the reunion

It’s summer and the year ends with a 5, so you know what that means: It’s time for Karen’s High School Reunion! Yes folks, last weekend was my 30th high school reunion and the Class of ’75 was planning to reunite once again. I, of course, had not planned on attending – mainly because I’m a depressed, antisocial hermit. Plus it was going to cost 90 bucks for me and Big Daddy (Ken) to attend, and I’m a famous cheapskate. Apparently, many people felt exactly the same way I did, because not enough of us signed up to actually have the reunion, and it had to be CANCELLED. As my friend Tracy commented, “How utterly Slacker of you.” So, what do you expect from a bunch of ex-stoners?

Even though the reunion was cancelled, that certainly wasn’t an excuse not to get together at the bar on Friday night. Big Daddy ended up having to work that night, and my friend Andi convinced me to leave the house. “Come on, you know you’ll have a good time” she said. Luring me out with the promise of alcohol was a dirty trick, but effective. So I went. Having left the area almost immediately after graduation and stayed away for 16 years, I have little to no recollection of many of the people I attended high school with. I spent a lot of time asking Andi “who’s this” and “who’s that?” and eventually discovered a couple of people I remembered. If I had any insecurities about myself, they were squelched after talking to an old acquaintance who kept trying to sell me something she called – in all sincerity – “pharmaceutical coffee.” “Really,” she said, “it will make you feel sooo great!” I don’t know what pharmaceutical coffee is, but I don’t plan on drinking the samples she gave me unless they contain real pharmaceuticals like codeine or oxycontin. And that would be too good to be true, wouldn’t it? Luckily for me, I was saved from further conversation with her by another classmate who owns his own company that sells New & Used Plastic Equipment. Again, I’m not sure what that means but it got me closer to the bar where I found myself next to another old classmate who was ordering a glass of merlot. In my euphoric state, I completely embarrassed myself by quoting the famous line from Sideways – “Hey! We’re not drinking any fucking merlot!” Whoever she was she left rather quickly after my outburst, so I guess she wasn’t interested in finding out if I knew any other witty movie quotes.

I then sidled up next to Andi and her husband Charlie (who we also went to high school with), and cajoled him into breaking out his secret stash of cigarettes. There’s nothing better than showing your former high school classmates that you still look cool smoking. We had lots of fun smoking and talking and just generally looking really cool. Charlie informed me that he found my blog by Googling me, so I’m guessing he used the search words “Fabulously good-looking babe’s Weblog.”

The night was winding down and by its end we had condensed into a core group of seven, so we made arrangements to get together the next evening for dinner. Now, it just so happens that one person in the class of 1975 made it big. Not only that, but a member of our little high school group of band losers made it big. Mark Pender is the trumpet player in Conan O’Brien’s band, so he’s on TV. EVERY NIGHT. Plus, he’s a studio musician for other famous people like Missy Elliot and knows Bruce Springsteen. And he has his own band. And he writes his own music and has his own CD. And he’s totally unpretentious. And friendly. And nice. And he still hangs out with us.

But really, who wouldn’t want to?

So the next night we all met for dinner and had a fine old time eating, and drinking just about every kind of liquor they had in their bar. And of course we introduced all the waitresses to our famous friend and they, in turn, were appropriately impressed so we got really good service and some free drinks and stuff. Cool, huh? We took loads of pictures and stayed until the restaurant closed and then Mark got out his trumpet and played for us out in the parking lot. It was just like a 40-something version of “Friends.”

For me, it was real nice to talk to like-minded people who actually know who & what you’re talking about when you mention Michelle Shocked or Donnie Darko. Instead of blank stares or muttered comments like “you’re weird,” – which is what usually happens to me – my friend Jim and I actually had a very delightful discussion about movies and music. It has restored my faith in my own off-the-wall tastes.

All in all, it was a great time and I’m glad I went to The Reunion That Didn’t Happen. I hope we do another Non-Reunion in 5 years.

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