3 - Of New Games, Old Players, and Sinking Ships

My high school class graduated wearing the traditional cap-and-gown get up. I always thought it was funny that the shapeless robes were called gowns. Wearing a "gown" brings something entirely different to mind than reality of those weird fabric blobs of maroon paired with black squares on our heads.

I get the ancient symbolism, the tradition, la la la.

But standing in the indistinguishable crowd next to my best friend, I billowed out the skirts of my enormous "gown", and said, "You know...a girl could hide a lot of candy in here."

Kel grinned at me. "Contraband!"

And a plan was hatched. We would wear our graduation gowns tonight to the movie theater. We would hide as much candy as we could possibly carry beneath our robes and sneak it all in.

Titanic was riveting. And we felt as rebellious as Jack crossing that social class line. The ticket guy had even said to us as he ripped our stubs, "You guys aren't hiding anything under those robes are you?"

"What do you mean?"
"We're just a couple of nerds who thought it would be funny to wear our robes to the movie theater."
"Look at these faces. Screaming innocence at you!"
"Why, you want some?"

And, still buzzing over the epic grandiosity that was our first viewing of Titanic—King of the World and all—we forgot to respectfully hide our loot upon departure. As we passed the ticket guy again with our bags of bulk peachy-gummy-ohs and gummy frogs and Redvines and peanut butter M&M's, the ticket guy shot an accusing finger at us and said, "Ah-HAH! I knew it! You said you weren't hiding anything under those robes! You LIARS!"

I moved my filled hands guiltily behind my back and felt genuinely bad until I saw his face. His eyes were wild with discovery and he was grinning from ear to ear. So we shrugged our guilty shoulders and held out our wrists for cuffs.

"What can I say? We've graduated!" (Which would be the hilarious excuse for everything until it got old a few days later)
"We are terrible. Terrible people!"
"Yeah, sorry. You want some?"

And to be honest, I don't remember if he took any or not.

But as we left that theater, I remember feeling a little something awaken inside me.

We had in fact graduated.
The titanic had in fact sunk.
We had brought contraband candy into the theater, in the face of all it's warnings. We'd been sort of caught, and we sort of felt bad, but we were also sort of laughing about it.

It was a strange kind of induction to post High School life. A harmless way for the universe to tell us that hey - Life is more real, now. Crazy stuff does happen. Stuff sinks! Even really big, absolutely certain stuff can still sink. And it's okay to question the rules. And yeah, for most people, the friends they run with in High School aren't the same friends they run with in their, say, thirties. But sometimes? People manage to change together instead of change apart, and the friend who sneaks illegal gummy candy into the movie theater when you're 18 is the same friend who comes and hangs out with your sleeping kids at 10:00pm on a Monday night so that you can sneak off on a very overdue date to catch a show with your man.

Sometimes the first person you call when you're 18 is still the first person you call when you're 36.

Some stuff doesn't sink.

(And yes, I totally snuck my healthy popcorn in to the theater. OLD HABITS, YO!)


Mikelle said...

And that's when it all went downhill... One day you're sneaking candy into the movies and the next you're racing around town in your car in the middle of a rainstorm with your windows down or driving out to Blackfoot, Idaho in the middle of the night to tour a haunted school. I'm starting to think we might have been bad influences on each other. ;-) Either that or just crazy adventurers.