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Column: Reuniting with unfamiliar people creates dilemma


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My wife and I enjoy doing many things together. But when our entertainment preferences are not in sync, we can communicate openly with each other.

That makes for a perfect union. But it may make for a lousy reunion. Let me explain.

The Wolfsie family is headed to Michigan, where Mary Ellen will enjoy the 45th anniversary of her high school graduation. Up until about a month ago, we were both talking about the event but hiding how we felt about the arrangements. I’ve put in parentheses what we were really thinking.

“Mary Ellen, your reunion is getting close. Sounds like fun.” (Sounds like fun for you. This is about the last thing in the world I want to do.)

“Yes, Dick I am looking forward to the evening. I hope you’ll enjoy it.” (Please drop me off at the front door and go find something else to do.)

“It will be great to see your classmates, Mary Ellen.” (This will be unbearable, viewing photos of the grandchildren of people I don’t know.)

“I’ll be proud to say you are my husband.” (I really do hope you’ll drop me off at the front door and find something else to do.)

“I can’t wait to hear all the stories about when you were a teenager.” (I really need to find a bar nearby with a big-screen TV.)

“Yes, I think you’ll get a kick out of looking through the yearbook.” (Maybe you can find a bar with a big-screen TV.)

Finally, last week, we started getting honest with each other. While it was true that I was dreading this event, I was a bit hurt that I wasn’t really wanted.

“OK, let me try to make you understand this, Dick,” said my wife. “If you go with me and simply hang around, no one will know you, you won’t know where to put yourself, and people will wonder why you look so uncomfortable.”

“No, that’s how I felt at my 45th reunion. Look, I attended your last college reunion, and you told me that friends were always asking about me.”

“Yes, they asked me if I knew who that guy was, asleep in the corner.”

Mary Ellen then compromised, suggesting I make a brief appearance, then excuse myself and go back to the hotel, but I reminded her that once when I did this very thing at another get-together, she was annoyed. I guess that was no way to behave at my own engagement party.

She also mentioned that at a previous reunion I said things she didn’t find funny: “Like when you saw an old flame of mine having a few too many cocktails. He told you jokingly that he had been drinking ever since we broke up. And you said: ‘Wow, still celebrating after all these years?’”

Right now, I plan to make a brief appearance, then get in the car and find that bar with a big-screen TV. I won’t know anybody in the place, and people will ignore me, so I’ll just curl up in a booth and take a nap.

Same as going to the reunion.

Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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