Monday, October 02, 2006

 

Two Decades Later

I had a very surreal experience over the weekend. When I was in high school, I played trumpet in the marching band, and in 1986 our band won the Texas state marching band competition. A few of my classmates arranged a twenty year reunion, and this past weekend in Duncanville about a hundred people I hadn't seen since Reagan was in office got together at the Hilton Garden Inn. Allison came along, and kept remarking that all of us were wandering around, drinks in hand, talking about how strange all of this was. And it was very strange. There was a sort of cognitive dissonance in watching people age twenty years in front of your eyes. I'd strike up a conversation with a virtual stranger, and gradually begin to see a very familiar sixteen year old inside. Most of the exchanges were relatively brief, touching on a few route subjects -- where people live, what they do, whether they're married or have any kids, that twenty years is a long time and that we're all getting older -- punctuated by "Do you remember that time when...?" The evening ran a too-brief five hours, extended another few hours when we retired to a run-down sports bar in the Ramada Inn up the street, the only bar in town. Then we called it a night, and Allison and I headed back to my parents' place where we were staying, with me continuing to harp on about how strange the night had been. The whole drive back to Austin yesterday I carried on the same refrain, and woke up with it in my head again this morning. Now I've got recent memories of a room full of oddly familiar strangers in their mid- to late-thirties jostling with distinct and persistent memories of a population of teenagers in my head. And my only reaction is, "Man, that was strange."

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