Thursday, October 29, 2015

I had my 20 year reunion on Saturday night and learned a few things . . .

1. I was way better at remembering the names and faces of the men than the women. This is largely due to the fact that I had crippling shyness and horrible self-esteem in high school, and as a result didn't talk to girls. As a matter of fact, I didn't go to one school dance, didn't make time with any ladies, didn't have a girlfriend . . . none of that good stuff.

This isn't something I think about very often because I made up for lost time and dated enough women in my twenty's and thirties, but it's something I was unexpectedly sad about at the reunion and during a pretty awful hangover the next day. I'm not a dwell on the past type of guy - more of a let's look forward type - but there is just something pretty shocking about talking to close to 100 people that I had no relationship with back then. They had all those parties, played on all the teams, and had all those old times to talk about . . . All I could think about were all those miserable years I spent so scared to be embarrassed somehow that I spent the whole day in hiding, avoiding human contact. I just got through the school day in hiding until I could get home to my Metallica and Ozzy c.d.'s.

2. Just like at our 10 year, we took pictures of groups of people who went to certain grade schools and junior high schools together. It was those grade school people that I most wanted to see and hit it off with most that night. There's just more history: More times of people pissing their pants and eating paste and shit. I can't explain it.

3. One guy who was really quiet back in school showed up at around 8PM completely hammered. He has a drinking problem, and that's something that I know about pretty well from his younger brother. We were cracking up watching him corner people in the most awkward conversations ever, and at one point he unleashed a whiskey fart that cleared out the one whole half of the bar. Maybe, like me, he was having some crappy feelings coming back up and anxiety about seeing and talking to people so he drank even more than usual. Poor guy.

4. Speaking of drinking, it was kind of fascinating to stay and watch which classmates stuck around late into the night and kept boozing. I made a mix of songs from 1991 to 1995 to plug into the stereo system at the bar, and I got a lot of compliments on it. I had around five hours of music listed alphabetical according to song title. I remember asking for my iPod back around midnight to head to the after hours bar with "Waterfalls" by TLC playing, so the mix was just about over. Some of the classmates at the bar had told me they had kids at home, and one of the hardest partying ladies had four boys. Everyone was cool and a lot of fun.

I really should have given people more of a chance back in high school because that was a bar full of great folks. Except for the guy who was excited to show me that he had a business card with his picture on it and said I should come stay with him next time I'm in the area in his 10,000 square foot Victorian mansion. I'm guessing/exaggerating the square footage figure, but he for sure said Victorian mansion. He was kind of nerdy back then, and now he is an over confident nerd. I wanted to let him know, "It's okay, man. Everyone is cool and grown up now. No one will make fun of you. Come, let's get a beer at the bar together and listen to "In the Meantime" by Space Hog." You too, readers, should grab a beer and hit play on that one.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Maria and the Dragon

I had lunch with my good friend, Gung Ho, the other day, and we got talking about a time the two of us were at a strip club together. No, neither of us go to those types of places regularly, but it was a bachelor party. One of the dancers had a seat next to us and we proceeded to have a fun, lively, and drunken discussion. She said her name was Maria. One of us asked "Why Maria?" and she said it's her mother's name. Gung Ho was astonished and said, "You use your mother's name for your stripper name?!" I was already dying laughing, but then it got funnier. And sadder.

It was quite a while ago, but I think Maria looked something like this.
Maria told us that she was new to Chicago and liked it so far. She said she got out of Los Angeles because she was "chasing the dragon" out there and needed a new setting. Neither of us had any idea what in the hell she meant by that so she had to clarify that she was addicted to heroin. Gung Ho said, "Wow, heroin, huh? You ever miss it?" This instantly changed the mood. Maria became forlorn, looked off to the distance, and to neither one of us in particular admitted, "All the time. Excuse me." With that, she got up from the table, walked into the back room, and we didn't see her again the rest of the night.

I said, "Gung Ho, I think you just caused a relapse!"

To this he put forward, "Maria was going to chase that dragon tonight with or without our little talk."

He may be right. 

Poor thing.