Here are a few of my observations from those three booze- and cheese-fueled days:
- Three decades is enough time to forget a name, but not a grudge. I walked into our class party on Friday night, saw a woman in a black shirt, and instantly thought, "OMG. I hate her." I mean, it was a visceral reaction like I can't even explain. Here's the problem with that. I racked my brain, asked a bunch of other people, and I still have no idea what her name is or why I even hated her in the first place. I think that says something about how horrible I am as a person, but I've decided not to be self-aware enough to figure out what that is, exactly.
- Those lanyard name tag thingys seem like a good idea, but they can be the cause of some pretty intense social awkwardness. Everyone has those Who IS That? moments at these gatherings, and when the tags get flipped around, well... One of my classmates, coming up for air after chugging a PBR tall boy, gasped out, "See that woman over there? I reached down to get a better look at her name tag and accidentally touched her boob. Then I realized, once I'd figured out who she was, we'd had a one-night stand that I spent most of senior year trying to forget. Now I think she's going to try to stalk me." We sent someone over to the bar to get him a refill because, judging from the look she was giving him when we all turned around to see who she was, it was going to be a long night.
- And on the subject of name tags: It's really humbling when someone looks at you, takes a glance at yours, and then just moves on.
- The upside of social media: You get to skip all the boring So What Have You Been Up To? conversations, since you've been following all the kid updates, job changes, and other life milestones that have happened since the last reunion and jump right to the discussions that start, "OMG, did you hear..."
- You know that weaselly guy you just wanted to punch in college? Be comforted in knowing that some things never change. Plus, because life simply isn't fair, it turns out that that guy is now a very rich jerk, which makes it all the more irritating. But good news: 30 years out, you get to be brutally honest because what do you have to lose? Hands-down the best thing I heard during the whole reunion was when one of my buddies managed to weave into his conversation with Class A##hole, "You know, you always were a giant dick."
- The older we get, the more we all start looking alike. At one point when a couple of the guys were having one of those horrible, slightly drunk "No, we lived on the fourth floor!" "No, it was the tenth!" arguments, they decided to look around for the one person who could settle it and we all realized at once that at night, in a beer garden, it's hard to discern one bald head from another.
- Do not begin gossiping about a fellow classmate until you've checked to make sure a) she's not within earshot b) her husband's not within earshot and c) her fiercely loyal sophomore year roommate isn't within earshot. Wait, better rule: don't gossip at all until you're in the car on your way home. It's just safer that way. Trust me.
- There's a huge downside to going to college in a city where the chief exports are beer and farm animals. It took me three days to completely sober up after the whole thing was over, and judging from the ERROR MAX WEIGHT EXCEEDED message I got on my scale when we came back, I think I consumed pretty much the entire Class of 85's RYA of Miller Lite, Real Chili, cheese curds, brats, butter burgers, and frozen custard. Talk about taking one for the team. You're welcome, Fellow Warriors.