The flyer mentioned that the dance had advance tickets. I show up and find out it isn't just a dance, it's also a dinner. She looks a little apologetic when she mentions it's $65 for the dinner, desserts, open bar, and so on. She then mentions, "Well, if you forgo the dinner, it's $25." I had taken the precautionary step of eating before I got there, as I didn't know food would be served. $25 was just fine. So I pay and go in.
They had brought in a DJ. Frankly, I wasn't impressed with him. He would attempt to have the songs string together, but no real transitions. More than once, the changes in tempo jarred me. Lots of women who maintained their figures in prom-style dresses (including one who I swear was a dead ringer for Jennifer Love Hewitt, from the hair to the...well, you know....). I took a quick scan at the seating. Each table had placards for who was to sit where. I came across the name of a girl who had the locker next to mine and would chat with me as we raced between classes (only two minutes between periods in those days, until the principal tried it. It became four the next year). For the sake of this narrative, I will call her...Bev. I asked if Bev could be pointed out to me. I was brought to her and she flipped. She was disappointed because, the night before at the reunion, I didn't seem to recognize her. I apologized and the three of us started talking. They were really impressed with my wit. The woman from the night before zipped up and hugged me again and said how great to see me.
Jesus! Where was all this female attention when I was back in high school?!? Oh, and for the curious, Bev is engaged. Her fiance was there. Nice guy.
Bev's eyes suddenly shot open. "I gotta get a picture with you!" The woman who brought me to her offered to take it. Bev looked me over and asked how I wanted to pose.
I spun my back to her and said, back to back like TV detectives.
Bev roared with laughter and said, "THAT'S the Peter I know!" She jammed her back against mine, we gave the camera a thumbs-up, and not only did the woman get a picture of that, she also got one for herself.
Also met another woman from those long ago days. She was great to catch up with. She was always sweet. The guy that nabbed her is one lucky fellow.
The bar was open and the crowd was already getting loose. I was grabbing iced teas, my preferred beverage. The bartender smiled and said, "You're going to be wired on caffeine by the end of the night."
I responded, Ah, but I'll also be alert on the drive home. She conceded that point.
Eventually, the bar closed so dinner could be served. I hung out in the lobby for a while just to stay out of the way. I came back and everyone was milling around again. Suddenly, people started streaking past me. What I thought was a mad dash for the can was the bar opening again. The line actually stretched halfway across the room. In a short time, the odor of booze was prominent. One woman started dancing on a chair. I started taking over/unders on when she'd make it on top of the table. Talking with a couple of people was difficult because I would swear they were breathing pure alcohol. I wondered what would happen if I held a match in front of their mouths.
The one woman who I talked with the night before and led me to Bev lives in Kansas City. I told her a person I work with said Kansas City has a big jazz scene, was that true? "Oh, yeah," she said, and started telling me all the places I should go if I'm every there. She also got a picture with me and told me that, if I want to see it, I have to get a Facebook. When I told her I didn't want a Facebook, she would mention it every time she passed me. Sorry, still not interested.
The "dance" was pretty much how dances were back in high school. Mostly people milling around in their own little groups, the DJ basically providing background music, occasionally a group of girls went out on the dance floor and boogied...the only thing really missing was the Wall Of Nerds on the far side of the room. The shindig was quickly losing focus as the alcohol started kicking in. People were not really conversing anymore, so I eventually decided to call it a night. Everyone said it was great to see me, hugs aplenty. Especially Bev, urging me to keep in touch.
All in all, it wasn't great, but it was hardly the social torture I thought it would be. It was pleasant, somewhere between okay and good. I mean, I was actually wondering if they'd do it again next year and thinking about whether or not I'd go.
Ah, well, the past is over. Revisiting it is fun, but living there just isn't possible.