By the time you read this I will have attended my 40th high school reunion. I have avoided most class reunions at the various institutes of learning I have graced after the 20th. This is because they tend to be rather dreary affairs at their best. That and I am pretty much in contact with those classmates who I am close to on a weekly, if not daily, basis. If I am not in contact with somebody (and vice-versa) there is probably a reason for that. And attending a reunion is not likely to change that.
Truth of the matter is that I really don't have much interest in attending tonight's gala. (You may safely deduce that I am writing this on the Saturday before) Off the top of my head, I have remained in contact with maybe 6 people with whom I attended high school. The Reunion Committee (God love them) thought I might help them find people that were eluding contact. I don't know why they thought that. I didn't remember 2/3 of the people on the list. And I mistakenly identified one as dead. Which they unfortunately ran with much to his considerable surprise which he quickly communicated from here on this Vale of Tears where he is still in residence.
Sure it will be a nice event. The women on the Committee have worked really hard. It will be good to see folks I haven't seen in eons. It will be a beautiful Autumn night at a great venue.
But just for a little bit I would fake a car wreck or something to avoid this. So why am I doing this? After all, as someone pointed out the other day, I am not the sort of man that does things I don't want to do even though I concede that I'm not exactly charging a machine gun nest here.
Here's why. When Mother died I was set upon by a bunch of women from my high school class. Some came from far away to be at the visitation. Some I had not seen in years. But it was like somebody sounded a fire alarm somewhere. And these women came out of the blue because they loved me.
I didn't even know.
Fast forward 4 years to last Wednesday.
It might alarm you to know that I am a mentor at the law school. The Dean in charge of the program gave my name to a young first year student who foolishly thought I would be good for her primarily on the basis of stuff I had written that she found floating around the Internet when she googled me.
She can't help it that she is not yet quite capable of discernment.
I met her for lunch last Wednesday. Nice kid. Really smart. So purposeful and earnest. She rattled off questions she had for me from the bullet list installed in her head. Boom, boom, boom. It was kinda funny. Part of my grilling came from her desire to find out why my career path went the way it did which was fine. Besides the public record is the public record. And part of it was because she is a woman. It has been my experience that many women have a genuine interest in learning about a new friend's life and family on the front end whereas most guys would prefer to learn such details by what passes for osmosis. I suspect that so it is with my new protege.
"How old are you anyway?" I asked.
"Guess my age," she replied.
"I'm not very good at this sort of thing in general," I said. "And I'm never around young women any more, unless they are like, 15 or something."
"Oh c'mon," she said. "Throw out a number."
How old was I when I entered law school? I couldn't remember. Honestly.
She points her thumb to the ceiling and jacks it up. Higher.
"24," she said." I had to do an internship after college to get my RDN. So I'm a year behind."
Good God. A time table. She's way more focused than I was. But then again, New Orleans will impart focus issues to a young man. Point for me.
"I guess I was 24 once," I said.
The fact that I am going to a high school reunion is proof that I was 17 once en route to being where I am now where ever this is. And now I've got a young law student in my charge. It all pretty surreal.
She and I will be just fine. She thinks I'm funny. Really smart women tend to appreciate funny. Hopefully this can overcome my lack of technical expertise in the law.
Speaking of women, I am going to go do this thing tonight mostly because those women that showed up out of the blue a few years ago want me there. And to acknowledge a kindness that is beyond my capacity to ever fully repay.
The fact that Grand Funk Railroad will be playing in the background is grossly unfair. But I will get through it.