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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Reunited college buddies find their dance fever now low-grade

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By Tanya Bricking
Advertiser Staff Writer

In the weeks leading up to a reunion with my college buddies, a flurry of messages went out.

We were to send a list of our favorite songs of the '80s to my friend who was putting together a dance mix. We were to decide whether to go camping or stay in a hotel. And we were supposed to remember the origins of all of the inside jokes being bantered around on e-mail.

Somewhere along the way, it dawned on me that I'm getting old.

It wasn't when everybody ixnayed the camping idea. After all, it was 40 degrees and raining in Kentucky on homecoming weekend. I had the built-in excuse that moving to Hawai'i had turned me into a cold wimp. I wouldn't have to accept sole responsibility for being a party pooper.

It wasn't forgetting the origin of obscure inside jokes. I'm too young for Alzheimer's.

It was the dancing.

For me, the highlight of the weekend was when one of my old journalism professors, the one whose classroom used to smell like a pipe back before they banned smoking in campus buildings, scored us the key to the Faculty House for a party.

The Faculty House, a cute log cabin with a fireplace that didn't work, was right next to the college newspaper office where my friends and I used to work. Back when we were in school, we wouldn't have considered having a party there: It was way too nice to have beer spilled on the floor. But now we were entrusted with the key.

That should have been my first clue that I should start feeling old.

But back to the dancing. The Faculty House was big enough for a dance floor. And we were ready.

The girls of the group ditched their uncomfortable shoes and let loose. Sort of. My friend Lee now had a 2-year-old dance partner, her daughter. Someone shooting Polaroids didn't catch a single embarrassing moment. And my friend Lisa didn't do her famous drunken hair-swing dance move. She did, however, send an e-mail a few days later asking whether anyone else was still sore from dancing.

I shouldn't even bring up the guys. Some of them danced. But the ones who did were the same ones who wanted to play football the next day. The rest of them said they were afraid of getting hurt.

The thing that really got me was that the dancing ended at 10:30 p.m. Back in the day, that's just when it would have been getting started.

I'm not sure we had any epiphanies worthy of Big Chill nostalgia, but a bunch of little things skewed my fantasy of recapturing the parties of our youth. Like when I stumbled upon a conversation two of my old pals were having about health-insurance premiums. That was kind of a downer.

The comforting part of it is that we could laugh about becoming whiny thirtysomethings as we reminisced about the way we used to be. While REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It" played without anyone on the dance floor, we still felt fine.

Reach Tanya Bricking at tbricking@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8026.