Saturday, August 25, 2018
11:59 PM |
In Electric Dreams
Reunion night, High School Class 1993.
Looking at them, it's hard to believe that these people I know -- all of us entering middle age now and many showing the girth and softness and other fabulous symptoms of wear -- used to be the young punks that made our high school hire a security guard after a bunch of us did away with the principal's car, or made the city impose a 10 PM curfew for minors [which is still in place] after a bunch of us partied a little too hard on the dance floor of Music Box in the early years of the 1990s. Truth to tell, we weren't exactly a wild bunch either -- just young people lucky or unlucky enough to do certain things at the most opportune moment to make some mark.
It has been 25 years since we graduated in 1993, and many of us have gone on to some measures of accomplishment and success. But tonight, on our silver anniversary reunion night, none of that really mattered: we all reverted back to our high school selves, like a switch flicking a time machine. The smart guys back then reverted back to being the smart guys in the room now. The wallflowers then became the wallflowers now. The cool kids are still the cool kids. Aileen was still Aileen, Rosewell was still Rosewell, and so was Salome, and Theresa, and Melissa, and Jo, and Eliel, and Gwyn, and Joy, and Sherwin, and Earl, and Rheina, and Fiametta, and Roy, and Nina, and PaEugene, and Vicente, and so on and so forth. A small jolt still hits you when you see your old high school crush, who now sports a potbelly. Still, a jolt is a jolt. Whatever reinvention we've made of our lives flew out the doors of the reception hall of old Santa Monica Beach Club, and it was back to us remaking connections through our old stories, our old escapades, whatever we could dredge from increasingly frail memories.
It wasn't nostalgia, at least I don't think so -- it was just living shorthand for connection between old friends. What is weird about being surrounded by high school friends is that instantaneous reflex to just relax and be "you," where you don't really need to explain who or how you are now to be part of this circle of friends. I mean, these are people I rarely talk with these days, and most of them I haven't seen in years, but in the scheme of reunion night, none of that seems to matter. You are just Ian from high school. And thus the comfort, the general lack of pretense, and the easy surrender to how we were 25 years ago.
As the night wore on and the hired DJ struggled mightily to play for us the soundtrack of our youth -- and not once succeeding -- we danced to music that at least brought out some body memory of moves. And on the dance floor, it amused me no end to find that we were subconsciously starting to form a huge dancing circle, the way we used to dance with each other back in the day. Old rhythms are forever?
The DJ started playing 1980s music, thinking perhaps that we were 80s kids -- wrong! -- and as I watched my old friends shimmy about, I found myself grinning at the sheer delight of watching people I came of age with still try so hard to recapture the movements of our nimble youth, never mind that most of us were easily running out of breath now, never mind if the knees were starting to get weak and couldn't swing as much.
"Do you realize that in this reunion we are at that last cusp of whatever remains of our youth?" I told Rosewell. "In our next reunion, five years from now, we will be talking about our medications and procedures."
The DJ started playing Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder's "Together in Electric Dreams," and while it was still not one of our generation's repertoire of hit songs, part of the song's lyrics hit deep, and everyone responded to it visibly: "We'll always be together," the song went as we sang and danced along, "However far it seems / We'll always be together / Together in electric dreams." And that is the story, really, of old friends and twenty-five years, and how we will always be together, especially in our electric dreams.
Labels: high school, life, memories
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