Sunday, October 22, 2006

there's no such thing as baby weight in manhattan beach

After 11 and a half years, people from my high school are finally planning our 10-year reunion. I had made up my mind to go: I was already in town, I was curious, I’d made a decent life for myself and I thought it would be nice to run into one of the four people I’d like to catch up with who aren’t on MySpace.

Then I read the part of the Evite that said “Send $55 per person to….”

Then again, I thought, they’ll have to join MySpace eventually, right?

Around this time, I also stumbled across the MySpace page of a fellow Mira Costa Mustang who’d recently had a baby. She smiled up from her profile pic, looking blonde and radiant, sans an ounce of baby weight. Her gorgeous daughter was in one arm, and her designer leather diaper bag was in the other.

I thought,
Do I want to pay $55 to be reminded more viscerally than ever of what Manhattan Beach is like?

I looked at the “No” section of the Evite. The people who had declined so far had included comments like, “Sorry to miss it, but I’ll be in London” and, “I’ll be in Singapore. Miss you guys!” This also seemed very Manhattan Beach.

So—speaking for the non-globetrotting masses, I thought—I checked the “No” box and wrote, “I would love to see everyone, but I’m less in love with the $55 fee. Sorry to miss it.”

A day later, I got an email from Monica, one of the coordinators, saying, “Cheryl, I would hate for the $55 to keep you from coming. If we can work out an alternative, would you consider coming?”

Yes, I was being offered a scholarship to my high school reunion.

At which point I got deeply embarrassed and started thinking how dare I have bitter thoughts about Manhattan Beach when, look, my classmates had grown up to be sweet and generous, and, hello, $55 wasn’t really that unreasonable for two hours of all-you-can-eat-and-drink anyway. It costs money to put on a big event. Did I think it was going to be free?

Usually when I feel bummed about not owning a designer diaper bag, I remind myself,
I’m a starving artist—that’s glamorous! Also, I don’t have kids and it would be weird to carry around a diaper bag, designer or otherwise.

But of course Monica is an artist too. She, like, owns her own textile design company or something. So I sent her a polite thanks-but-no-thanks email and realized that now I definitely can’t go to the reunion. I doubt my name will come up among those who do go, but if it does, I know the rumor won’t be, “I hear Cheryl Klein published a book!” or even, “I hear Cheryl Klein is a dyke!” It will be, “I hear Cheryl Klein is really poor!” But hey, at least that will distinguish me.

P.S. I’m off to New York for a week, so adios for a bit.

P.P.S. It’s for work. Rumor has it that I’d be way too broke to fly there recreationally.


thelastnoel said...

I think people will say that you're playing the aloof author, which isn't a bad rep to have.

Mandy said...

You're far better off not attending than attending the reunion. Reunions are just an excuse to have individuals get together and resort back to the high school mentality. Or in my graduating class' case, still revel in their high school glories and not get past the fact that now they are supposed to be adults. My class was supposed to have a reunion but because of who the organizers were, 3/4 of the class chose not to participate and at the last second, both organizers pulled out (one because she was pregnant and chose not to have to deal with our immature classmates and the other who decided she'd rather go off for the weekend with her husband!) A bunch of us still got together for drinks and somehow I ended up being voted the Head Coordinator of our class' 15 year reunion without having a say in it.

Cheryl said...

N: I will be the J.D. Salinger of the class of '95.

M: Good idea. My friends and I have already planned our own anti-reunion, which I expect will be all about take-out and booze from Trader Joe's.

erin said...

you can get a whole lotta booze at TJ's for 55 bucks!

Claire said...

The whole fee thing is a bit off-putting no matter how much sense it makes. Pay to see people I never much liked? It's counter-intuitive. Most of the people I'd like to see were a year up or down from me anyway.

I was living 1000 miles away during my 10th reunion, so that was an easy no. I'm in the neighborhood if there's a 15th, but I will likely pass. In your case, having a book published sounds great. Publishing my blog just doesn't have the same impressive ring to it. ;)

Cheryl said...

After enough TJ's booze, the world of blog-publishing can sound plenty glamorous!