Should I Go or Should I Stay
I have a high school reunion coming up. Many, many moons have passed since I’ve seen or spoken to any of my former classmates. I was not popular – more like invisible. Most of them probably didn’t even know who I was. I considered going because I was curious: whatever happened to the people who spent 12 years in Catholic schools with me, being tortured by bizarre rituals like “lent” and daily mass? Were they left scarred and twisted into something unrecognizable?
Then I saw pictures from the last reunion. I didn’t recognize anyone. In a panic, I sent copies to my friends. “Please,” I begged, “please tell me I don’t look like this!”
Being good friends, they did the only thing any good friend could do. They lied.
I decided to go even though I didn’t know anyone in those pictures. I could combine the 800 mile trip with a visit to my brother’s family and then to my daughter who had recently moved to the east coast.
I exchanged emails with the self-declared head of the reunion committee. Who refused to identify any other committee members. Or allow me to communicate with them.
And thus commenced a battle which reinforced two indisputable laws of nature: 1) you can’t go home again; and 2) you can leave the high school, but, for some people, the high school never leaves you.
June 6th The “save the date” announcement:
The cost is going to be between $85-$100 per person … the cost includes: Hors d’oeuvres, main entrees, cold displays, fruits, veggies and dips, cheese board, deserts, coffee and tea. For those of you who thought the last reunion was too expensive, I am truly sorry. We are trying our best to have a nice event at the best price we can.
Dear Lord, that’s enough food to choke Godzilla! What is she thinking? If people are worried about the cost, why doesn’t she just cut out some of the food and lower the price? Or have a pot-luck?
I try to be diplomatic.
June 8th Me: I wasn’t at the last reunion so don’t what the cost was or why people were upset about it – but the price you listed seems fair if it includes beer/wine. (my SIL had her reunion a few years back – it cost $75 per person and included a buffet dinner, full bar, DJ, Photographer, and organizer costs for the mailings and supplies).
Where will the reunion be held? In looking over the description, the only thing that struck me was that it did seem like an awful lot of food – I wouldn’t mind less food. Most of us are struggling with our weight.
June 10th The QB (as in Queen Bee, not football): The reunion will be at [Fancypants] Manor. More info to come. Prices have gone up. Couldn’t find anyplace for $75 this year.
August 8th The QB announcement: We have tried to keep the cost down to the best of our ability, taking into account the direct and indirect costs of putting on a reunion gathering. $95.00 per person. Menu: fried, fried, sauced, and fried with six entrées. Cash Bar. Please respond no later than September 13, 2012.
Seriously??? That’s keeping the cost down? $95? For an array of food in a quantity and assortment that causes a coronary just looking at it? Six entrées? Who needs six entrées? Plus hotel for anyone who can still afford the bar and has to get a room???
Is she insane? People just won’t come!
I still try to be diplomatic.
August 10th Me: I’m writing to ask you to reconsider the menu and price for the big event … you said that people thought [the last reunion] was too expensive and that keeping the price down was important. So I was surprised to open my email and find the price would be $95 plus a cash bar. That seems a little pricey. I’m asking you to consider changing the menu to reduce the price and make it more appealing (and affordable) to a wider number of people. I think more people will be willing/able to attend.
August 13th QB: We try to take in everyone’s concerns into consideration for the next time around, if there are voiced concerns. In regard to the menu, we picked the best options. We did try to keep the price down the best we could. The last reunion was $80 per person, and an increase of $15 over 5 years is really not too bad.
Whoa! That’s almost a 20% increase! What planet is she from where “that’s not too bad”???
I sense diplomacy is about to go out the window.
August 14th Me: With just a few simple changes the event will be more accessible to more people. Which means the turn out would go up. Isn’t that the real goal? An event that many people can attend and enjoy? I doubt most people will say anything on the subject … I fear many will simply choose not to attend.
August 14th QB: I am truly sorry you are not happy with the choices. We will be keeping your ideas that you presented for the next reunion in 5 years.
Ha! Like I’m ever coming back to one of these things! I try anyway.
August 14th Me: I’m willing to not eat and instead pay my share of the non-food expenses you listed (set up, renting the place for the night, taxes, maitre d’) and the indirect costs (phone calls, form printing, postage, paper for the printing of the class directory and updates, ink for the printing, name tags, and table decorations) which, added to the food, brought the total to $95 per person. I’m assuming since you were able to calculate the final price you must already have an itemized list of those expenses. Can you tell me what that would be? How many people do you think will come?
August 14th QB: Actually we have a lot of people that have said they were coming. We have also not had anyone else voice concerns about the menu.
– Your recommendations will be taken into great consideration for the next reunion
– I am sorry you are unhappy with the choices of food.
– We cannot change the menu at this time.
– We cannot decrease the price of the event for you
The decision is now yours as to whether you want to attend or not.
Double ha! She won’t tell me how many – I bet it’s what I said in the first place: people aren’t coming! I wait.
September 11th QB: (two days before the due date) To all alumni … For those that have not responded, please do so as soon as possible.
I find out the numbers from a different source. Number attending (including spouses): 30. Guaranteed minimum: 75. Graduating class size? 200+
September 21st QB: Alumni reminder … There are many people who mentioned that they were attending, but I still have not received anything. [Surprise, surprise.] Please respond ASAP. If you are attending, please send your check to me no later than September 28th.
So the question remains: do I want to buy a meal I can’t eat in a room full of people who don’t know who I am?
It would be just like high school!