I got together with a few friends from LMU last night. Since no one starred in an impromptu music video, broke something expensive, or surfed down the stairs on a cardboard box, I can’t quite call it epic. But of course, it was good times.
First thing’s first: Thank you Desi and Travis for organizing everything. I half-seriously anointed Desi chairperson of the one-person committee in charge of arranging this night two summers ago. Holy shit, it was really going to happen.
When I saw the link on Facebook, I scanned through the guest list. The two primary thoughts that floated through my head were “Who the hell are these people?” and “Shit, don’t tell me we [my classmates and I] are the oldest ones on the list.” The picture above is more or less the group who came out last night. It worked out pretty well, I knew just about everyone there. And my classmates and I were the oldest ones there.
When I got there, I was shocked to see LMU signs and stickers and maroon pom-poms. Apparently, Travis wrote to LMU about our get-together and the school sent him a bunch of cool stuff. It will be going up in my classroom on Monday.
Early on, it was easy to make conversation. There were few people, it wasn’t noisy, I wasn’t plastered. As the night wore on, it was incredible. Since our party was given a side room, I could not see the main area. Every time someone would walk into our room, it was like a new contestant entering the Royal Rumble. Every person that walked into the room was greeted with a kind of roar of happiness and surprise. Honestly, all it was lacking was individual entrance music. Once people started showing up, it got harder to have prolonged conversations, but I think I chatted – briefly or otherwise – with everyone I knew.
Generally, things like this follow a basic structure: an hour of catching up followed by 5 hours of drunken retelling of old stories that everyone remembers fondly. While last night mostly followed this script, something else happened that I hadn’t anticipated. I spent a large portion of last night in a kind of middle ground between those two extremes. I, along with a bunch of my friends engaged in a few “Hey, so what the hell was that about?” conversations.
In retrospect, I suppose these kinds of conversations can only happen within this kind of context: we all have several shared experiences, but since we all experienced them differently, the level of information varies. Also, I guess that enough time has passed that it’s not taboo to talk about some things that might have been difficult to bring up at the time they occurred. Some of the names and events mentioned last night had the effect of shaking loose long-dormant memories. It was like plate tectonic shifts were going on inside my brain. Someone asked me about a falling out I had with a former friend; this led to a 15-minute conversation about our respective past relationships, our current families, and how those two things are related. Someone else nailed me by bringing up a less than flattering quality of someone I was involved with, then everyone at the table laughed. “Wait,” I said. “All of you guys noticed that?” They reacted with more laughter and a kind of irritation that I would somehow believe they hadn’t noticed. Then someone actually imitated her. What can I say? They got me.
These conversations were the best part of the night, you know, outside of the expected chaos resulting from the combination of people who were there. The best comparison I can come up with is when they repeat scenes within a movie, but with additional information each time. I learned about things that I never knew I didn’t know. I told Desi last night that I see my friends from LMU on Facebook all the time, but no matter what kind of statements or pictures they post, I still absorb that information through the lens of a context that’s outdated by at least 10 years. I thought last night was going to be a chance for me to update that filter. I should have known better, though.
“We’ve come a long way since ‘Frank the Tank,'” says Perrey Reeves, the actress who played Will Ferrell’s wife in Old School. Her comment was foreshadowing for the audience, so that when Ferrell takes up the beer bong and ends up naked on the street, it makes sense. But it was also a commentary on a truth about relationships. Reeves says these words after Ferrell tells her he’s going to a party with certain friends. Frank the Tank didn’t die when he got married. He just went away, some place deep and dark. He gets put in a place with a combination lock that can only be opened with the correct amalgam of people and circumstances and possibly alcohol.