Every year, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been brought in to an assembly of old friends to participate in the Thanksgiving Eve practice of bumping into old high school acquaintances.
I’m not sure how or when this phenomena started, but I’m sure everyone reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the crowded townie bar that you all go to despite absolutely everyone in your group expressing apprehension at the thought of running into “that guy” or “oh man, that chick.” And yet, there you find yourselves, trying to find an inconspicuous spot to catch up amongst the sea of drunk semi-strangers who haven’t seen you since you were in 3rd period English class. And they all want hugs.
It became a less regular practice for myself when I went off the booze. Getting sober does strange things, like make you realize how annoying the extremely not sober can be when they’re in the mood to reminisce. But still, at least you get to see the people you wanted to see.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen anymore. Priorities, financial and otherwise, prevent all those friends from returning home. Some have families and can’t (or can’t be bothered to) find a sitter.
Regardless, we – and by that I mean the folks in my 27 and up age group – have suddenly, and without warning, passed that point. We’ve finally reached that age where the impending dread of a real high school reunion prevents us from attending the ad-hoc one downtown.
Some of us might be down there. Where we used to all share the burden of running into the ones who still haven’t figured out that they’re too old to toss around phrases like “Thirsty Thursday” without sounding like an idiot, the lonely few now shoulder it and are finding it harder to end the conversation without it seeming incredibly awkward and abrupt. Those still toughing out Thanksgiving Eve probably won’t be back next year.
Me, I stayed in and watched a PBS documentary on Woody Guthrie. Because I can pretend I’m above it, but I’m really just that far behind everyone else. On the plus side, I got to hear the story about how Woody stole the tune from an old Carter Family song to write “This Land is Your Land.”
I’m thankful for a lot of things, and I’ll spare you that list. Here’s hoping we all get to enjoy the company of loved ones tomorrow.