I am getting old. I turned 27 last week, and that is past mid-twenties even using Jessica Simpson’s standards. Since my birthday and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend always coincide, it provides the perfect opportunity to sit back and really, really think about how old I am getting. But luckily, every time I go home I always realize that no matter how much things change, they tend to stay the same.
My first night at home was an informal high school reunion of sorts (read: all the people who live out of the area converge on the same bar that all of the people who live in the area always inhabit). I went with 3 people with whom I was relatively close in high school. I guess we were in the “Nerds, but Cool Enough: category of people. That is, we certainly weren’t the most popular, but we were smart enough to know where we stood. People all resemble their high school selves to an extent, but most are a little puffier than they used to be. Or they’re balding. Or their hands are weighed down by engagement rings. Just kidding, none of the rings is THAT big.
Although I think I look exactly the same as I did in high school (with better hair and glasses), no one ever recognizes me. Ever. When we first got in the bar, a classmate of mine (one of three in my class of 133 that was nicknamed “Fatty,” mind you) addressed two of my companions by name and then said to me, “Hey,…..[long pause]…pal.” I kept the awkwardness up as long as possible; I don’t mind that at all. I just stared at him until he figured it out. Eventually, he put his cup up to his mouth, spit out his chew and said, “Oh. Zach Wilcha.” I agreed and moved on. I saw people I wanted to see, found out what they were doing. Oddly enough, it turns out my class is turning out an inordinate amount of higher education degrees. Who knew? Of course, the senior year quarterback got into a bar brawl that involved his hurling his alcohol into the amplifier of the house band (2 brothers with guitars and a penchant for Dave Matthews, natch). Like I said…the more things change…
The rest of the weekend was filled with family, friends and a lingering sore throat I couldn’t quite shake. I heard from a lot of people wishing me nice birthday greetings, including some calls right after midnight. My family was crazy, as usual. My mom was relieved to hear that I didn’t have a boyfriend, and my dad was almost able to sustain eye contact with me for more than a few seconds. My uncle gloated about the Bush victory, and my little cousins continued to develop personalities. My grandmother was more coherent that usual, and my grandfather stole my thunder by surviving another birthday (we share the day). I was able to hang out with most of my close high school friends, which was nice. Everyone agreed that we are, indeed, getting old. We did decide, however, that we are getting prettier and smarter as time goes by. We think that the proof of that will be at our 10 year reunion, which is creeping up on us. That very fact makes us old. Really old. Old, but at least there will always be things like Thanksgiving that we can count on for entertainment and nostalgia.