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Stranger Than The Niiiiiiiiight....

Hemming and hawing, finally figure, sure, I'll go to the dance.  After all, the reunion proper wasn't so bad.  I guess it figures -- the woman coordinating it was one of the social butterflies in my class.  If she's putting together the kind of shindig she would want to attend, she was doing pretty well.  And once again, the biggest dipshits weren't there.

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.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
mornblade
Apr. 11th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it worked out for you. I still think I'll avoid my reunion though. I'd hate to lose my bitter hatred for those people.
sinetimore
Apr. 11th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
Nothing says you have to lose your bitter hatred for EVERYONE. Just a few people. ;-)
ying_ko_4
Apr. 11th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
I went to my 25th last year. Odd, because I had gone to several different high schools. It was a more positive experience than I thought it would be (I had more hair than any of the other guys there, for example).

In some respects, I realized that many of my impressions of my classmates were wrong, that time is a great equalizer and that hanging onto those hurts, whether real or imagined, wasn't worth the hassle. Takes too much energy.

I reconnected with a couple of people I was thrilled to do so with, and Facebook has been a good thing in that regard. I also came to the conclusion that I wasn't running from my past so much as running from myself.

Life is what you make of it, and after I got my head out of my arse, I made better choices and life is better for me than I ever had any right to expect or deserve, to be quite honest.

Glad you went and those surprises from people you didn't expect should make you think a bit more about your impressions from those times.
sinetimore
Apr. 11th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid the majority of my impressions from those times are unlikely to change. For example, among those who didn't show up was one kid who, riding shotgun in a car with his buddy, saw me biking my way home after school. He leaned out the car window and tried to grab my backpack and knock me down into the street with traffic behind him. Him, I don't care if he rots in Hell. I'll forgive and forget the kids who made fun of me for wanting to be a cartoonist. But those who sought to commit grievous bodily harm against me? They can kiss my Polish ass.

There were a few people who tormented me back in school in attendance. We just sort of saw each other across the room, made eye contact, and went about our business. I wasn't there to make a scene, I was there to check things out. Apparently, they were, too. Sometimes, you have to play for a tie.
ying_ko_4
Apr. 11th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
Incidents such as you describe are not something I would suggest forgetting. But, how many of your impressions from those time were wrong? Weren't you shocked and amazed by some of the people's reactions to your presence? Doesn't that give you some sort of clue that perhaps, jackass in the passing car notwithstanding, you might have been...not as correct as you thought you were about your place in the hell that is high school? Or that some people viewed you differently than you imagined?

Understand, I'm just asking questions. I wasn't there so I don't know what went on. You sounded quite surprised, and pleasantly so, about the reaction you evoked when some of your former classmates saw you at the reunion...

I was amazed at some of the reaction, and that as many people remembered me as I didn't remember nearly as many of them until they told me their names and such. It really was an eye-opener in that regard.

sinetimore
Apr. 11th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Now Listening To Kylie Minogue's "Step Back In Time"
Ah, I see the difference you were getting at now.

Yes, it was very much a shock to find out that, apparently, I wasn't the invisible nobody I thought I was. Which really makes it a shame that those days turned out the way they did.
ying_ko_4
Apr. 11th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Now Listening To Kylie Minogue's "Step Back In Time"
In that regard, you are right about the shame of days past...but you could always have friendships with some of those same people today, understanding that you aren't the same people you used to be and that the Drama-Llama-Ding-Dong isn't always just around the corner...

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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