For obvious reasons, the people who had grown up together through all of school had the tightest bonds. Kids from St. Charles. Kids from Annie Wright. The Federal Way kids. I was a Charles Wrightian. There were maybe 30 people in the class. We spent our childhood together. How could we not be close?
Steve, Lisette, Tricia, Chris, Peter O., Dave P. (making a surprise appearance after stating that he wasn’t going to make it, but was scolded by Steve for being a douchebag), Kevin S., Missy, and Jill. We had some no shows, but fuck ‘em. They missed out.
I berate Peter O. for not getting in touch when he lived in Santa Monica for a number of years, while I was in Venice, a mere 3 miles away. We’d been going to school with each other since 1rst Grade. Not continually the best of friends, but not enemies. He went through his jock-ish stage in high school bordering on being an asshole. But hey, it was the thing to do, right? Peer pressure is a strong current to swim against. He has gotten past that phase in a big way. Incredibly cordial and complimentary, proud not only of what I’ve done with my life, but really all the people we’ve grown up with. We’ve seemed to all do really well for ourselves. He brings up that when I win a Grammy, that I’m obliged to bring him to the ceremonies. I correct him that even though I play music, I wouldn’t be receiving a Grammy anytime soon. However, I would, and already have won an Emmy, so he’s a little late. Anyway, why would I bring Pete along with me to an awards ceremony, when I could bring some delectable arm candy. Tricia and Jill for example. Obviously Pete thinks highly of himself. I don’t fault him that – I think highly of myself.
I flit and flirt throughout the evening chatting with different circles of people, all of whom I know well, or know well enough to talk with. My eyes always scanning the venue for new arrivals. The whole evening ending up being one peregrination, both in time and space.
I check back in with Rachel. She is accidentally having a good time. Kinda like when you are forced to go to your wife’s best friend’s wedding. You end up meeting cool people, harass the band, and end up spilling Cabarnet on the bride’s train. Basically, you have fun despite yourself. We celebrate with another couple of drinks that Holland could have afforded with her allowance. Other people approach to say hi and ask how things are going. I always make sure to re-introduce them to Rachel with a “You remember Rachel, right?” “Yeah…yeah,” they say, squinting their eyes, as if that will help dredge up the proper memories. “You haven’t changed a bit.” Or they say “You’ve completely changed. I didn’t recognize you, because you hair was….longer.” Either way, everyone made an attempt. Nobody wants to be the asshole who says “No I don’t remember you at all.” –read to mean “You had not enough significance in my life to bother.”
I turn to place my drink on the bar, and turn back to Josh P.Josh was a soccer stud way back when.He also had the badboy attitude that oozed “I-could-give-a-fuck”.I remember one day in English class the teacher/basketball coach Mr. Anstett standing at probably six foot eight and who carried a bat with him in class, actually clocked Josh in the kneecap with said bat either for being a smartass or not paying attention.Smart money is on Josh being a smart ass.I like Josh because of this attitude, which is something I strangely admired back then – the ability to not care.I got the feeling that we had a mutual admiration.Why he would admire me, I can’t say.Could be one weekend on a non-chaperoned class trip to Ocean Shores when I stacked a six pack of empty Corona bottles neck-to-neck bottom-to-bottom making a glass Corona tower six feet high.Josh had declared that if I was to place the final bottle that I would be a God.Evidentally, I am a God.That may not be enough to deserve admiration, for two two stoned kids 20 years ago, its seemed plenty.Josh and I catchup briefly and I reconvene with Rachel.
I let Rachel know that I’m going to once again be Social Butterfly, which she’s totally cool with, now that she in the groove and has four Gin and Sodas in her – which is more than she’s had at one time since … well…since we graduated probably.
Gwen R. catches up with me, and along with James B. we have discussion of flight and pilot’s licenses and things that are common between us. I’m the low man on the totem because I have hours, but haven’t yet received my pilot’s license. I blame my work. But I chose my work. So who is really to blame, really? Gwen moves onto another topic. The 10th Year Class Reunion. I smile knowingly. Back then, I arrived not only with my girfriend, but with one of my best friends, who not only didn’t go to our highschool, but didn’t even graduate the same year. As we are walking in, he says “Give me a name of someone you know isn’t going to be here” I think for a moment. “Chuck Hunter…” I say. He goes in and puts on a Chuck Hunter name tag and is therefore Chuck Hunter for the night.For the people who knew Chuck a little – or even quite a bit – the ruse was pulled off with deft cleverness.Those who knew Chuck as a friend, weren’t fooled for a second. Evidentally, back then, Gwen had a full conversation with my buddy before realizing that he was not, indeed, Chuck Hunter. She smiles as she tells the story, but I’m not sure if she was very amused at the time. I feel guilty. For about a minute.
Switching to water now. There has to be a point where you plateau, so that socializing doesn’t metamorphose into slurring and drooling – and so that you can remember the events of the night.What good is enjoying the night if you don’t remember half of it?I rarely, if ever, hit that point.And as much fun as I’m having now, I don’t plan on it now.
I gather in a small group of guys. I don’t remember the topic of conversation because I was zeroing in on Tanya R. She has been chitchatting with all the guys throughout the night, which isn’t a surprise at all. But I don’t want to infiltrate the conversation. For one, that would be rude. For two, I’d have to share her. I was willing to do neither.