial, I surprised myself in taking the initiative to go to my class reunion dinner. There were activities planned for the entire weekend, but I know myself- a little social interaction goes a long way with me, especially in potentially awkward situations, and even more so in potentially awkward situations involving other people and too much alcohol. I can’t drink in public for a number of reasons, and I get enough of drunk-watching-as-entertainment at home. I did party back in the day, but it lost its charm long ago. Maybe I’m strange, but 25 years is a freaking long time, and I live in a completely different sphere than I did in the wonderful world of the mid-1980’s.
Spuds is in the G&R, the stars are in the heavens and all that, but I’m not the same. Me, circa 1986, would not even vaguely recognize me, today. The 1986 me would probably be running for cover, screaming, “HOLY SHIT, I’ve become my mother!!”
Some of the people I graduated with are almost exactly as I remember them. Others have been dealt with even more cruelly by time and circumstance than I have been. Some- or I should say most- I’d never recognized at all if not for the name tags. Especially the guys. I got there a bit early so I could watch people trickle in and perhaps gain my bearings. I was shocked at how old some of the guys looked. Jerry is 12 years older than me, but a few of these poor guys looked as if they had 20 years on him. As cruel as it may sound, one thought that went through my head was, “Who are these geezers, and what happened to my friends?”
I don’t mean that in a malicious sort of way. I know only too well that time has been rather cruel to me as well, even though I was never much to look at to begin with, and have always been proportioned like a mutant troll. I am sure that not a few people looked at me and wondered what the hell happened. I think in some ways we are all wondering just when we got so old. I know I sort of expected everyone to look the same as I remembered, which isn’t terribly realistic.
It is sort of sad in a way that I’ve really not kept touch with people over the years. I do care, but I get busy, and I spend far too much time catering to Jerry and his high maintenance needs. He made it very clear long ago that he really doesn’t want to socialize with any of my friends (frankly, I think he’s afraid of them seeing him when he’s shitfaced and acting like a horse’s ass) and I don’t socialize much anyway, so as soon as you know it, everyone I used to know is a geezer/cougar too, and their lives and circumstances have all changed.
I made it a point not to get embroiled in anyone else’s scandals or juicy bits. If someone were to investigate, and the more inquiring minds likely have, they can uncover all sorts of rather twisted, torrid and tawdry dirt on me. I’ve done my share of stupid things and made my share of really bad decisions. Don Henley said it back in 1985- “We all know that crap is king, give us dirty laundry…” The thing is I don’t have the heart to hold a 25 year grudge toward anyone, or to dredge up anyone’s sordid past.
Over all, I think it was a healthy thing to reconnect for a moment, but above all, to be reminded that the past is exactly that, and for the most part, it’s a good thing. I’m a lot more comfortable with myself now- although being in a room with close to a hundred people I’ve not seen in years did keep me more on guard than usual. (Yet another reason why temperance befits me!) I did see some people in a different light which was also a good thing. I may not have been one of the Beautiful People, but the line between me and them is not quite so well defined anymore.
In some ways I like to think that I may have made some new friends. Even though I may have known them years ago, people change. I am not the maudlin, huggy-kissy type. I don’t have the talent to just take up a decades-old conversation where I left off as if it were yesterday. I don’t remember names well (I do a bit better with faces) and I know to some I might seem aloof, but even though I refrained from hugging and kissing, it was nice to see people again.
I just couldn’t bring myself to swig on the community bottle of Boone’s Farm (acck) either. I’ve had a pathological aversion to drinking after others (especially on a glass bottle) ever since I was about four, and my sister used to grab my pop bottle, take a big swig and backwash into it. The thought of drinking other people’s spit and/or pre-chewed cud is one of the few things that just really completely gross me out.
I did have to take a pic of the “I Love Them Crabs” drink holder. That is classic. Some things do remain the same.