"Oh no, you didn't!"
"Yes, I did."
All eyes at my end of the table were on me. I was enjoying this rare time in the spotlight. My I-type personality doesn't afford me many times like these, I'm usually being a bumbling klutzy blond. My dining companions were roaring with laughter.
Let me back up a bit. We were talking about pets and I was asked if I had any.
"Not any with legs." Laughter. "I have two tanks of fish now; we had birds and hamsters, but they are all dead now."
Maybe I should back up a little bit more.
I was in the middle of a 15-year reunion luncheon, and we were swapping stories of what we'd been doing for the past decade and a half.
It was the reunion of the class of PSDP-32. PSDP was the Professional Skills Development Program, affectionately pronounced as "pzdip" for new professional hires at my agency (as opposed to clerical hires). The program lasted six weeks, four in a classroom setting at HQ and two weeks out in the field putting our new-found knowledge into practice. The course was designed to learn about and demonstrate all aspects of the agency's missions.
Even though I'm an introvert, I like some attention. When Kevin turned 15 last month I remembered being pregnant with him while I was this class, so why not have a 15-year reunion? I'll plan it, everyone will love it.
What was the world like 15 years ago? I got a class listing from the only instructor remaining here at the agency. It was a xerox of a early word processing machine-printed list with hand written corrections. Email hadn't been invented yet. We've since moved into a new building so none of the office addresses were correct, nor were the phone numbers, we got a new phone system and new numbers about 5 years ago. Thanks to our intranet, I found most of the class of 25 and sent out invitations. Thank goodness we have email now.
Since I only spent six weeks with these people, this reunion was unlike a high school reunion where you might have spent up to thirteen years with your classmates and can remember a whole range of things about those people, like the hideous outfit she wore on picture day, this reunion was like remembering a sidestep in your life.
Ten members of our class showed up at the restaurant, I had a hard time recognizing a lot of my classmates but my memory was jogged sufficiently. The then-young, new hires are now older, softer and grayer. A glitch in the system left out the converted interns so I'd been at the job for 8 years, which was unusual in the class demographic. As the lunch moved along, stories went from remembering our field experience: driving around on the narrow mountain roads near Charlottesville and having the designated driver making three trips bring people back from the bar one night because the rest of revelers were too drunk to get back on their own and how some almost got kicked out of the hotel because of something to do with swimming and a closed pool, (being older and pregnant "saved" me from a lot of these antics) to our current jobs, lives, kids. And pets.
"Do you have any pets?"
"Not any with legs. I have two tanks of fish now; we had birds and hamsters, but they are all dead now."
"Our first hamster, Charlie, was Fern's dwarf Siberian hamster. Kevin, at that time, well he still doesn't, ask questions to know or want things, like 'What's for dinner?' or 'Can I have a Wii for Christmas?' but to state what he's just done. One day he came in and asked us 'Why did you put Charlie in the plane in the pool?' I bee-lined it out to the wading pool and pulled out the plane and the wet limp hamster, dried him off and cuddled him up in a towel, and gave him mouth-to-mouth."
"You did mouth-to-mouth to a hamster?!"
"Yes, and he lived for about another week after that."
"Oh no, you didn't!"
"Yes, I did."
"I'm going to remind you of that in another 15 years."
3 weeks ago