The Reunion: Part 2

Part 2

There are times when I dread doing things because I know it will be difficult. There are times I dread doing things because I know it will cost me a great deal. There are times I dread doing things because of irrational hangups. This was not one of those times. I dreaded going to my High School reunion because I could just sense that I was not going to enjoy this experience at all.

The reunion was held at the Little America hotel, which is a place I had never been to before. I've heard about this place from people. I've heard that people have quite enjoyed some of the things they've done here. However, I had never been there before that night. For that reason, I felt ill prepared for that environment. That is the reason why I dressed what I call "rebellious formal". Rebellious formal consists of a white dress shirt, no tie, black leather jacket, knee high black leather boots, and a kilt. Specifically a belted plaid, the significance of which probably went over the heads of my other classmates.

When I entered the grand ballroom at the Little America, I encountered a woman sitting at a card table filled with nametags. She greeted me warmly. "Hello."

There is something in me that always perceives women sitting at card tables with nametags in front of them as a threat. For this reason, I approached this woman hesitantly. "Hi."

"Are you waiting for someone?"


"Are you a part of the class of Hunter High 2001?"


"Okay, what is your name?"

"Jed. Jed Harbor."

The woman's face light up upon hearing my name. "Jed! God, I didn't recognize you. Do you remember me?"

At times like this, you would prefer to say yes, that you do remember the person who seems to remember you. For this reason I responded with, "No."

"I'm Cambra. Don't you recognize me?"

I remembered the name but not the face, which is opposite from the way I usually remember people. I still can't tell you the name of the cashier at the overpriced coffee place down the road, despite the fact that I've seen him daily for almost a decade. "No, but I do remember you. How are things going?"

"Great. Are you here with somebody?"

"No, I'm not. Are you?"

"Yes. My husband is standing over by the bar talking with Anthony and Jeremy. You remember them, don't you?"

"Yes, I do."

"Well, I'm sure they'd love to catch up. Here's your nametag." Cambra handed me a nametag that was just perfect to put on my nice shirt. I put this nametag on the sleeve of my leather jacket.

I made my way over to where Cambra has pointed when she told me Anthony and Jeremy were at the reunion. I remember Anthony and Jeremy, but not the person Cambra said was her husband. Even as I write this, I can't remember his name. So, for these purposes, I'm going to call him Husbandguy. Husbandguy had just told a funny joke when I walked into the group. I stood there listening to the conversation and occasionally nodding without actually adding to the conversation. After a while, Husbandguy left to rejoin his wife at the card table. This is when Anthony noticed that I was standing there.

"Hey, you're- um- I know this-" Anthony was trying to read my nametag, a task that was made considerably harder given where I placed it.

Finally, I stepped in to help. "Brent. Brent Allgood, Chief Executive Officer of Allgood Industries, where everything is always all good."

Jeremy actually did recognize me. "No, you're Jed."

This caused my identity to click in to Anthony. "Yes! Jed." Anthony then gave me a hearty one sided hug. One sided because I never have any idea how exactly to react when someone does this to me. "How are you doing, man."

I adjusted my leather jacket and said, "Good. I am good. You?"

"Great. Jeremy and I were just talking about doing a project together."

Jeremy jumped in to show off his expertise. "Yeah. We're thinking of developing a way to incorporate some of the photography that my company does into the television broadcasts that Anthony is involved in."

I was interested. "Hmm. Interesting. The only concern might be incorporating those photographs in a way that doesn't obstruct with the television broadcast."

Anthony was really jazzed about this project. So much so that my attempt to dump water on it didn't affect him at all. "Yeah, that might be a concern, but still, this should be a really cool thing to do."

I attempted to delicately make my exit from this conversation. "Well, I'm going to let you get back to your grand scheme."

Anthony said, "All right man." Then he gave me another hug, which I again didn't know how to react to. "See you around man."

Jeremy, thankfully, didn't hug me as I left. "Yeah, see ya."

I walked away from this conversation not knowing anything more about the people I was conversing with than I did at the start. This happens often with me, but I usually don't see it as a problem. I wandered over to one of the empty tables. Other people around me were laughing and talking and generally having a good time, while I was sitting alone checking my Twitter feed. I was just getting to UltimateGreenWarrior's daily rage filled tweet blast when someone came up and took a seat next to me.

"You know, if they really wanted to pump up this crowd, they'd start pumping in some KMFDM. Although that might offend people to the point where they'd leave, which wouldn't be bad." He had settled into the seat next to me and started cutting down our fellow classmates. It was like Holland and I had never parted.

I took our place in our old routine, slightly updated of course. "Yeah. Opeth or Rammstein might be more effective. I repulsed our Student Body Historian with Pussy off Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da the other day." Holland got a quick laugh out of that. Then we looked at each other. Holland looked like he hadn't changed much, dressed in a pair of Levi's, tight black t-shirt, and a hooded jacket. About the only substantive difference was the addition of a cigarette and better punk rock nail polish. "Hey Holland."

"Hey Jed. How ya been?"

"Can't complain. Working at the family store."

"That book store? You work in the old media that is slowly drying up and going away?"

"Yep. You?"

"The same. I do photography work for The Ridgefield Press."

"The Ridgefield Press? Never heard of them."

"I know. The only noteworthy thing that's happened to that newspaper is they were the front for a fake movie critic."

"Oh. That must be fun."

Holland's face light up in that limited way that his face used to light up. "It is. I get to take really gruesome pictures of the worst events of people's life, and get paid for it."

My face light up in that limited way that mine always does. "Huh. That must be cool to capture those moments then hope that never happens to you."

As if on cue to interrupt our conversation, Cambra and Husbandguy sat down at our table and attempted to interact with us. Cambra first tried to talk to Holland. "Isn't this just a blast."
Holland responded in the understated way I had loved to hear from him in high school. "Not really. I mean I haven't even triggered the C4 yet."

Husbandguy tried to talk to me. "Doesn't this place just bring back memories."

I responded in a way that may or may not have gone over Husbandguy's head. "No, Cobb failed to implant that memory before the dream collapsed."

Husbandguy didn't get it. "Don't you remember this place?"

I didn't get what Husbandguy was getting at. "No."

Cambra tried to jog our memories. "This was where our Senior Prom was held."

So that is where I heard good things about this place from. Cambra failed to jog Holland's memory, and he let her know why. "Really? I didn't go to that particular dance, or any for that matter. Tell me, what was it like?"

Cambra seemed perplexed by this. "You didn't go to the prom? Why not?"

Usually in situations like this, I come back with something that will totally offend the person who just asked me the uncomfortable question that I in no way want to deal with. "Hey, you two are a good upstanding Mormon couple, aren't you?"

Cambra and Husbandguy seemed delighted by this question. "Yes, we are."

I took this and ran with it. "So tell me, since you remember the Senior Prom so well, tell me, when the event wound down, and you two finally got some alone time, which brand of condoms did you use?"

Cambra and Husbandguy's look of delight was replaced with a slight look of disgust.

Husbandguy responded with a tinge of hostility. "Excuse me?"

Holland decided to try and make the pair sitting in front of us even more uncomfortable. "Please Jed, these are good upstanding Mormon people."

The look of delight returned. "Thank you."

Holland took this opportunity to hammer it home. "They probably spent more time trying to figure out a name for their now nearly ten year old kid."

This offended the formerly happy couple to the point that they left the table we were sitting at, which was our intention. As they were leaving, I decided to pour a little salt into the wound. "Great to see you. Let's friend each other on Facebook." Holland and I laughed a little at the hurt we had caused someone else.

Knowing how quickly word circulated through people in this digital age, I decided that right then was a perfect time to go. As I got up to go, Holland said to me, "Wait, you're not leaving me to deal with these people alone, are you?"

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Sorry Holland, but I can't stand these people normally, yet alone in this situation. Also, this kilt is starting to get rather uncomfortable."

Holland got a little laugh out of this. "Is it that you don't have the legs for it, or you're not wearing underwear?"

"Yes and yes. How my ancestors put up with this is beyond me." At this point I could have just left, severing a reconnection before it got a chance to really start. Instead I did this: "Are you doing anything tomorrow?"

Holland seemed bewildered by this. "Not really. I'm catching the redeye back home, but that's not untill late tomorrow."

"Wanna get some lunch? There's a great place just down the street from my shop that is getting quite a bit of buzz."

Holland contemplated this for a moment, then said, "Okay. Should I just show up at the old store at about eleven?"

I nodded and said, "Eleven is good."

"Okay, see you then."

I turned and started walking away, through the group of former classmates, most of whom I had no idea who was and who in turn had no idea who I was. I'm okay with that. After all, I didn't go to my High School reunion to get to know people I could honestly give a rat's ass about. I went there to reconnect with my old friend, Holland. I think I accomplished that.


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