This will be my third and final “Reunion Report.” For now, anyway.
It’s just that there was so much to think about. I had to space things out. I had to plug in the iron, really press and smooth. I can’t figure anything out unless I write it out, as I’ve said. It’s been this way since I was in sophomore study hall, scribbling poems on the rubber sole of my Converse sneakers. I mention this again in case anyone from the reunion started reading my blog and is right now shaking their head, legitimately wondering why I can’t just chill and let the reunion be what it was: a great party. But I can’t help it. A sandwich is never a sandwich around here.
Whatever the occasion or experience, as time passes, impressions solidify, or they cauterize, or they get frozen in amber, or they disintegrate completely. Six-ish days after the reunion, I can finally get to what for me was the heart of it all. The thought started on Saturday evening and survived the night itself, the hangover on Sunday, the mulling, and the return to the city.
Time is the great equalizer. That’s what survived.
Every classmate I talked to last weekend, regardless of the tenor of our conversation — which did range from convivial to dark — was an adult. Time has no caste system, has no opinions about what you do for a living. I talked in the last post about “reverting to type” and I did, but not the whole time. Most of the time, I just felt like a person with people I admired simply by virtue of the fact that we’ve gone through a good deal of life since we were all in a room together. It’s been 20 years. Think of that.
Think of that.
Births. Deaths. Suffering. Ecstasy. Loss. Windfalls. Horror. Bliss. Addiction. Recovery. Jobs. Ruin. Success. Disappointment. Marriage. Divorce. Second divorce. Aging parents. Sibling pain. Fears for children, worry for friends. Disease. Redemption.
Living history, in other words.
The history we’re making and have each made in 20 years, all of us in our different ways (which are the same ways), that is the great equalizer. Time flattens us all and in this case, it’s a good thing. When I go on about feeling awkward, I’m being paranoid and small, even just taking up space to say that. Most of that night, we were all just folks, connected by the fact that two decades after we crossed the stage in the gymnasium wearing long robes and weird, betasseled cardboard hats, we are alive and we have earned — and paid dearly for — the space we occupy.
That’s what I figure. There’s more, but tomorrow I want to talk about how I rearranged all the furniture in my apartment this evening. What else am I supposed to do after seeing the grand pageant of humanity in the faces of my graduating class?
Move the couch, that’s what.