Everyone is looking around at each other like no one's wearing any pants.
-- Anonymous guy at my high school reunion.
This weekend, I went to my hometown for my high school reunion. The class president was lazy for a while, so this was the first official reunion despite the fact that most schools have had at least one and possibly two in the time we've had none.
I left E at home, which was a good call. I couldn't really imagine why E would want to meet a bunch of people with whom I didn't keep in contact. I mean sure, I'd love to show off that I've managed to find someone really cool who doesn't mind being seen with me, particularly since I was so unsuccessful at the whole dating thing in high school--but please, I'm above all that. No really. I most definitely did not make sure to mention E to every happily in-love couple that approached me.
D, my cousin and I met for a drink beforehand so we could arrive with the backup of a posse. Good thing, too. The first 30 minutes in that room were the most socially uncomfortable minutes of my life to date. (Note, I'm not exactly what you'd call smooth.) For those few minutes, I was supremely glad I hadn't made E come, and I wasn't totally certain why I had come either.
But, I looked around the room, and I realized why: Despite the fact that I barely remembered most of these people, I was primally curious about what had happened in their branch of space-time. I was not alone, as we all seemed to feel it. Most of us initially roamed in packs and asked the vital questions: "Where do you live? What are you doing? So who's the lucky guy or girl? Any kids?"
The conversations were short and repetitive. I shook a lot of hands and doled out hugs, kisses, and compliments as appropriate. I was surprised at the number of my classmates who were balding and impressed with the way most of the crowd seemed to be healthy, confident, and genuinely happy.
Despite the awkward beginnings, the party quickly turned into a fun event. So much so that D, cousin, and I went to an afterparty and talked the night away with strangers. Soon enough it was 4 AM. And then, exhausted, we left. I probably won't see any of those people again until the next reunion. Logically, I can't find any reason why I should have enjoyed the event so much--it was awkward, full of people I don't feel compelled to stay in touch with, dominated by what's-your-status conversations, and just plain weird. But, I had a blast and I'm glad I went.