November 17, 2012

The Reunion (disaster)

My wonderful friend Michele Golden contacted me awhile back and asked if I was going to go to an "impromptu"  high school reunion that had been announced on FaceButt by a classmate of hers. I hadn't heard about it and told her I'd probably be in NYC. While visiting Dad, however, hurricane Sandy hit and I was stuck in Virginia, unable to get back to my apartment due to flooding, so I emailed her and we decided to make it a date. The plan was that we were supposed to help each other with identifying unrecognizable people and blocking unwanted advances from drunken lunatics. 

Walking into the bar of the Fairview Marriott (right off 495 in beautiful Falls Church, Virginia), I was sure I'd gone to the wrong hotel. I checked my written directions and looked around. Surely this wasn't MY reunion. Who the hell are are these old people? Not to judge, but I hadn't seen so many "relaxed fit, acid washed" jeans in one room since 1983. And who actually puts electronic devices on their belts? I started walking around, not recognizing a single soul. Michele then whipped around the corner, which was a welcome relief. Suddenly from my right side I hear, "OH MY GOD..." I had to look down at the name tag, my brain trying to process the name with the face...I remembered the name, but not attached to this person. This was pretty much the same scene over and over again. 

Something is seriously wrong.... Long ago, as a youth, while on various outdoor excursions, I would occasionally stick a lead fishing weight or pellet (from my pellet gun) in my mouth and chew on it because it was soft and easy to bite down on--like metal-flavored gum. I have obviously suffered severe brain damage due to this (and other things), because I had little recollection of any of these people. 

Each time an old person would look me in the eye and say, "Goddamn, how've you been Steve?" I'd glance down, look at the name tag, look up and wonder who this person was with the grey hair and missing tooth. It was incredible. Then, as I looked around the room, Michele (who looked great, by the way) whispered in my ear, "Look over's____." I looked back at her and said, "Shut the front door." What was once one of the hottest cutest girls in the school now looked like what might best be described as the shape of a tomato in a school play--big round body with some legs sticking out of a drapey, cowl-neck sweater. I looked back at Michele with disbelief, "No fucking way...." Michele smiled and replied, "Yep."

I wish I had had enough forethought to take advantage of this event; I would have taken out $5K in Spanx stock two weeks prior. I'm sure ALL the women had them on and probably half the men. Does the normal belt buckle rest at your solar plexus? Is there only one store that sells shoes in Fairfax, and those only being Dockers? Does everyone always tuck in their shirt? The women all had on blouses that looked like they just bought them off the discounted plus-size rack at T.J. Maxx. For God's sake ladies, pick up a fashion magazine, if just once. 

Here's a thought: I guess for some people (not me), going to see a bunch of people you haven't laid eyes on in a few decades might be fun. But, if you have any sort of drinking problem, don't you think it might be a good idea for just once, just that one night, to refrain from that sixth or seventh beer? People got smashed. Polluted. Then they staggered around after the first hour screaming, "Do you remember...?!" as they told some stupid story about something that happened at a football game. Or, worse, came slobbering over to sober people like me who found them repulsive. One drunken mess staggered over, threw her arms around me and while slurring speech, yelled out, "You don't even remember me!" I turned to her husband and said, "Yes I do--can you get her away from me...seriously?" 

Around midnight I got in my car and drove home. While going westbound on route 50 I gave serious thought to pushing the gas pedal to the floor, accelerating mom's Toyota van to around 100 mph, unsnapping my seat belt and veering into the largest tree I could find. These are my peers? I'm their age? I don't feel like they look. I came home, said nothing, took a Xanax and went to bed (who's got the problem, right?). I was depressed for days. I think I need shock therapy to forget what I witnessed that night. I'm scarred for life. 

I'll NEVER attend another high school reunion. Ever. 

Nothing against this person in particular but this pretty much sums up my night. A picture IS worth a thousand words. 

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