Monday, June 11, 2007

Reunion: some highlights

Bert and I both got in late Thursday afternoon, and after dining at the most famous purveyor of the food for which Alma Mater City is most famous, we trundled on over to our class reunion headquarters to register. Commenting that it was going to be all open bar, all the time, I encouraged the undergraduate staffers to help themselves to whatever was on offer.

"I mean, we're paying enough for this thing," I said, "and it's totally easy to crash. At my five-year, some of my own students showed up."

"Actually, we get fired if we crash," one of them said.

"So, we'll bring you drinks," Bert said. "How 'bout that?" Then, turning to me: "Hey, we have to go! The liquor store closes at eight!"

The staffers laughed. After all, it's their job to make us think we're charming.

* * * * * *

Luckily, they didn't see what happened next: after buying a bottle of Jameson's for me and a bottle of Malibu for Bert, we went back to our hotel room and made some very large drinks. Then we went down the block to Big Furniture Store--me with a paper cup of whiskey still in hand--where we wandered upstairs and down, testing out sofas and commenting loudly on eveything of which we disapproved.

* * * * * *

As predicted: every single lawyer I met announced his or her profession with some embarrassment, and often accompanied by the phrase, ". . . like everyone else." This was true even of the people who were doing non-corporate and in many cases truly interesting sounding work.

* * * * * *

Clearly, the 10-year is a big deal--the university must see it as its chance to cultivate the millionaire donors of the future. We had the best location of all the reunions, and the university's president and spouse came to one of our receptions to rub shoulders with us. Fortunately I didn't come face to face with the prez, or I'd have felt compelled to explain exactly why I wasn't giving the insitution any money (never mind that I don't have any to give).

* * * * * *

I expected to be, and can now confirm that I was, the only alumna/us who attended the receptions for both the new center for Catholic life and the gay and lesbian organization.

The space for the former was prettier and the people at the latter cooler, but the comestibles at both events were similar and there were very few women at either. In fact, when I was chatting with a lesbian couple at the latter event, the only other alumna in the room came over to introduce herself and bemoan the gender imbalance. "What the hell is up with that? That's such a commentary on the INRU gay community--like, 30 men and 4 women."

"Yeah," said one half of the couple, "and I didn't even go to INRU--I graduated from Dartmouth."

"And I'm straight," I added.

"GodDAMN! That's so fucked up."

* * * * * *

On the shuttle from our hotel to campus, Bert and I met an 87-year-old alumnus in town for his 55th reunion; he'd flown in from San Francisco by himself. We learned that he was a former farm boy and WWII vet who'd attended INRU on the G.I. Bill. He also explained, pleasantly, how George W. Bush was ruining the country.

* * * * * *

At the GLBT reception I ran into someone from my graduating class whom I knew only by name, but when I overheard him saying that he'd just defended his dissertation, we got to talking and it turns out that his degree is also in English. Although we work in entirely different fields and his grad program is on the other side of the country, we immediately ascertained all the people we knew in common and started slinging our best gossip.

* * * * * *

I did indeed look fabulous. The former love of my life looked disappointingly fine himself, but at least he recognized me and greeted me by name. Given that we never had so much as a single date (or even knew each other all that well); that we've only run into each other twice since college; and that he has since achieved a minor degree of celebrity, this acknowledgement was sufficiently gratifying. By contrast, a guy whom I actually did date, long after college, very obviously saw me and even more obviously avoided me.

* * * * * *

INRU has an unusually excellent--and very singable--song as its alma mater. Said song involves an even more excellent conclusion, which incorporates a dramatic physical gesture. Everyone knows how the song concludes. But people who don't know the rest of the words and just mumble along? They suck.

Needless to say, none of our friends suck. Or at least not in that particular way.


Anonymous said...

man! I'm so jealous! Let's pick a year (next?) to all crash together, okay?


Flavia said...

Next year would be perfect--after all, Julio is the '98 reunion chair!

And since I crashed the 98ers' five-year, when I was living in AMCity, I think maybe I need to make it a tradition.

Anonymous said...

Yes yes, please crash next year! :)

-merzr :)

Oso Raro said...

Well, I pleasantly and blithely missed my tenth, altho was badgered by all sorts of folks who were going to be there. I was broke, had just finished my thesis, and would have missed my PhD graduation in favour of the green lawns and glassy stares of my ex-peers back east. I guess I'm saving up for the big 2-5, which is closer now than not, scarily enough.

I remember reunions in the 80s at least as a pretty high time for those of us undergrads stuck in Alma Mattress City for the summer. The most memorable (or perhaps infamous) was crashing the Class of 73's 15th with a bunch of friends, scoring one too many Screwdrivers, and dancing like dervishes on the lawn to canned disco music with a boy from Columbia I had a mad crush on, so much so that my pants fell down and everyone (I kid you not) could see my chub.

This little mortifying moment was followed up by falling down a short set of stairs at the Greek diner at like 4 am. Not sure what happened to the Columbia boy in the end, but definitely not my finest moment (or perhaps it was).

PS In BEC until next week, then back in August. Are you around? Me and Mr. Gordo would love to treat you to Peruvian Chicken Dinner!