Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Veni, Vidi, Vici

Well, it's been more than a month and I still haven't written a review of my class reunion. In part it's because I'm alternately lazy, busy, and just plain don't love you enough. And in part it's because I haven't thought of a coherent way in which to describe the event. Probably because there isn't one. Instead, I present to you the following vignettes. And pictures.

(I will have you know I learned how to spell "vignettes" in preparation for the citywide spelling bee in 8th grade, at which I was not asked to spell vignette, but I still totally kicked ass. It remains one of my favorite words ever.) (Pretentious little bitch.) (Alan: I believe that's uppity little bitch. Me: Oh, right. My mistake.)

Evidence that I Wasn't Kidding When I Said, "If my reunion were in half an hour, I'd go, as is."
Cocktail hour started at 5:00. Kathy and I made plans to depart around five, so we'd arrive by 5:30. At 4:25 Mom and I got home from shopping. I still needed to do everything involved with getting ready, starting with a shower. Forty-five minutes later, we were out the door. Yes, I spent far longer taking pictures of those dresses for you to choose from than I did actually dressing for the event. Such is life. (And I went with the cream one.)

And, because I know you guys like this sort of thing, the shoes:

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Evidence that Miss Manners Was Not Consulted about This Event
The weather in Wisconsin is nothing, if not fickle. Thursday was beautiful, in the 80s, I felt like I was in California. Sort of. I could pretend. On Friday things cooled down a bit and by Saturday, it was downright cold -- 55 degrees out and hella windy. So, the dress I brought was going to be a bit chilly, but hey I knew that going in, and besides, we'll be in some banquet room somewhere where the temperature will be a perfectly-regulated 68 degrees.

We've got the name and address of the venue, but no instructions like "park in the back" or "go to the third door on the left and use the secret knock." But, this is Janesville, so nothing's that hard to figure out.

Kathy and I walk through the parking lot, to the front door of the clubhouse. I'm thinking, maybe there's a downstairs party room or something. We walk in. To the right is the pro shop; to our left is the bar; directly in front of us are unoccupied chairs and tables that are part of the bar. Oooookay. Where's the reunion?

Spanning the back of the room are windows with a view of the backyard. Through these windows we see a white party tent.

OMG, this thing is OUTSIDE!!!!!!!!!!

Knock, knock? Planning committee? That would have been REALLY GOOD information to include on the invitation. Perhaps I would not have worn an outfit that rendered me PRACTICALLY NAKED.

Best Reminder That We're Not In Kansas Anymore. Or Rather, That We Are.
I go up to the bar to get myself a drink. The bartender looks to be 16, but I know she's got to be at least 18 to serve alcohol.

Me: Do you have red wine back there?
Child Bartender: *looks around for red wine, including checking the refrigerator behind her*
Me: *contemplate telling her that if the wine is in the fridge, I ain't drinkin' it*
Child Bartender: Ummm, no, but we can bring some down from the clubhouse.
Me: Oh that's ok, it's not that big of a deal. Can I have a vodka tonic instead?
Child Bartender: Ummm, *looks around for tonic; locates it in a styrofoam cup* sure! What kind of vodka would you like?
Me: *glance briefly at the bottles nearest me* The Grey Goose is fine.
Child Bartender: *sets about mixing my drink, in a 16 oz plastic cup*
Me: *suddenly realize I've selected The Most Expensive Vodka Available and she's making me a double and I may need several drinks before the night is over and how much is THIS gonna cost?*
Child Bartender: *finishes making the drink* $3.50
Me: What?
Child Bartender: It's $3.50.
Me: *pick jaw up off the floor long enough to pay, tip generously, and marvel at paying a third of what I expect a drink to cost*

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A wristband. Yes, really, a wristband. Because they couldn't do the math and figure out that we're all 28, give or take a few months.

Best Moment of the Night
"Oh my god, I can see your California tan from all the way across the room!!!"

(I ♥ you, Coppertone Endless Summer Sunless Tanning Bronzing Foam.)

Most Common Conversation
Him/Her: So did you move to California right after college?
Me: First I went to grad school, then I moved to DC for three years, and now I'm in California.
Him/Her: *head explodes*
Me: *calmly sip drink*

Like twelve bazillion times.

Him/Her: So what do you do there?
Me: Ummmmmmm *frantically sip drink while trying to think of a way to succinctly explain my job*

Moment Most Reminiscent of High School
There's a girl (woman?) that I've known since sixth grade. We'll call her Girl A. Girl A and I have never been particularly close, but cordial when we needed to, which, during high school was almost never. We hadn't talked all night, but there was no reason to avoid talking to her, so I thought I'd say hi. (Plus I was running out of things to say to the people I was sitting with and needed a change of scenery.) Unfortunately, Girl A was standing next to Girl B -- the only person from high school who falls into the "I really never need to see this person again" category. It's not that we hate each other (hate would be far too much effort, at least on my part. Maybe she hates me; I don’t know.), just that we have a mutual "my life would be perfectly dandy if I didn't know you exist" feeling going. I decided to be a grown up and go say hello, despite Girl B's presence. Because, frankly, I AM a grown up.

I stepped up between Girl A and Girl B, put on a happy face and said something totally inoffensive like, "I just thought I'd come say hello!" (Meanwhile thinking, I really don't need Girl B to know a single iota about my life, but I guess I don't have that luxury). Girl A greeted me in return; Girl B acknowledged that I was standing in proximity to her personal space, but said nothing and then turned away. Inside, I was laughing.

Most Mind-Boggling Conversation
Sitting across from someone I'd had several classes with, looking like she stuffed a basketball under her dress.
Me: So, is this your first kid?
Her: *holds up four fingers*
Me: *nearly fall off chair*

The Denouement
By 9:00, half of the attendees had left. A bunch of us moved the party over to the bar closest to our high school, where we sat around talking and drinking beer out of bottles. But at least it was good beer.

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God, I love Wisconsin.

On the whole, the reunion was...passable -- I give it a C -- but I am definitely glad I went. As in so much of life, people make the difference. The main disappointment of the evening (other than the complete lack of hospitality) was in who wasn't there. Most of the guys I had classes with. Half of our Gang of Six. All my friends who didn't graduate with me. The neighbor boy. However, I was surprised and delighted to see some of my former classmates -- some of whom I hadn't talked to since graduation, others I lost touch with during/after college. The amazing thing was to see how all of these people became who they were supposed to be. And comparing who they were in high school to who they are now, I think they, like me, have become more themselves.

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To Sarah and Kathy (half of our little gang) and the entire Class of 1996, Cheers! May the next decade be as exciting and prosperous as the last. I'll see you back at "Cow Pie High."


At Wed Jul 19, 04:15:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Kathy said...

Thanks for the reminder of the night. Reading it from your perspective makes the night seem like it was a little more bearable than I thought it was at the time. Any way to get a pic of the three of us?

At Mon Jul 24, 04:23:00 PM PDT, Anonymous matty said...

wait, where's my honey weiss?


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