...I want to scream at the top of my lungs!!..." Unless you've been living in a cave or only listening to talk radio the last few years you've heard this song, "No Such Thing" from the album Room For Squares. It's about a guy who has very mixed feelings about where he grew up and what it was all about. That guy is John Mayer. He's a very talented blues-influenced singer/songwriter who made his way around the scene as a teenager in Connecticut only a stone wall's throw from where I grew up. With 5 disks out over the last 7 years there is a wide range of material to choose from and with each album he tries something new. While he maintains his basic form, the music he writes for each new album is more aware and a little deeper than the previous one. Here is a guy who wants to grow up, age with us, and is very happy to do it.
I had been on the fence about going to my High School reunion because of the timing with my trip to Alaska and flying out here only left me a week or so in between. I thought, why go? I'm not sure I care about these people any more than they care about me. I was reminded by my 2 friends I'm in touch with that I had said I would go, and when push came to shove I feared being an LA Flake, so I caved. I'm so glad I did. While I could have done without the hangover I got because of the all the reconnecting friday night at Gates, the local watering hole, I have never been hugged by so many people in such a short time. I'm still somewhat amazed that I cared and still care so much for these people. It wasn't an "easy" place to grow up in some ways. Old money town, Stepford Wives, and the Preppy Handbook made for a very trippy childhood coctail. I'm not complaining, there are far worse places to grow up, and we all know that. Or we do now. Even at the after party, which went past our 3.30a departure, there was more talking, drinking and reconnecting which further reminded me how far we've all come, gone and yet still stayed the same. This idea was confirmed by the 2.30a game of quarters on the kitchen divider. I could swear I'd been there before.
One of the things that struck me was that after growing up an a town where many follow in their parents corporate footsteps, and family businesses (or live off their inheritances) many of us were brave enough not to. Dana, I'd known her since 3rd grade, gave up her corporate life a few years ago and now owns a restaurant in Jersey; Nicole works in Mental Health at Bellevue - something I never figured her to be doing; Bobbie owns a rafting company in New Mexico; Andrea, like myself, is now a singer/songwriter. My old theatre friend (and quite the good actress) Lauren turned into a financial advisor for WGBH in Boston. Another head turner. There were many happy moments of 'who'd a thunk it' as people caught up while their kids played at their feet at the beautiful fall picnic on Saturday.
I couldn't be more proud of the choices we all made, and the openness with which we faced this weekend. It wasn't easy after growing up in that environment to come back and talk about where we've been and where we're going. Heck, some still don't know, but none were judged for it. The sense I got was that once we took those first steps into Gates or we walked into the picnic a warmth and safety of having known these people for many years took over, the High School insecurities slipped away, and as Dana so aptly put it - no one cares about those stupid things, they are just happy to see you. Thanks to you all for the skateboarding when we were kids, the parties in High School, and for a really cool, fun and rewarding reunion weekend! Yep, I'm so glad I went!
Thanks for tuning in....Until next Monday...CHEERS!!!!
PS. As I wrote this I have discoverd that it is John Mayer's birthday...kind of cool huh?