Next Saturday, Carol and I will be attending her 50th high school reunion in Yonkers, N.Y. My role will be her dutiful arm ornament. As jewelry, I'm closer to the kind left unclaimed in a pawn shop, rather than glittering off the wrist of a NY socialite. Plus Carol was the head cheerleader for her high school (Carol insists she was never the head cheerleader, but she's not telling this story, I am). Which means expectations could be high for someone like a Johnny Depp or a Michael Douglas to be draped around her. I can do Randy Quaid, or with dim-lighting, maybe a Paul Giamatti in a stretch of credulity, but my guess is some form of "looks were never important to me," will find its way into introductory conversations.
I'm not a reunion kind of guy by nature. I will be relying on every scrap of small talk I've ever uttered or heard to get through the evening without giving into the urge to hide behind the nearest ficus plant for most of the night. Happily, Carol attended a Catholic high school like me, which means open bar all night and thus can only help to lubricate my conversational gears. As it is Carol's 50th, it also means there will be plenty of room for the Holy Spirit between couples when we dance, thanks to the prosthetics etc. enabling our capacity to shuffle off to Buffalo without the aid of a walker.
Carol claims to have been shy when she was in high school. Her stories, though, tell a different story, and I'm expecting to share the dance floor with a plethora of former suitors. I plan to hold my own, though. For my senior prom, for example, I was able to escort the lovely and willing Miss Somebody or Other, who was available as I remember it, because her regular boyfriend was serving time in prison on prom night. (In point of fact, I was able to secure many dates throughout high school by perusing police blotters and current reform school admissions.)
One aspect of the 50th reunion is that few people care anymore what you've accomplished in your career and how much money you may have made. What is important for our age group are things I can rakishly sling around if need be. I have 31 of my original 32 teeth, and all my joints, hips and knees are my own. I promised Carol I would not comment on the possible need for any ED assistance, so I won't. (PM me if you're curious, because I'm dying to tell somebody!)
Overall, I'm looking forward to this reunion. I grew up enamoured of all things New York, and the wonderful thought of being betrothed to a Yonkers girl (about which more in the coming installments of our grand tour of Great Britain) continues to imbue me with a kind of "You talking to me?" kind of "additude."
I can say for sure I'll never pull that off. One thing about turning 70. You know there's no longer any upside to putting on airs.