I was in Minneapolis this weekend for two reasons. The main reason was that a good damn friend was getting SECRETLY MARRIED in a backyard BBQ-type situation, and I couldn't miss it. The second reason was, ostensibly, my high school reunion. I couldn't make it to the reunion itself, but there was a "pre-reunion drinks" get-together at the Sunshine Factory, a crappy bar in New Hope, MN mostly patronized by the blue-hair set.
HUGE fucking mistake. First off -- I didn't recognize a living soul. Scratch that -- I *did* recognize people, but it was more like "oh, that's that one guy who used to push me around in the hallways" or "that's that cheerleader who never talked to me." But names? Forget it. Maybe one or two, tops. Fair enough, nobody recognized me either. I sat at the bar with Trix, completely undisturbed for about 45 minutes. In that time, Trix heard the guy sitting behind me -- whom I didn't recognize at all but apparently he was really, really popular at the time given the reaction to his entrance -- using the word "fag" or "faggot" five times. Lovely, folks. Nice to see you've all grown so much.
A couple things struck me:
- Everybody looked the same but much bigger. Mostly I'm talking about the guys, here -- what the hell happened, boys? You were such fine, fit specimens of manhood back in the day, and now you're all 300+ lbs and bald. What's up with that? I'm not exactly the fittest guy on the planet, but at least I'm still under 200 pounds, and I never made any pretense of being fit and trim to begin with! These were the guys you all swooned over? They look like anybody's fat, drunk uncle.
I blame an overabundance of testosterone. That's why you were hot for 'em back in the day, girls, and that's why they look like shit today. I might not have had as much of that wonder hormone, but I still have all my hair, and people still card me for cigarettes.
- Girls? Not to be snarky, but feathered hair went out right around the time we graduated. It's time to talk to someone about a looks update.
- The weirdest thing, though, is that they all seemed like they still knew each other. Like perhaps they all still lived in Crystal/New Hope and all still kept in touch, or at least had fantastic memories and just remembered everything about each other. I find that odd. I've had so many strange and unusual life experiences since then that I've used up all the parts of my brain that hold the information about People I Barely Knew Back In High School. My actual friends? Still remember them, and there were about, oh, five or six of them in my actual class. Maybe as many as ten I could recall without too much help. But none of them were there. Do they just not drink, or did they, like me, move to pastures greener and don't give two figs about revisiting high school since those years weren't their glory days?
I just get the feeling that none of 'em have moved on. I get the feeling they all get together every weekend at the Sunshine Factory to revisit the glory days of how they threw that pass that one time and won the game or that one party where that one girl threw up on everybody. I get the feeling those were the best times of their lives and everything after has been kind of a crushing disappointment. Maybe I'm reading in too much, but man, that's the vibe as I saw it.
I admit: I showed up for the reason any high school nerd shows up to those things. I wanted everybody to see how cool I am now. Right? I'm not alone here, am I? I had a hot girl in tow and I look cool and I have a cool job and a cool set of experiences to recount and it's like -- hey, guys, you were all wrong about me.
But I think even if they had recognized me, the cool woulda been lost on them in their crisp little polo shirts and their 1988 mall hair. They would just have thought the same thing they thought in 1988 -- "Hey, there's that one fag. Let's kick his ass."
Anyway, I'm glad I never have to go back to Robbinsdale Cooper Class of 1988. Not even thinking about attending my 40th.
The wedding, on the other hand, was cool as hell. It was in my friend's backyard, which I'm beginning to think is the way to do those things. It was small, intimate, and short, and there were drinks served both before and after, and there was cheesy-meat dip and chips. And the ceremony was lovely. It just made sense.
Also this weekend: hung out with my daughter. Watched National Treasure I and II (both of which were shockingly entertaining, and "fun for the whole family," meaning a minimum of horrible violent deaths, which I appreciated. Thank you, Jerry Bruckheimer, I guess). Went to Como Park Zoo and got those little plastic animals they mold for you in a vending machine like they did in 1975. Went to the Old Country Buffet. Sang Karaoke. It was relaxing as all hell. The plus about Minneapolis vs. Los Angeles? It's QUIET and the PACE OF LIFE IS SLOWER. I confess to missing that as the stress levels rise.
Tonight: Human League, ABC, Flock of Seagulls, Naked Eyes and Belinda Carlisle at the Universal Amphitheater. I'll report back.