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Last week Top Cat and I went to his 40th high school class reunion.

Yes: Four-tea-ith. Yes: 1970 was FORTY YEARS AGO. (Like this Life Magazine cover, from August 1970.)

We went with his lovely first wife, who was a classmate at Great Neck North high School — Top Cat and she were not high school sweethearts (they met again a few years after graduation and married, and divorced 12 years after that) but they are both sweethearts and we all live within five miles of each other so we thought it would be fun to car pool.

Also, Top Cat’s ex-wife was popular in high school and who wouldn’t want to show up with the coolest girl in the Class of 1970?

I must say that everyone looked amazing. Say what you want about that generation — they have aged very well, those baby boomers from the Class of ’70. And not with plastic surgery either: they looked fit, authentic, and successful (at least one internet billionaire, lots and lots of doctors and lawyers).

By the way, I was wearing my vintage look, in honor of the Calss of 1970. I was wearing the 1970s sweater that is on page 138 of my Book (When Wanderers Cease to Roam, which I am contracturally obligated to mention), the sweater I describe as what a 1970s cheerleader going through a hippie phase would wear:

So I was heading over to the hors d’ouvres table and there was a couple blocking access to the tray of dainty little quiches that I like so much. So we started talking, and it was the guy who was the alum, with his second wife. They were married five years ago, and I said that us, too (Top Cat and Me) were married five years ago too — in Las Vegas!

At that point we were all called into dinner, so I cast a regretful look at the tray of hors d’ouvre quiches and I head into the dining room at The Merchant Marine Academy, and I find the table that Top Cat and Miss Popularity had colonized for us. There were two empty seats at the table and guess who sat down in them! Yes! That same couple that I’d just chatted with at the hours d’ouvre table! What a small world!

So we make some more small talk, and the wife tells me that she graduated from high school in Rhode Island, and I say, “I graduated from high school in Reno, Nevada.” (Which is true, by the way. Earl J. Wooster High, class of 1973.)

And that’s when the wife turns to her husband and says, "Didn’t we just meet some one who had gotten married in Nevada? In Las Vegas?"

He looks at her and says, “Oh, I don’t remember.”

That would have been me, of course. From ten minutes ago. I’m the one with the forgettable face. But I was wearing my vintage Hippie-Cheerleader sweater! How could you forget that??

I got stuck with these bores the rest of dinner. Because naturally, Top Cat and his ex-wife were to-ing and fro-ing, finding old friends and flames, hardly sitting still.

I didn’t mind being abandoned, but sheesh. Why couldn’t I have got stranded with the dot com billionaire? One of the two people who now live permanently in France? The three people who are presidents of colleges? Nooooo…..I had to listen all about how that wife from Rhode Island loves to shop, even when she’s on a bicycle trip in France and she’ll stop in at shops and find the most adorablethings, dresses (in fact, the dress she was wearing that very night came from Lyon and is just like the “statement” pieces that she has such an eye for) and everybody else on the tour couldn’t believe she would dash into a hole in the wall and come out with a hand-crafted foot stool, or a wooden vase, or lace, like a sixth sense.

And then, when she was in Paris (she loves Paris, by the way) she managed to find this way out of the way museum that she’d never heard about! It was all about the history of the city of Paris (and she goes to Paris a lot, like every other year)…but she forgets the name of it…

“The Carnavalet?” I asked.(That’s your out-of-the-way museum??)

“Oh! Yes! That’s it!” she said, and she was off, telling me about her junior year abroad…

I  hate it when people don’t get that I’m the most interesting person in the room. Or, at least (in this case), married to the most interesting person in the room. (Hel–lo: He’s there with both his wives!)

I have a compartment in my mind where I store up all the bores I’ve ever met. There’s the guy I used to work with who kept comparing himself to Hawkeye on the TV show M.A.S.H. because they both had the same warped sense of humor…There’s the lady who filled me in on her cruise to Disneyworld (I think the boat goes in circles just off coast from Ft. Lauderdale)…There’s all those people who have told me stories about their kids…There’s the women I’ve worked with (there are several) who have told me in detail why they are too smart to be the administrative assistants they are…All those people who start some boring-ass story with the words “That’s a funny story:”…

And now, there’s that shopper from Rhode Island.

Several of the over-achievers that Top Cat went to high school with are musicians (one’s won a Tony) so they started playing some good old rock and roll so Top Cat came and rescued me and we spent the rest of the evening partying like it was 1970. And that was a banner year in the history of partying.

Now, I know that being bored is a luxury. I knowhow lucky I am that I am not like a billion people on this planet, all of whom have more urgent, life-threatening, evil, unjust, or dire things to deal with than having to listen to a bore at a high school reunion. But like the ancient Roman poet Horace, I have an anthropological interest in bores, and like ancient Roman poet Horace proves, bores have been with us since antiquity. (Makes you wonder: were the Egyptians ever bored? The Israelites? Cavemen?) 

So tell me. Be part of the long human history of ennui: Met a good bore recently?

And the Winner is: Shelley! Thank you, dear readers, for your wonderful feedback. I’m glad that it was a numbers thing — the reason I don’t give away stuff more often is because I don’t like having to decide. But I’ll try to offer these mementos more often –

Have a great weekend, everybody.

10 comments to It was a very good year

  • Oh Vivian;
    I would love to have been at your table at the Class Reunion, and listen to your stories.That numbskull couple missed out. There are so many clueless people in the world. Lack of curiousity is one of the worst flaws.
    Thanks for keeping up this blog, for filling my early morning hours with humor and color. I am crazy about your last post about painting the leaves. It is magic. Are you and Jack Frost related?

  • Shelley

    First of all…I am so excited to be the winner of your little red leaf. It’s gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see it in person, and hang in it my office where I will get to enjoy it every day!

    I agree with Julie…the clueless bores really missed out by being so boorishly preoccupied with themselves.

    I share an office with a woman like that. It does not matter what topic anyone introduces, within 10 seconds she finds a way to make it all about HER, and tells the most nauseatingly boring stories all about HERSELF in excruciating detail.

    I’m so glad that Top Cat rescued you and you could commence partying like it was 1970 ~ definitely a banner year for partying. I know. I graduated in 1971!


  • Good lord. How self-absorbed does a person have to be to forget a person they’d met ten minutes before?

    My mother’s boyfriend is some sort of hideous Homer Simpson/Al Bundy hybrid without a shred of humor to redeem him. We live on opposite ends of town, about 45 minutes apart, and when we leave his house he always asks the same thing: “Are you gonna drive straight through?” Every. Time. The same joke. And he talks relentlessly about baseball. I hate baseball. The only thing more boring than watching a baseball game is hearing a litany of baseball statistics.

    Also, he watches Glenn Beck.

  • Deborah

    Do political ads count?

    There have been times when I’ve bored myself — like busy Christmas season in retail, when I said the same thing over & over (to different people) and got sick of the sound of my own voice.

  • Hi,
    Barbara Finwall’s sister here. I can’t tell you how much I related to this reunion post. I’ve been there so many times it’s not funny. I’ve met that boring couple at so many events it’s not funny.
    I hope when we meet in Wash. D.C. for the John Stewart rally that we won’t find each other boring.

  • Deb

    Congratulations, Shelley! I hope you hang it where the bore can’t see it!

    I hate when people think shopping and chain hotels make them a traveler. My best travel stories come from the days when we’d take off for parts unknown at the last moment and have no idea where we’d stay. We’d end up milling about an old square asking for accomodation. But I am forever bested at dinner parties by trips to Disney or Cancun.

  • Nadine

    Congratulations to Shelly! A good ol’ bunny hug from me to you.

    The last time I remember meeting a bore was in about 1986, I think. I was set up on a blind date by my sister. I met him for dinner and the only thing I recall is that his conversation was mostly telling me the major exports of every country in the world. Oddly, I don’t remember his name.

  • Nadine

    Oh! I forgot to mention that the blind date was Australian. And we had dinner in Manhattan at a tres hip Japanese restaurant. It was probably expensive. He paid.

  • Carol

    Congats to Shelley on her winning that great painting!

    I am not a traveler sorry-guys. I can tell some lost in the woods stories…….

  • I’m the bore in my family at least according to my husband and it must be so as my sister was surprised when I wanted to go to her daughter’s 21st birthday party at Chuey’s of all places. Well, I was visiting – why wouldn’t I want to go? My son just labels me artsy and if I were around other artsy people maybe I’d fit in. Yes, sigh, I guess I am a bore.

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