I was checking out at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago and the young woman working the register sounded nasal — I figured it was allergies because according to NY1, the pollen count was through the roof. As I usually do with most everyone I meet, I started chatting with her and she volunteered, apropos of allergies, how she hadn’t been afflicted until this year, when she turned 21. She, even as a child, used to make fun of her mother for having allergies. It would’ve been easy to see at such a young age that she didn’t have much of a future in comedy. Needless to say, karma had now returned the favor. And the conversation continued…
“Thankfully, I’m not allergic to anything. It’s been 41 years and I’ve never had to deal with allergies.”
“You’re 41? My mother’s 41, too.”
“You don’t look 41. You look more like you’re 35.”
I assume this was meant as a compliment. How about 34 so I can at least be on the up-slope of 35? Or possibly an “I look good for my age?” I guess I’ll have to bite my tongue until I’m 50. Thirty-five has to look much better then!
Forty-one from my perspective looks like crow’s feet that are more pronounced, a gray chest hair or seven, and a current bout with bicep tendonitis and tiny rotator cuff tears in my right shoulder (being rehabilitated with the incredible support and the awesome know-how of the great folks at Spear Physical Therapy. Shameless plug). The doctor opined my injuries were age appropriate. Age appropriate? Age appropriate sounds as if I should be hosting a canasta game every Tuesday in my bungalow.
Who’s in? I’ll provide the cheese danish and prune juice!
Speaking of aging, on Saturday, April 20th, I went to a very unofficial SUNY Binghamton (now, the more prestigious, Binghamton University) 20th college reunion in the City. It was appropriately held at a dive bar that served drinks and beers in plastic rocks glasses and mugs — it was only until some of my friends ordered prosecco that glassware made an appearance. And when I say appropriately held at a dive bar, I’m not referring to living college life for a night, it was more an homage to Binghamton. I loved Binghamton. I love the friendships I made and the experiences I had. And I wouldn’t trade any of it to have gone to any other school — allow me my blissful ignorance — however, when one of my friends suggested Binghamton was the best place to go to school, I had to set her on a more defined, straighter path to “actually, not even close.”
Again, while I consider these folks friends for life, and cherish the times we had, CLEARLY Binghamton, and all that goes along with attending the school like, say, living in Binghamton, slightly lessens the overall experience as it compares to schools like Florida, Texas, Michigan, USC, UCLA, UNC, Alabama, Duke, Wisconsin, Duke, Cornell, Texas, etc., etc. (My apologies if your school wasn’t listed. I didn’t have the space. Or the time.)
Anyway, I’ll admit I was nervous at the prospect of seeing faces I hadn’t seen in years (in-person) as well as remembering names. I brushed up a bit on Facebook, but it still seemed a daunting task, even for me. I’ve always been the guy who knows and is able to identify everyone, and then share that vital information in an inconspicuous manner so as not to call attention to the fact names have been forgotten. Of course, I was just creating this anxiety for myself and it turned out to be much ado about nothing. Everything flowed as if it was 1993. Being able to turn from one conversation to the next, as if the relationship never skipped a beat. Certainly a lot had gone on in twenty years but the vibe, at least for me, was the same.
The next morning, I found myself recapping the reunion similar to the “morning after” in days of yore, with one of my buddies who wasn’t able to attend. He quizzed me as if we were 20 again. ”Who was the hottest chick?” ”Did anyone hook up?” And finally, harnessing a shred of maturity, “who were you happiest to see?” The truth was I wasn’t happiest to see anyone in particular. I was happy to see everyone. I was happy to see everyone, all together, in the same place. It was more an opportunity to flashback to a time when there was little, if any, of life’s stresses, always a fun time to be had and a wonderful sense of camaraderie. Fast forward to 2013 and everyone seemed to be in a great place in their lives — I’m pretty sure I didn’t have really in-depth conversations with most of the group but the chatter seemed to indicate so. It was a very comfortable environment, made even more comfortable by the fact we were doing what we did way back in the day. I’m already looking forward to a 25th because I don’t think I’ll be able to make the second unofficial reunion on Labor Day weekend. Regardless, for me and my fellow classmates, world… it was, and is, still on.
Epilogue – Saturday, May 25th, approximately 4AM. I’m tossing and turning in bed. I can’t breathe because my nose is stuffed. My sinuses and teeth hurt. Such is life. But at least I made it twenty more years than that woman at Whole Foods.