Last weekend was my ten-year high school reunion. After a year of hashing out the details on Facebook, it was finally time. It was to be held at the happenin’ Elks Lodge and catered by Goodman’s BBQ (which is the BEST BBQ PLACE IN THE WORLD, FOLKS). There would be a cash bar and a slideshow of all our old high school pictures. People would reconnect. Memories would be made.
I had no idea what to expect; honestly, I was just excited about the bar and the BBQ. And, okay, YES I was looking forward to seeing old classmates, but that was also where the uncertainty lay. I knew I would enjoy the alcoholic beverages and the food. I wasn’t so sure about the people. I’m not saying that I graduated with a bunch of assholes, but I was concerned that everybody would just revert back into their old cliques and not mingle with each other. I told my parents when I left that, worst-case scenario, I’d be back in an hour. My dad offered to come pick me up if I drank too much, which I promptly declined. It was a sweet offer, but hell to the no. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had my low points: riding the San Francisco subway without shoes. Projectile vomiting in the Magic Kingdom parking lot. Drunkenly picking a lock with a bobby pin because I didn’t have my apartment key on me and I didn’t want to wake my roommates (aren’t I polite?). But I refused to sink so low as to call my father to come pick me up because I got soooooo wasted at my high school reunion. I would rather be punched in the face and attacked by a chimpanzee than have to live with that shit for the rest of my life. Instead, I put myself on a two-drink maximum and resolved to branch out and get to know the people I knew in high school, but didn’t really know, if you catch my drift.
By the time I got to the Elks Lodge, I was nervous as hell, and I prayed that my ass wouldn’t start to sweat, as it sometimes does when I get really nervous and/or it’s summertime. I was also hoping that the bar would be open, because I had a twenty that had been burning a hole in my wallet since I visited the ATM and felt in need of some liquid courage. And I guess everybody else felt the same way because people were just awkwardly milling around with old friends, and looking at each other in a, “I-really-want-to-talk-to-you-but-I’m-not-sure-if-you’re-still-the-same-bitch-you-were-in-high-school” kind of way that just made them look paranoid.
My friend Janece and I made a bee-line for the bar as soon as it opened, and I made a mental note to nurse the heck out of my Jack and Coke as I was already drinking and the food hadn’t been served. This was when we made the discovery that I now see as a good omen: the drink prices were effing ridic. Not in a bad way, like, “Oh, I’ll have to sell a kidney if I have more than one drink because these prices are through the roof!” but in an awesome way, like, “With these rock-bottom prices, I’ll have enough for drinks, tips, AND a fourth meal at Taco Bell! Hells yes, bitches! Fill ‘er up!”
Things only picked up from there, and I ended up having an absolute blast. I stuck to my goal of being social, and realized that I graduated with some really fun people. You guys, I was in a motherfucking dance circle with my classmates. It’s like we were worshipping the god of dance and a dance circle was our way of achieving holy communion with this mega-fun diety. IT WAS A GODDAMN SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. It lasted all the way until midnight, when we turned back into pumpkins. And by “turned back into pumpkins,” I mean, “went to the Spring Creek Lounge to continue the party.” And by “we” I mean everyone else because I didn’t go. It was for a variety of reasons:
a) I didn’t have a house key, and my dad was waiting up for me and I didn’t want to suffer the humiliation of calling him to say that I’d be out a little later than anticipated, just like I did in high school.
b) I knew if I went, I would have a few more drinks and probably not be able to drive home, and I would be forced to take Pops up on his offer of picking me up, and DO YOU KNOW HOW EMBARRASSING IT WOULD BE FOR A 28 YEAR-OLD’S FATHER TO PICK HER UP FROM A LIQUOR STORE? That’s even worse than picking me up from the reunion. A solid punch in the face wouldn’t even be an appropriate punishment for that kind of transgression. I don’t even know what would…a murder attempt maybe? Nah, too harsh. A good stab in the thigh with a fork. That seems about right.
c) I had Mass and a four-hour drive home the next day, and it had been way too long since I had done both with a hangover. I wasn’t sure I’d survive it.
So my involvement with the reunion ended at midnight, but I had no regrets. It was the most fun I’d had in months. And I ended up spending all of my twenty dollars at the bar because it would have been un-economical not to.
P.S. No, my entire graduating class is not represented in those pictures. Those are just the only two group shots I had with a lot of my classmates in them.