Monday, October 13, 2008

Just an Observation or two about the Reunion

No photos for you, but plenty of Observations to share about the Reunion... No photos because I didn't know a Soul there so I didn't feel it appropriate to take photos (of strangers) and Post them. Nevertheless, I imagined his reunion would be Interesting and it was..., Kinda.

As far as reunions of Large classes go, the usual stuff you would expect to Happen, happened. The wife of a Classmate chatting me up said Yorktown class of '78 has 400+ members but she said she thinks that less than 125 attended.

It appeared to me early on that only the Clicky-local-people knew anyone. You know them too - They've planned or attended every reunion since Graduation and are the people for whom High School is the high water mark of their life. As you can Imagine, these people congregated with only other members of their small clicks. This left the rest of the non-click, non-local Classmates to wander. And drink. Being the people-watcher that I am, I must tell you that it was pretty Interesting study.

Classmates pretended to be Cool as they wandered the room, trying hard to Mask the obviousness of the fact that they had no particular direction or Target in mind. Upon approach, they first scanned the Name badge and then moved up to the face until recognition was made or they got recognized. Some of the facial expressions on these people were priceless! You know that look... The one that says the Hamster between their ears is working overtime. Do I know her? If I do know her, would she look like That now? Any way... No recognition either way meant they had to pretend not to care or notice before Gliding on over to their next victim.

One woman told me that having so many people, especially the Men, look her up and down and then move on without any acknowledgement Left her feeling like she was being passed Over in High School, all over again. Not wanting that kind of Insecurity and low Self-esteem to rub off on me, I excused myself from her rather quickly. I let her down gently though by saying I had to Powder my nose... When she asked to come with Me I didn't refuse her but I can't say I wasn't Relieved to make it out of the ladies room alone.

There was an open and very liberal Bar so it didn't take long for the Classmates to loosen up enough to approach others in a less timid, and more rapid-fire style. For me, that's when all the handshaking and handkissing began. Why is it that after a girl provides Confirmation that she in fact did Not go to high school with him, some men just couldn't walk away without making some sort of Grand gesture? I don't typically hug or shake hands with anyone (in finishing school we learned a man should never shake your hand unless it is offered) so needless to say, there was a Lot of hand washing going on for me throughout the evening.

Wonderhubby got dragged off quite a few times so when I wasn't busy Washing my hands I was making Polite conversation with other Spouses that moved in on me to chat. Mostly about how much it Sucks to attend these things when you didn't go to their School and don't know anyone.

Every few minutes we'd be Interrupted by stray Classmates that wandered over to see if they knew any of us or if by some miracle we Remembered them, which after awhile I found to be rather sad and Pathetic... You know how difficult it is for me to serve up cold Rejection without a warm side dish so I stirred up a little trouble by encouraging the other spouses to vary their answers according to how Drunk or rude we believed the Classmate to be. Convincing someone you were Best friends and acting hurt that they don't remember worked more than a Few times. We also played, "Guess what that one Does for a living"... Because there had to be some fun!

What was surprising to me is the number of Women that came over to ask if they knew us (I don't know... do you?) and who remained to Chat with him even after it was well Established that he didn't know them and no common connection in Terms of where we live, what we do, what Friends or classes they might have had in common could be found - or in the case of some of these Women, fabricated. One of his Classmates stood out from the rest in this Regard because, obviously not during her most Sober moments, she told him that, God had given her three sons because he knew she'd Never have a husband. Hum... Now, there's something one doesn't hear a Woman tell her husband every day! I told her that God gave me a Husband because he knew I couldn't raise sons without one. I doubt she got it... Or that she remembered his name on Sunday morning, making her confession or that she Spoke to him at all.

My after-action report and Grade on this reunion: C-. First, the name tags were all wrong. They should have listed Spouses as such with the Classmate's name printed underneath. Or, they could have listed the classmate's name and printed, "Class of 1978" under it. Instead, all the name tags listed just full names, so absent a yearbook for reference, Classmates had no choice but to ask everyone there how they Might have known them 30-years ago. Odd. I eventually removed my Name tag hoping it might stop the inquiries but it Didn't work.

Second, I believe the Reunion committee missed a Huge opportunity with their Entertainment effort. While they did employ a DJ of sorts, they played none of the (great) Music of the 70's familiar to their Class. Having recently seen Three Dog Night in concert, and having learned they are Widely regarded as the Band that ruled the Radio in the 70's, I would have enjoyed hearing them a few times!

Additionally, Sobe Seafood Bar and Grille in Arlington was bought-out for the Reunion so the venue was completely under their control... Why they blared music at Concert-level volume, ruining any chance groups might have had to Conduct normal, non-shouting conversations was a Big mistake I think everyone noticed and no one appreciated. Remember reunion planners... If there is no dancing and people are Mingling in an effort to get reacquainted, Familiar and period relevant background music is all you need.

The committee also did not Organize any activities and they made No attempt during the evening to bring their Guests together through Shared experiences. They certainly could have invited their fellow Classmates to relate their most memorable High School experiences - stories about Favorite teachers or other tales that might have made everyone Feel as if they had at least one thing in Common to tie them together.

I imagine a program like that might have Encouraged a few more connections or at least Prompted more interesting conversations. Most of the classmates that spoke to me said they didn't know many people there at all and would have liked to have heard from Others or shared themselves about things most would have Remembered. Things like Crazy teacher, What'shername or stories about how Awful the cafeteria was or about that one student who Spiked the punch at the Sadie Hawkins dance - or, how if they had Google back in '78 everyone could have Scored a perfect SAT. Nope. Nothing there... Just very Loud music and lots of drinking and heavy smoking going on outside, which is Where I often escaped in hopes of Fresh air and a little Quiet.

Oh! The class President did finally pony-up to the microphone to read from a list of Awards the committee developed for categories such as, who was the most, "Follicle-ly challenged", which she tried to craft into a sexually suggestive Joke that failed miserably - and there were other winners for things like, Who among them had the most children, most grandchildren, who has been married the longest during one single marriage, etc. The couple next to us commented that the class President should have won the, "Least changed" award because she was being as Obnoxious then as the husband remembered her Being back in high school.

And, finally... Had they asked Moi to coordinate the reception table, I would have ensured that the woman responsible for greeting and Checking classmates in refrained from drinking so that when Classmates she didn't recognize gave their names, she wouldn't have made them feel like Big, fat nobodies by announcing, (in front of their spouse) "Whooo are you?" After the fourth time my Darling husband provided her his name, she tilted her head and asked if he had, Preregistered. Upon hearing that he had, she asked, When? Because apparently, she could not comprehend his Last name, which by the way just happens to be a second-grade word! That's when I almost lost my composure... so Rather than say anything to her I pulled the registration Receipt I brought with me from my Herm├Ęs and threw it down on top of the Class list in front of her. Fortunately, having actually Graduated with the class of 1978, it meant our Receptionist possessed the ability to read so she was Finally able to check us in. Ditz!

Any way... Most of the female classmates that stopped by my little Spouse-support chat group took one look at me and immediately remarked, "I know I didn't go to school with her, She's too young", then they'd move on to the others standing with me to Inquire of them... Finally, after this happened half a dozen times, one of the husbands said he just Had to know and asked how old I was. When I held up four fingers and then two, (because I refuse to shout my age over Rap music) the woman Next to him said, "Come on!?" like she didn't believe me. So I repeated my finger flash and mouthed the words, "Really..., forty-two." The husband next to the Nosey husband who asked me laughed and said, "I thought you were thirty." I told him that as nice as they all were, I was not born the year my husband Graduated high school. No, I was in the 6th grade, thank-you very much.

Oh! Back to the tipsy Ditz-receptionist we met at the front door... Just before Midnight, when they read the name of the First door prize winner, BridgeS won! I said she could Read, but apparently spelling what she could Read out onto a raffle ticket proved to be more of a challenge. Nevertheless, the prize was a bottle of Italian wine with a rather elegant wine bottle stopper attached at the neck. Of course, we don't drink wine... it's not a Religious or AA-thing, we just don't care for wine. I offered it to one of the Nice wives I'd been chatting with and her husband who was also standing with us and they seemed Happy to take it off our hands.

I will say this though... For $90.00 per person, the Liquor went on forever and the Food served was decent. There was an all-you-can-Eat hot/cold buffet that included a pasta Alfredo dish, meatballs in a marinara, boneless hot wings served with Blue cheese and honey mustard dip, 2 kinds of thin crust pizza, a build-your-own sandwich option, cheese and cracker platter, veggie platter with ranch dip, a spinach dip with tortilla chips for dipping and Best of all, at about 10PM they put out a Very generous platter of jumbo shrimp and a tasty cocktail sauce and lemon slices. There was also Brownies for desert. All in all, it wasn't a too-Terrible way to spend the second evening of our DC vacation Get-away. And, after taking a Look at and meeting (too) many of the Men in his class, I realize all over again how very Lucky I am and what an Amazing catch he truly is!

I told him in the Limo on the way back to the Doubletree that for his Sake he's welcome to stay home next summer if  I decide to attend my 25th High School reunion - and, he Thanked me.

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