Miss Shaw

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

Kurt Vonnegut

IMG_1143It is open window season here, 24/7.  Warm winds, cool winds, summer pjs, crickets chirping at night, sunlight that starts pleasant in the morning and becomes stronger until, finally, at 2 or 3 or 4 in the afternoon I yield to sleep and nap.

High school reunions are in the air.  Television network airwaves, that is.  Last night’s episode of Hawaii Five-O featured a murder that took place at a reunion and earlier in the week, Mr. Reese and Miss Shaw were sent to a high school reunion in the most recent episode of Person of Interest.  In another post I mentioned my crush on Harold, Mr. Finch, but I now watch the show for Miss Shaw (played by Sarah Shahi), who has, by her own diagnosis Axis II Personality Disorder. With her flat affect and few demonstrable emotions I feel an affinity.  Her reactions to the overly cheerful and enthusiastic greeter at the reunion are scenes in which Miss Shaw gets to recoil in horror for all of us.

The reunion is truly a moth and flame situation for me now.  I’ve previously written about my motivations for attending and not attending, but rational thought has given way to emotions, to gravitational pulls, to genetic dispositions.  I know I shouldn’t go for a number of pragmatic reasons, including the fact that I’ve yet to see a name on the list of attendees whom I’d love to connect with, and after all these years I see the re-emergence of those cliques I once saw roaming halls and ice cream shops.

Yet, to walk in my home town – a different place, certainly, now than then – is the temptress.  When he was much younger (and during the time I’ve been away), the three-star master chef from France Guy Savoy opened (and closed) a restaurant in Greenwich; M and I managed to eat at his restaurant in Paris, one of our best meals ever, so I think I’ve missed little.  The money that would be spent on the reunion trip would be far better spent in other ways.  Yet, my family viewed life this way:  if the rent is due tomorrow, we still have time to get to the track tonight, have some fun and make a little money.

My mother loved playing poker, too.  There were family get-togethers, nickel and penny games, where she was often the lone woman at the table, her sisters clucking away in other rooms.  She, the baby of the family, could out-bluff her big brother, whom she adored, but a man whose temper terrified his wife and children.  My mother wanted me to take her seat at the table, and I remember her anger when I refused.

She also gambled on a second husband and lost big-time.  She bet on a life-insurance policy that the heavy drinker, whom she married twice, would die in time for her to collect.  She cancelled the policy, having grown tired of waiting.  I need to put all this in perspective:  my sister and I always had a roof over our heads, had clothes for school and never went hungry.  I learned the value of work, but not the value of money.

I’ve done more analysis of the reunion attendees.  Half still live in my home state and half of those still live in my home town.  Not unexpected.  65% are female (higher than I expected) but only 18% of the women kept their maiden name, low for a generation that discarded traditions.  More than half the women (56%) and less than half the men (43%) are attending by themselves, without a “plus one.”

I had my hair cut and styled yesterday and last night I took some selfies.  Reviewing the photos, I realized despite the allure of the flame, I believe I’ll …

Save It for a Rainy Day

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