Thursday, September 06, 2007

Late to the Party, But I DID Show Up

The Bar is Open
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

My 20th anniversary high school reunion is Saturday. The last time Harry and I were together he said he wouldn't go unless I went. And I'd go only if we could get his wife to attend. And I knew that wasn't going to happen. So I'll be doing something else Saturday. But I'll be doing it while wondering how some folks have turned out in the ten years I last saw them.

We went to our 10th anniversary reunion, along with our friend Missy. My most vivid memory from that was how quickly we all reverted back to our little cliques from high school. There was this ongoing sense of "can you top this" and "here is a list of the great things I've done" in the air. In hindsight it was fairly petty. We were on the expressway to adulthood, but some of us were stuck in traffic, others were speeding in the carpool lane, and still more of us were engaging in some form of gapers block, looking back at the friends and classmates who didn't make it. Then the mask of who we were when we'd go to Hero's, Mickey D's Hot Dogs, or Wendy's for lunch started to fade, probably with the help of the open bar, and we began to look at each other as people in their late twenties just starting to gain the knowledge that will carry us through life, along with falling in love and thinking of having kids; stumbling into careers; and leaning how to cope with the things our parents shielded us from: like debt, taxes, the uncertain news from that check-up; worrying about the end-of-year bonus and where we're gonna find that video game Billy wants on Christmas Eve. In other words, we were just beginning to become our parents. Only our parents didn't have to worry about the iPod touch.

I'll be the first to admit that I took the scenic route to where I am today. I can remember holding up a copy of the Sun-Times (only .25¢ in 1986-1987) in speech/debate class my senior year and saying that my dream was to have my own byline in a newspaper. Four months after that a Navy recruiter's lying through his teeth at me as I'm enlisting for six years to study nuclear engineering, saying "Sure you can study journalism if this doesn't work out." But he also told these hilarious stories about how he contracted the venereal warts he loved to brag about and said I could tell similar stories, but without the warts, if only I signed on the dotted line.

It could be said that what I'm doing now is a story in perseverance, and I guess that's true to an extent. But I also look back at all those years where I just did nothing because where I was in my life at any particular moment was comfortable, and I didn't want to shake that up to shoot for what I wanted to really do. All I've ever really wanted to do was write, and I've never actually stopped. It's just now I'm at a place where I take it more seriously than I've ever done. It's amazing what happens when you place stock in something you love.

Maybe I'll pick up a guitar again.

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