Vignette

In my experience, you don’t meet old school acquaintances much around town by chance, even in a fairly small city.

But when you do, it really can be like something out of a novel. Every now and then, there is some meeting which seems to tie up old loose ends, or close a loop in time; sometimes giving you the answer to a question that was raised decades before.

I ran into an old school acquaintance a couple of years ago, at a car repair place. He was the kind of man who is going to hang around with his old school friends, going to the pub, playing some sport as an adult, and getting some respectable job in the local area. I had however been on the road as a “wandering scholar” for a number of years, and I put school and school friends behind me pretty quickly.

Our brief meeting went exactly as I had imagined it might. He remarked that he had not seen me at school reunions (I had actually been to the 20th, but I knew what he meant). I felt duly rebuked.

But the worst of these meetings was like a “perfect storm” of concealed ill-feeling. All the young men who had competed at my school academically happened to be back in town at the same time. We went to a Chinese restaurant to “catch up”. Of all things, it was a “steamboat” meal, in which you individually dip and cook pieces of food in a communal cooking stew. All we did was sit around and subtly boast about our life achievements thus far. Towards the end of the dinner, the boasting was a lot less subtle.

That dinner only happened once. It was opportunistic; there was not true commonality; and it was not to be repeated, since we all dispersed again. And one of us developed brain cancer, so he had to take a break from the rat race.

Two previous vignettes, “The Novice Nun” and “The Young Nun Visits The Doctor“.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Went to a school reunion; that was a mistake i won’t make again.

    The status seeking and peacocking hadn’t changed in thirty years. And that was just the blokes.

    Reply

  2. […] wrote this recently about a man I used to go to high school […]

    Reply

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