I'm having lunch with a classmate I haven't seen in fifty years. This adventure all started when he went to our high school reunion website -- since we're celebrating our fiftieth this fall. Once there he scrolled through the myriad before and after photos and saw my way-more-attractive-than-I-look-in-real-life picture [see the sidebar]. So he contacted me via email for lunch. Meanwhile, I noticed that he hasn't posted a profile.
Turns out we live in the same town. Who knew? I googled him and discovered he's been a race car driver and travels the world extensively. When he mentioned buying me lunch he said something about it could be the date we never had, but should have.
**** WARNING SIRENS **** WARNING SIRENS **** WARNING SIRENS ****
So I said I'd meet him. Gotta go.
NOW, IF YOU WOULD, PLEASE IMAGINE THE PASSAGE OF TIME. . .
Here it is Saturday, noonish. Twenty-four hours later. I'm finally home. . .kidding. But we did have a nice, long, catch-up-with-the-last-five-decades kind of lunch. At a restaurant I've often enjoyed for Sunday brunch. I had the vegetarian tortilla soup and the Asian chicken salad with banana cream pie for dessert. Washed down with iced tea and extra lemon. He had the soup, but opted for a white fish entree, which arrived looking quite tasty, for a fish I consider the flavor equivalent of Wonderbread. He paired it with the house Shiraz, if I remember correctly. Our table was in the quieter side room with a view of the larger dining area, looking out at the long wall of windows that bring in a flood of daylight, so much so there's no need for artificial light when the sun is out. The waiter was very engaging, reciting the assortment of daily specials with speed and agility. My chair was wood. The menus were printed. The flatware was a bit disappointing, however, lightweight and not very substantial.
So hurry up and get to the good stuff!!
All righty then. My former classmate looks like his old self, only fifty years older. That is quite an accomplishment, considering what age can do to a person. One is always at risk of not being recognizable after so much time, but the schoolboy was still there. The schoolboy still lives in his lifestyle, too. Here's a photo of a color copy he made for me showing what he was doing in SoCal just four months ago. Not too shabby for an old fart. [By the way, I was too lazy to get up and scan it, so I just reached into my purse and got out my flip cam. Then I did a screen grab from the video, if you're wondering.]
While he didn't seem possessed of narcissistic traits as we talked, at some point he announced that he is a megalomaniac. His enthusiasm for it almost made me want to congratulate him. In fact, I half expected him to produce a certificate. Of course, he's not a megalo on the grand scale, a la Hitler, Stalin, Rove or Cheney, but enough so that he has a need to feed his ego regularly. Fortunately, unlike most of the rest of us, he can do it with megadoses of strokes from the rich and famous. Or just ordinary, very important people.
In his case, that means the rarified world of world class musicians and the like. And not the superficial "Hello, darling, kiss, kiss, let's do lunch" shit you hear from hangers on. Nope. These people are his friends. They call. They write. They stay at his house.
I was actually impressed by his candor -- which seemed kind of confessional, rather than any sort of name dropping bragadoccio. Rare is the man who embraces his true egomania with such gusto. And has good stories to go with it.
As a senior citizen with considerable clout, albeit fairly low key, he thoroughly enjoys an exalted position in the non profit and equity worlds as a mover and shaker. Think Donald Trump without the combover and the flashy lifestyle. He also calls himself a right-wing, reactionary, sexist, racist, put-your-conservative-pejorative-spin-here. But don't we all aspire to be successful white men at some point in our lives?
Mrs. Linklater, as those who follow her bloggeries already know, may have occasionally hob-knobbed with the nearly rich and semi-famous during her long and occasionally prosperous life, but, for lack of financing, she remains chained to her humble, Democratic precinct roots, despite every effort to undo the shackles. Realistically, the most she could ever hope to be is a libertarian, as much as anyone can be fiscally conservative but socially liberal, a philosophical combo plate that has oxymoron written all over it.
Meanwhile, ever the considerate host, my classmate bought lunch, and suggested we could do this again, a pleasant thought, considering how good the food and conversation were. But first, there's his trip to London and several other foreign cities for work. And let's not forget my extensive travels throughout Chicago and its suburbs for my family dogsitting and ad jobs. Yes, we'll have some great stories to share for next time.