Amtrak recently called to inform me that the last leg of planned a round trip to California will NOT be in business class. I’ll be refunded the difference between what I’ve already paid and the price of a coach seat for that trip, which is scheduled for August. That’s OK with me. The train from Chicago to Michigan has pretty wide coach seats anyway. My trip will be for participation in a 50th high school reunion. Sometime in the 1990s I read Robert Fulgum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. One of his essays included the suggestion that one should attend at least one of our high school reunions. He made a good case. Living far from California during the 10th, 20th, 25th, 30th, and 40th reunions, I’ve attended none. This will probably be my last chance.
“Springsteen Therapy” (not recognized by the American Psychological Association) has helped me to negotiate the change of life that I’m in. The more CDs I borrow from the library and copy onto my computer and the more YouTube playlists I listen to, the more I appreciate the breadth of the man’s compositional skills. One song I’ve heard in both places has been “Glory Days”, which tells stories of people about 10 or 20 years out of high school running into each other and having nothing else to talk about than their “boring old glory days.” As I prepare for the trip to California, I need to get ready for that possibility, partly because my high school days were fairly inglorious. I may find myself tonguetied.
There is an alternative. I regularly get together with a group of guys, many of whom are older than myself. I can’t say whether it’s because of the character of the group or why, but we manage to talk neither of “glory days” nor “aches and pains.” Maybe the reunion will include an “aches and pains” corner.
What will there be to talk about? Maybe I should just slowly sip on my beer and listen, saying “ooh and aah” as I listen to others’ stories about their own and their children’s accomplishments and look at pictures of grandkids. Probably that would be the best thing I could contribute to the gathering.
As for “what are you doing now?”, I’d better figure something out. “Blogger” probably won’t carry much of a cachet.
David Alexander resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan