I went to a ten year reunion at my old firm’s glossy new premises on Tuesday evening, celebrating the work we did as the legal team for the 2012 London Olympics. It was grand to see some old faces, embarrassing to fail to remember the names that went with them and chastening to watch some of the videos made between 2009 and 2012 covering the various stages of development and the progress and then comparing the saggy, graying people around me with their enthusiastic younger selves.
For my part I was clean shaven, fatter and more pompous, back then, being as I was a ‘lawyer of some repute’ at the time and needing to convince myself that that label had any truth to it.
Attending such events always fills me with trepidation. It’s not just the certainty I will meet someone with whom I worked closely for months/ years and totally forget who they are but the possibility that I will actually know no one, or I will meet that person who was boring then and is if anything more boring now and be stuck with them.
And there are the canapés. They are always either: a, over complicated; b, impossible to eat while holding a glass; c, unexpectedly disgusting and this is the time you didn’t take the too small paper napkin into which you might have spat the offending nibble; d, so chewy that you inevitably take a bite just as you are asked ‘so what are you doing now?’ And by the time you can answer they’ve drifted away to find someone who is a better masticator; or e, filled with a highly viscous tomato based sauce that, one bite in and you look like you’ve taken one for the team or, worse still you’ve be-splattered your companion with something resembling gazpacho gore.
Tuesday had the usual raft of strangers who turned out not to be; old comrades in arms who are now so successful that you inevitably die a little inside; people who are unexpectedly unable to hold their drink; sad people who want to go back to find something now lost; happy people who’d love another spin on the carousel; and people who you never met at the time, even though you were in the same group of twenty five for three years and now that you have, you realise what fun they would have been to know back then
I left very nearly at the end, having dug out my old Games Maker’s uniform which has been in a crate in the loft since 2012 and worn it with pride. No one else did. I suppose I’m not surprised; not many people are as prepared to make a total tit of themselves as I am.
We were asked to bring along memorabilia from our days helping set up and run those Games. Some had pens and those foam hand thingies with pointy fingers. One had a hat.
I had these…
Yep, bullet cases. One of my volunteering roles was at the shooting in Woolwich. I understand zip about shooting but then I didn’t get to chose. On this particular day, I’m in charge of spectator management inside the firing range, moving between the spectators and the competitors to ensure no one jumps over a barrier and some such. My position is next to a Bulgarian. Who, blow me, wins the gold. His supporters do a rather low key cheer and he turns and smiles and tosses some bullet cases at them as souvenirs. And gives me these. Now I can’t prove their provenance but rest assured this are gold medal cases. Worth a fortune…
Everyone agreed that I’d not changed. Still capable of misreading the room and dressing like a peacock and still the one most likely to have the weirdest story.
Like the time the lift plummeted three floors in the Orbit, the peculiar squashed trombone thing that Boris as mayor insisted was installed in the park, and which is now some sort of overblown slide. I was with two Sri Lankan cleaners who didn’t seem to react as we fell, while I fought to prevent my sphincter from trying to hide somewhere near the ceiling.
Maybe it’s me…