I went to my 40th high school reunion Friday night. Hard to believe that much time has passed. Even harder to believe I decided to go. You see, it’s a fact I have no memory and haven’t seen most of these folks since I was a pimply-faced 17-year-old. Odds are I wouldn’t recognize a soul.
It might have helped if everyone wore a photo of their senior portrait. Still, for me that wouldn’t have been enough. Their name needed to be included. Those little tricks might have increased my odds to a 10% recognition factor.That’s why I was grateful to attend with Sue, my best friend from high school. She has an envious memory. I bet Sue can tell you what she had for dinner last Thursday. I have trouble remembering what I ate for lunch today.
In high school, Sue was like a butterfly, colorful and active. I was more reserved, like a nondescript moth waiting to emerge from that cocoon. Too dramatic? Then let’s just say I was on the shy side.
Anyway, Sue acted as my face navigator. Besides, I’d have an opportunity to see the few people who were my closest high school friends. I knew I’d remember them (especially since I saw them at our 35th).
When I arrived at The Sheraton, I walked in with some strangers who looked about my age. Guests at the hotel? We glanced at each other, politely smiled and headed inside. Yep, turns out they were my classmates. Who knew?
To loosen up a bit, Sue and I headed to the bar. She bought us each a lemon drop at $10 a pop. I kid you not when I say the drinks didn’t fill a shot glass. It took all of 3 itsy-bitsy sips to finish. Not enough to give a buzz to a bee.Now don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t there to get schnockered. I was there to meet total strangers and ask them about their lives and families and careers. (Insert yawn here.) Reunions to me are a matter of making small talk with people you knew for 4 years, a very long time ago, and have not seen or thought of since.
Call me anti-social if you like. I guess I’m just not that sentimental when it comes to people I sat next to in Social Studies. But Sue wanted me to come and I never pass up an opportunity for blog material.
Other than enjoying seeing the friends I still know and remember, attending last week only reminded me how fast time slips by, how high school feels like another lifetime ago – back when the biggest event in our lives was the pep-rally followed by the Friday evening football game.Turns out the guy both Sue and I had a crush on wasn’t there, but the guy who had a crush on me, was. I said, “Hi, I’m Janet. You may not remember me.” He said, “Oh, I remember you,” and brushed on by. Well, okay then.I’d say the women looked more preserved than the men, maybe because we tend to use artificial means to create that illusion. I noticed one man chatting with a group of gals. He had long white hair pulled back in a ponytail and deep facial crevices.
Was he a 70-year-old rock musician here to entertain us? So I asked Sue, “Who’s that over there?” She said, “That’s John, one of the heavy stoners from our class.” Still, age had been kind to most of the guys.
I can safely say I asked Sue “Who’s that over there?” at least 44 times, because around 50 classmates attended. And Sue would say, “That’s so-and-so. You remember him!” (That would be a negative.) Still, my first question was always, “I’m sorry, but what’s your name again?”Actually, It was nice to catch up with Lori, Jacqui, Betsy and Toni.
Comical Peter was there, and also on the Friday before, because he got the dates wrong…Doug and I discovered we know the same person, whereupon I commented, “Yeah, what a jerk, huh?” Turns out they’re buddies. Whoops…Then there was Dave, the only person wearing a name badge because he didn’t go to our school. He was actually quite interesting.So after a couple hours schmoozing with people I’ll probably never see again (unless Sue persuades me to go to our 50th), I believe I was the first to depart. What can I say? It’s just not my thing. So I headed home, got into my jammies and made popcorn. I then cuddled on the sofa with my 3 dogs and watched a movie on Netflix.
If you ask me, that wasn’t a bad way to end Friday night.