I do what everyone else does--try to find a former classmate to go with me so I don't have to sit by myself OR make introductions all night. I have a handful of truly wonderful old friends who have in the past few years gathered annually, including the official reunions; which has been so much fun and also, parenthetically, kept us from having to sit alone at the lunch table--er--banquet table. This year, unfortunately, we were unable to pull together a quorum to attend the reunion. It threatened to be just me. Alone. I imagined crouching in my car identifying carefree classmates as they entered, laughing and yoo-hooing and hugging and confident they picked the right outfit and have cute hair and great shoes. (Actually, though, I remember entering the venue at our 25th reunion and being mystified that someone had invited all our parents; which of course was not the case. And then at our 30th reunion the chairperson [whom I will not identify] scoffed at the notion of photo-nametags. Some of us desperately wrote our names on our shoulders or throats with a Sharpie so people wouldn't avoid saying hello because they had no idea who we were. I am not making that up.)
I pulled out my stash of dresses, all a little dusty on the shoulders, and tried them on. I came up with just two possibilities --they fit, don't make me look too lumpy, and I have shoes that go (I've surrendered to the sorrow of having to wear flats--heels are no longer an option, but that's another post). Then I turned around to see how I would look as I crashed frantically out the exit. What happened to the other side of me? Who's fanny is that? It looked like I had on a full money belt, but I did not. What is that hump on the back of my neck? I thought I was taking some expensive drug to prevent me from becoming Quasimodo. I flapped my arms in horror and recoiled as my heybabies (think offspring of a flying squirrel and a camel) wobbled and shook. I wished it were next week. Next week is my vacation.
The closer it got the more excuses I thought of and the less appealing the idea of witnessing the sad decline of all those formerly vibrant children became. But the fifty dollar ticket won and I went after all. And as soon as I went in, two or three friends whom I was certain would not be there WERE there, and people were cheery and chatty and said I looked young and my newly silver hair was striking. A handful of compliments is great medicine. There were photo nametags. There was not, however, dinner, despite the fifty dollar dinner ticket. There were several tables of tasty finger foods, drinks IF you brought even more money, but no dinner. We went around the tables a few more times to fill up, said our goodbyes, and the reunion was over for five more years.
I'll start saving up.