25th High School Reunion
Well, all of my whining and negative future fantasy about how terrible my high school reunion was going to be proved to be silly. I had a great time and reconnected with great people. I was also on my best behavior…mostly. I even upped my grooming game to a new level. Not only did I get a haircut and shave and shower every day, but I wore layers of deodorant….of course I forgot mine but my sister had some version of industrial strength roll-on that proved effective. Crystals and Tom’s of Main don’t stand a chance against 105 degree heat mixed with a lot of hugging. Disaster avoided.
I almost looked preppy. I chatted at length and in person with more women than ever and loved it! As a matter of fact, both nights I found myself in breakout pods with wonderful women chatting about just about everything and laughing hysterically. Looking at all the photos it’s actually a bit obnoxious. They almost looks like the douchey pics of “those guys” at the clubs on Facebook bolstering their images with multitude gratuitous photo ops with multiple (and mostly unattainable) girls. Ew!
I did manage to drop a few irreverent and mildly inappropriate bombs. Nothing too incriminating but I had to stay at least somewhat grounded in the ridiculous or my head would have exploded….or worse, I could have traveled back to the land of the “SUPERDOUCHE” and gone completely off the rails like I did a few weeks back. I’m glad to say that I did not eat special brownies, nor did I chug vodka and beer in superhuman quantities. I actually socially drank somewhat moderately (although for me that’s relative).
Irreverant Bomb Number One: I learned that not everyone has heard of Burning Man. I also learned that perhaps I should ascertain my audience and filter the explanation of my experiences at Burning Man before opening my pie hole. I found myself elaborating about this life affirming pilgrimage to the desert where we dance naked and “illuminated” while celebrating art and humanity just before burning a wooden Man in effigy. My audience was “Miss Sandra” and I think I blew her gaskets. Enthusiastic stories of Pagan rituals don’t necessarily match up with some God fearing folks. I should know better. She’s probably regretting her high school Sadie Hawkins dance choice and saying extra prayers while clutching her rosary beads. Oh well.
Irreverent Bomb Number Two: Very simply – It’s just not appropriate to talk about masturbating with a woman who, just minutes prior, confided she had a crush on you. Never is this appropriate. It might be funny, but never appropriate. There was vodka involved and it was 2am…but still.
Irreverent Bomb Number Three: Remember my use of extreme hyperbole when I need, or in this case choose, to make a point crystal clear? It happened again. This time with a guy from all of my sports teams back in the day. We were good friends for a while and competitive as hell. We were even on a few all-star teams together. The initial conversation was fine. We did the normal small talk and then he asked EXACTLY the same dreaded questions that I talked about last week.
“So, are you married? Do you have any kids? What are you up to?” Without skipping a beat, my reply was a loud and resounding, “No, I’m gay as fuck!”
It came out of nowhere and was way more shocking than I intended. There was a small audience. Half laughed and half mysteriously disappeared after processing what had happened. Somehow I kept a straight face but would probably take that one back if I had a do over. Oh well.
By and large it was a really good time. I connected and reconnected with people in very real ways and will make an effort to build on these connections. I’m pleasantly surprised how many people, mostly the women – and some men, have grown and added dimensions and levels of interest over the years. I’m also glad that the weekend was full of smiles and laughter. I suppose, at our age, life has had its way with us and the strong have all developed the “I don’t give a fuck” muscle enough to let things go and just be. I look forward to more trips back and more forging forward.
The Gottliebs: The underlying theme of my pilgrimage back to Kansas City was visiting the Gottliebs. Dave and Amy are twins that fought like feral cats back then – now they are full of love. Marilyn Gottlieb, aka Merryland, Mayday, or Mumba is a force of nature that can truly not be described. Truly. She’s possibly the most loving person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting rolled up in a package of eccentricity that I appreciate beyond words. I am shedding a tear even as I write this.
THEN & NOW: (in THEN, I’m the goon on the right. Do you like my bangs?)
I conveyed that they would be surprised at my admiration of their family. Dave told me that it was just a “box of chaos” and was a bit confused at my POV. Mayday even asked me (paraphrasing), “Gooley, why did you choose us? We were a mess. There were ants crawling in the kitchen. The lawn was tragic and the house falling apart.” My reply was, “That’s EXACTLY why.” I never saw the outward presentation. I only felt the unbelievable love that emanated from the power of Mumba at the head of the household. Coming from my family that expended all energy on the superficial, I was enamored watching a family so in flux and yet effective at creating a paradigm of love. The results are the true measure; three wonderful and successful children that have grown into loving and dynamic adults. To sit in the house that Mayday built that Saturday to share the love was unforgettable. I cried all the way back the hotel.
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