In the past I've refrained from using people's full names to maintain some form of anonymity. Anonymity is a joke. Besides, I keep saying I want lots of people to read this thing. So from now on, whenever I speak well of someone, and it's appropriate to use the full name, I'm gonna do so. That way, if someone wants to Google themselves, they might make their way to my little corner of the internet. But, uh, you know, if I have something not-so-flattering to say about someone I'll just use their first name. Or a fake name. 'Cause I'd hate to be sued for defamation of character or something like that.
I arrived fashionably on time, way abnormal for me. Generally, I show up to things chronically early. But when I got to Roanoke yesterday I went to my grandmother's to visit with her and Mom and April for a while. Before I knew it, it was 6:30. That's when registration was scheduled to begin. I got there just before 7, when the actual event was supposed to start.
The first people I saw, of course, were Jessica Smith and Allison Mease. These two ladies pretty much put the whole thing together. Gotta say, I was impressed. There's a lot of work that goes into planning an event such as this, and they've spent the last 12 months getting the class of '98 ready for this thing. Job well done.
I made my way into the reunion area and had a hard time recognizing anyone. Part of it could have been that 10 years have passed and some people look different. Part of it could be that 10 years have passed and I can't remember a lot of people. Part of it could be that I was crawling back into that shell that I mentioned yesterday.
After about five minutes of feeling and probably looking awkward, I recognized Eric Orange. I thought this part of the reunion would be weird. See, he's Jessica's ex-husband. And while I've maintained a good friendship with her, I haven't seen or talked to him since they split up. I guess she got me in the divorce settlement. It really wasn't that strange though. We spent a few minutes getting caught up. And then I moved on.
I made my way around the room, trying to find a table to sit at. One where I wouldn't feel like I didn't know anyone. Unfortunately, at first, that didn't happen. But then Beth Farmer invited me to come sit with her and her friend Karen. I remembered Beth, but I had completely forgotten that she and I were in the same group for our Decades project. We did the 1960s. Good times. So I had now established a place to plant myself for the evening.
And then you'll never guess who came over to talk to me. Tara Cronin! I know! She's like, one of the most popular kids in school! Seriously, cheerleaders never used to just walk up to me and begin a conversation. And, can I just say, 10 years ago, she was a cute girl. I was in school with her from first grade on. I won't lie, there was a slight crush there. And somewhere in the last 10 years, she went from cute to full-on gorgeous. I mean... wow. And, uh, what does it mean when a hot girl says you look really good? Twice? In the same conversation? Yeah, I didn't think it meant anything either. I just thought I'd ask.
Soon after, the buffet line began. Then came the slideshow of pictures from high school. I was surprised to see myself in a few of the pictures. Shocked is probably a more accurate description of how I felt about that. I'm the guy that only shows up on 1/16 of a page in his own senior yearbook. And then, there I was, sitting outside the Planet Hollywood in my Superman t-shirt. Good times.
The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. Jessica forced me to dance with her while Strawberry Wine played. I have a totally unrelated story regarding that song involving Dereck and Andy in a wig. I'll have to share that one sometime. Anyway, while we danced, we talked. I'm not sure if it was the wine or what in our conversation led to her question of "who's the most beautiful girl you know?" And even at that moment, I knew she wanted me to say her, but I just had to blurt out, "Honestly, right now, I gotta say Tara Cronin. Seriously, how hot did she get?" I don't think I really hurt Jessica's feelings, but she acted like I did. So I gave her a hug and said I was just kidding. But I wasn't really kidding. I mean, did you even see Tara last night? I mean... wow.
Guess that's it kids. See you at the 20. Maybe.