Sunday, July 14, 2019

YMCA renovation meeting

On July 11, 2019, there was a meeting at the Nuuanu YMCA about plans to renovate the facility. 

I am a long-time user of the Nuuanu YMCA. It is in a convenient location for which I use the cardio and weight equipment. I also LOVE the lanai (Commons Area) with tables where I could sit down, chill & read before & after I do my exercises.  It is the lanai that is the reason why I prefer Nuuanu YMCA over other fitness facilities that don't have anything like it!


However, I do recognize changes needed to be made to the facility. 


The current facility for the Nuuanu YMCA was built in 1963. This was decades before the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) became law.

To enter the facility, you have to walk up some stairs. Yes, there's a wheelchair lift (which goes over the stairways), but it's still inaccessible for people who rely on walkers as well as parents who use strollers.  Ramps would be way more convenient than wheelchair lifts. 

After you enter, if you want to use the locker room, you now have to walk down more stairs. Again, inaccessible for those with wheelchairs, walkers and more.

And then to use the gym or weight-training area, guess what? More stairs.

So most definitely, the facility could use some serious renovations.

But there are reasons to renovate besides ADA issues.

The facility has 2 locker rooms for men (one "Aloha locker room" for males who want to pay more for long-term lockers, and another one for males who want to pay less but will have to clear their lockers before the facility closes for the day) and 1 locker room for women.

So, 2 locker rooms for men, 1 locker room for women. Obviously a sexist facility. This issue troubled me, even though I'm in the privileged gender! 

Yes, I know it's the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) with the word "men" in the name, but let's be real, it's currently being used by people who are not young, not men, and not Christian.

The renovation plans for the locker rooms would be 1 for males, 1 for females, and 1 gender-neutral locker rooms. The gender-neutral locker rooms are intended for situations like parents with opposite-gender children (mother & son, father & daughter), but could possibly be used by gender non-binary people too. There are proposed privacy stalls in those locker rooms. 


There are more plans but the ADA accessibility and the lockers are the main ones. Some parts of the plans haven't been finalized yet. Renovations are scheduled to start in the second half of 2020 and to continue until early 2022. 

====================


The 7/11/2019 meeting started out with the administration talking about the plans to renovate and how they're going to fund it.

Then it was Q&A time, usually the most entertaining part of any meetings.

The first person from the audience to talk was former Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie. He's a long-time user of the Nuuanu YMCA.  He's not an administrator nor an employee of the YMCA.  However, the way he acted shows that he still hasn't adjusted well to life after political office. 

He kept ranting on and on as if there was nobody else in the audience who was waiting for their turn to speak. When others had their turn to talk, Neil Abercrombie was interrupting them. YMCA admin reminded him that they didn't interrupt him and that he should show the same courtesy. He accused them of lecturing him. It's this kind of nonsense that led him to lose to David Ige back in 2014. Even though Ige isn't known to be the best communicator, at least he knows when to shut up and give others the chance to talk!

If you're going to go to community meetings, you should have the common courtesy and act as if you have limited time to say your piece. Other people there have their concerns too, and they're not going to wait hours until you're done.  

You may want to vent about 14 different things related to what the meeting is about, but remember, you're not the only one at the meeting. It's best to just narrow down what you want to express to 1 or 2 major points and leave it at that.  Those 1 or 2 major points could focus on what nobody else has mentioned yet, or to back up or object to a major point already expressed. 

One woman left early because she had to pick up her children.  Others might have to leave early for other obligations. They lost an opportunity to vent their concerns because one fool wants to monopolize the Q&A session. 

As for me, when it was my turn to talk, I praised the plans to make the YMCA ADA accessible, to make locker rooms more gender-equal and then I express my concerns about the plans for the Commons Area (also called "the lanai"). This is the area with tables were people can sit, eat, wait or chill. There were plans to make the Commons indoor with AC. I express that I prefer the Commons Area to have fresh air like it is now.

That's it! That's all I said. I had other ideas in my brain, but because I have this thing called "common courtesy", I limited what I expressed so that others have time to express their concerns.


Other concerns expressed by others include

  • proposals to remove the racquetball courts (obviously a sore point for those who use it)
  • better ventilation for the locker rooms
  • the costs and will it increase membership fees
  • are we able to use other YMCA location when the Nuuanu YMCA is being renovated? (yes)
  • why change anything at all? (the guy who expressed that said that climbing those stairs don't bother him.  He doesn't get that one day he could become disabled and by then, he would be grateful for ADA accessible facilities)
  • "why wasn't the members asked for feedback before you come up with renovation plans?"  (actually, I completed MULTIPLE online surveys offered by the YMCA over the years, plus you could always write them a letter if you don't have email.  All those surveys sure inspired the administration to start renovation plans). 


With any project, you can't satisfy everyone. Who knows, maybe when the renovations are over, I might blog about a flaw in the new facilities.  But I do trust the YMCA to properly handle the renovations especially when it comes to ADA compliance. 

I look forward to it :) 


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Still Resisting Peer Pressure to Drink Alcohol

At a very young age, I decided that I will never drink alcoholic beverages or take those other drugs (ie cocaine, heroin, meth, tobacco, marijuana).

I have stayed true to those promises!

However, no matter how many times I posted on facebook about my non-drinking stance, no matter that I made a YouTube video against drinking, some idiots still insist I join them in getting drunk!

This happened during a reunion the other week! 

This was what I wrote in the reunion blog post
https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2019/06/my-20th-year-reunion.html


I DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages and I take that stance very seriously. However, not every classmate got the memo!

During the event, others did ask me to drink alcohol beverages. I pulled 2 individuals on the side and told in a serious tone DON'T ever ask me about drinking alcoholic beverages ever again. They apologized. Because they sincerely apologized, their names won't be mentioned.

However, Patsaya Mounthongdy is a different story.

Me & Patsaya do have some similarities in that were both eccentric personalities who are the "lifes of the party".

The difference is that Patsaya has not matured since high school. He is an extremely extroverted person who still thinks everything is a joke.   He doesn't believe in personal boundaries. He still doesn't understand that sometimes, he needs to tone down his loud personality. He doesn't understand when to stop talking and when to leave the issue alone. He doesn't understand that as an adult, he needs to develop an introverted, reflective side too!  

After the rooftop was being cleared, I met up with Patsaya and told him that he needs to stop asking me to drink alcoholic beverages and that I take that issue very seriously.  He did apologize, but then a few minutes later, he said out loud that I was ruining the vibe of the night. I told him politely to drop the topic already.  This continued while we were in the elevator. The Other Guy #1 also told Patsaya to drop the issue. Patsaya still wouldn't shut up. Then I yelled at him "SHUT THE ____ UP" and pointed a pepper spray at his face. I pointed it in a self-defense stance but luckily didn't have to spray it! 

The Other Guy #1 continued to diffuse the situation. 

Patsaya then said "this is the last time I'm ever going to a reunion" 

Good! That's what I call "addition by subtraction". The great ambiance of a reunion is added when we subtract jerks (like Patsaya) who make other people nervous to come to the reunion!

--------- 
Yes, I have more to say about Patsaya Mounthongdy

He was already an extremely extroverted person and a class clown in high school. However, I never had a problem with him in high school. 

However, at the reunion, he was obviously drunk. 

Alcohol and an extremely extroverted personality are an extremely bad combination.  

It's bad enough he wanted me to drink alcohol, even worse when I told him to stop asking me to drink, he disrespected me and acted manipulative!


You can't reason with somebody like that! 

I know from past experience with bullies that if I just walked away, he would've followed me and continued to act like a jerk! 

This was why I pulled out my pepper spray and told him to SHUT THE F___ UP!

That's the only style of communication that he takes seriously. 

If he is disrespectful towards me, a man about a few inches taller, imagine how he is to women when he is drunk. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a #metoo story involving that guy!

Being that the #metoo movement exposed a lot of shady characters, it is IMPORTANT that I mentioned the person's real name, which as I mentioned earlier, is Patsaya Mounthongdy.


Those who had earlier run-ins with that guy would be inspired to expose even more about who he is, maybe even press charges or file lawsuits. It would also give a warning to whoever might have to interact with him in the future. 

--------

The incident inspired me to post this on facebook. 


When people ask me to drink alcohol, and I tell them "I don't drink", some are so stupid to actually believe they can convince to me to drink! Who the hell do these people think they are talking to! I take my anti-alcohol stance seriously and anybody who tries to convince me otherwise will be deleted from my friend's list and publicly shamed on my blog posts! This is NOT a joke and you have been warned!



When people ask me to drink alcohol, and I tell them "I don't drink", some are so stupid to actually believe they can convince to me to drink! Who the hell do these people think they are talking to! I take my anti-alcohol stance seriously and anybody who tries to convince me otherwise will be deleted from my friend's list and publicly shamed on my blog posts! This is NOT a joke and you have been warned!




Now, I actually got tons of positive responses to my post!


I'm not going to show the names of people who wrote them, but I will definitely show the messages





Response #1
  • Right on Pablo 👍
    1
  • --------------------------
 Response #2
  •  Yeah Pablo!
    1
 -----------------------------------------
Response #3
  •  Much respect, bro. I stopped drinking, but I'm grateful that no one tries to peer pressure me. Stand your ground and they should respect your decision. People can have fun and be fun without alcohol too. Aloha, my braddah.
    3
     -----------------------------------------

    Response #4
    •  As a non drinker myself, I deal with this too. While my true friends accept and support my choice not to drink, every now and then someone new joins the group and almost seems to make it a challenge to “break me.” You best believe they aren’t invited back to the next get together!
      1
       ---------------------------------
      Response #5

      •  Respect ♥️
        1
         -----------------------------------
        Response #6
        • Booze is poison.
          1
         -------------------------------------------
        Response #7
        • I drink occasionally, Pablo, but definitely agree that you don't need friends who disrespect you. That's what "friends" are doing if you let them know and they're still trying to push you. 🤷
          1
           -------------------------------------------
          Response # 8
          • I got respect on your decision and yes no one should force you to it.

          ======================


          A few days later, I saw this wonderful meme!  




          SUMMER DRINKING TIP: When someone says they're not drinking/refusing the alcoholic beverage you're offering DO NOT ASK WHY. Just offer a non-alcoholic option instead and move on cuz whatever the reason it it's always none of your business



          SUMMER DRINKING TIP: When someone says they're not drinking/refusing the alcoholic beverage you're offering DO NOT ASK WHY.
          Just offer a non-alcoholic option instead and move on cuz whatever the reason it it's always none of your business



          Or better yet, people should STOP offering an alcoholic beverage!

          If someone wants a beer, they could go get it themselves. 

          =======


          Now, let's go over some recent articles about the negative sides of drinking alcoholic beverages. 


          This one on the serious health side effects of getting drunk.



          Sirin Kale, “Binge-Drink Britain: How One Weekend Bender Can Ruin Your Life,” Guardian, May 30, 2018, 
          https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/30/one-weekend-bender-can-ruin-your-life-pancreatitis


          “You can get pancreatitis after a single binge,” says Dr Sarah Jarvis of the campaign group Drinkaware, although she explains it’s more common to develop it after repeated binges.

          The pancreas, a small organ behind the stomach, plays an essential role in digestion. Pancreatitis occurs when it becomes inflamed, usually as a result of too much alcohol. Individual binges can lead to flare-ups of acute pancreatitis, from which the patient can recover after a few weeks. But continued drinking can turn this into chronic pancreatitis, meaning that the pancreas can be permanently damaged, and may fail entirely. Between 70% and 80% of cases of chronic pancreatitis are caused by alcohol abuse, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

          After the sudden death of the Swedish DJ Avicii, pancreatitis is becoming better known. He had been afflicted by the condition after abusing alcohol during exhausting world tours and, after his death, his family issued a statement saying “he could not go on any longer”. His death has forced us to pay attention to a condition we would perhaps rather ignore.

          skipped paragraphs

           “My friends are drunk all the time and they’ll be in the club buying me drinks,” Lawrence says. “They don’t realise the severity of my illness because they don’t have to live with it.” Charles gets angry when she sees people being peer-pressured. “People will taunt someone who isn’t drinking,” she says. “It’s like: you’re a weirdo if you don’t drink.” 


          This is why I take peer pressure on this issue VERY SERIOUSLY!  

          This peer pressure isn't light-hearted fun, this peer pressure has VERY DANGEROUS CONSEQUENCES!

          That's why I tell people to don't ever peer pressure on this issue ever again. 

          ----

          another article from The Guardian, this one by Adrian Chiles, a former alcoholic who is cutting back on his alcohol consumption.

          Adrian Chiles, “What Happened Next? ‘Drinking for the sake of drinking. It’s Madness’: How Adrian Chiles Cut Back On Booze,” Guardian, December 13, 2018, 
          https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/dec/13/what-happened-next-drinking-for-the-sake-of-drinking-its-madness-how-adrian-chiles-cut-back-on-booze

          I have many hunches about things, which usually turn out to be wrong. But this year my hunch turned out to be right – that almost all coverage of alcohol issues failed to get to the big problem. Always the focus was on the extreme cases, the Pernod-in-the-morning type drinkers, as my friend Frank Skinner referred to himself. So the rest of us would look at the classic “alcoholic” waking up in a shop doorway or emergency ward and say to ourselves: “Oh, that’s not me, therefore I have no problem, I am fine.” Well, I don’t think we are fine. It turns out that there are many drinkers like me, quietly putting it away without, superficially, doing any great harm, when, actually, we could do ourselves some real good by drinking significantly less.
          One strand of twisted thinking I often hear is: “So what if I die a bit younger? Who wants to live for ever anyway?” As one doctor put it to me, it’s not a choice between living a good, long life or a good, slightly shorter life; it’s about making your declining years as bearable as possible. And drinking too much before you get there isn’t going to help you.



          -----

          Now, people are putting on events that provide alternatives to getting drunk

          This article starts off about an alcohol-free bar in St. Louis, Missouri, a city known to be the headquarters of a large beer company. 


          https://abcnews.go.com/Health/alcohol-heavy-culture-people-booze-free-spaces/story
          Pop’s Blue Moon bar, a fixture of this beer-loving city since 1908, has joined an emerging national trend: alcohol-free spaces offering social connections without peer pressure to drink, hangovers or DUIs. From boozeless bars to substance-free zones at concerts marked by yellow balloons, sober spots are popping up across the nation in reaction to America’s alcohol-soaked culture, promising a healthy alternative for people in recovery and those who simply want to drink less.
          “We evolved as social creatures. This is a good trend if you want the experience of companionship and social culture but don’t want the negatives,” said William Stoops, a University of Kentucky professor who studies drug and alcohol addiction. “It can help people make better choices.”

          skipped paragraphs, to an alcohol-free bar in Austin, Texas

          Chris Marshall, who founded Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, in 2015, got sober in 2007 and was working as a counselor when a client shared how difficult it was to navigate the social world without alcohol. The client’s relapse and subsequent death was his call to action.


          skipped paragraphs, this one on  how alcohol-free events are helping the LGBT community which once found refuge only in bars.

          In Washington, D.C., members of a growing sober LGBTQ community organize dry reading groups and rafting trips and alcohol-free nights out instead of hitting gay bars. Tom Hill, a vice president at the National Council for Behavioral Health, who is gay and in recovery, said those activities create a “sense of socialization and camaraderie to replace what they had.”

          Nationally, sober raves such as Daybreaker morning dance parties have caught on, fueled only by dancing.
           skipped paragraphs, now back to Saint Louis

          At Pop’s Blue Moon, Jaclynn Rowell, who reads tarot cards for customers, said the health benefits of no-booze nights are a big draw. And many are happy to avoid awkward questions about religion, pregnancy and sobriety that can arise at regular bars when someone asks why they’re not drinking.

          Stephanie Keil, 39, spent two hours with friends there on a recent Saturday night and said she’d love to see more boozeless bars.

          and the article also mentioned those side effects to an alcohol-filled life


          Research links excessive alcohol use to fatty liver, cirrhosis and cancers of the breast, liver, colon, mouth and throat as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, dementia, anxiety and depression. Nearly half of murders involve alcohol, according to studies. Drinking kills about 88,000 people annually, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Such diseases and social ills cost the nation an estimated $249 billion a year. 


          So yes, I made the right decision when I was a kid to never drink alcoholic beverages. I am proud that I have kept my promise to myself.

          And I hope you can join me in leading an alcohol-free life! 
          BONUS:

          My YouTube video from 2014
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1wRPNB3N4I




          "I don't need alcohol (and neither do you)"


          Monday, July 08, 2019

          Emotional Sunday

          (note: this post is not about yesterday, but about the previous Sunday).

          So much emotions in the last few weeks.

          Last month marks 2 decades since graduating high school.

          There was nostalgic feeling about the fun times, and of course, we had a 20th year reunion to look forward (which I wrote about it at
          https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2019/06/my-20th-year-reunion.html )

          However, there were other feelings too!

          The high school years were also years in which I have become distanced from my parents, mostly due to their decision to buy a house in the other side of the island a few months before high school started. 

          My grandmother stayed in the same community I grew up, and I used her address in order to attend the same high school as my friends.  I would've preferred to stay in my grandma's place 24-7-365, but it wasn't to be

          However, I had to spend time commuting between my parent's home in the other side of the island to my high school. The stress of the commute, plus people knowing that I wasn't a full-time resident of my grandmother's address (and therefore not eligible to remain in the high school of my peers) took a toll!

          I wanted my parents to abandon their home on the other side of the island and return to live in my high school district. Little did I know, my parents signed a 30-year mortgage, a contract that locked them into one location for that long! 

          Add to that, most relatives defended my parent's decision. Cause a strain on family relations? That's an understatement.  It caused me to have a severe high level of hatred towards most of my family!  It inspired a lot of suicidal & homicidal thoughts in my mind!

          Add to that, my father was an alcohol drinker and could be very cruel when drunk, and he was set in his ways.

          I used to look up to him as a child,  used to have a lot of loving memories with him during my childhood years, but his decision to move house during my adolescence, plus his alcoholic ways caused a major rift! 

          In my senior year, my mother finally listened to my concerns instead of just brushing it off as "just another teenage complaint". Communicating my grievances to my father? He just wasn't ready to listen. So all my communication was with my mother.  It was only after I lost control of my emotions when communicating with my mother and punched a few pillows did my mother finally decided to ask my grandmother to stay in her home 24-7-365.  This was when 4th quarter of my senior already started. That's 15 out of 16 quarters done! That's as if a fire already burned 15 floors and approached the final 16th floor! 

          So yeah, I finally moved to my grandmother's home (which I requested 1st quarter, but only got when 15/16 quarters already done). Yay, I got what I wanted ........... when it was pretty much too little too late.

          Having 15/16 quarters burned through isn't something that is easy to get over! That's 15/16 quarters that are filled with missed opportunities due to commuting and the fear of people finding that I wasn't a full-time resident of the school district.  If it was only 3 quarters that was burned, it wouldn't be so major. But it was 15 out of 16 quarters burned! I CAN'T GET THAT TIME BACK! You can't make up for 15 quarters within just one quarter! 

          These missed opportunities (school activities, more time to expand my social circle) caused a resentment in me that could never die!

          College and career success could NEVER fill the emotional hole caused by having those 15 out of 16 quarters of high school burned! 

          I've been to multiple psychologists/therapists/etc. Couldn't stick to one due to changing health insurance or that the ones I used while in college were only available if I was attending college.

          Back in 2014, my parents and I met with yet another psychologist. I was lucky in that I was a graduate student at UH-Manoa at the time, so I was eligible for free services.  I was able to discuss a lot of grievances with my parents in front of a trained professional. It did wonders. My father was much less defensive then than he was when growing up. However, when his next Mexico trip came up, he said this therapy session was his last one.  He might've been burned out by all those sessions. 

          Fast forward 5 years to 2019. I appreciated my parent's honesty in the 2014 sessions but there were still things I wanted to clear up! Plus, being that 2019 was the 2-decade anniversary since high school, all the anger about the missed opportunities from the 15/16 quarters burned came right back!

          I spent months writing a letter of my grievances that I didn't have time to share in the 2014 sessions. I kept delaying sending ... wait until after Mother's Day, wait until after Father's Day, wait until after the 20th year reunion.........

          ..... actually, I mailed that letter to my parents the week leading up to the 20th-year Reunion.  

          Sending that letter was a major relief in that I let out all my emotions.

          Now I had to wait for a response. 

          That came the Sunday (the day after the reunion).

          The reunion came with mixed emotions. I was happy to see a lot of people, however, after the event, I had a conflict with a drunk who hasn't grown up since high school. Not just any conflict, but one in which I told him to "SHUT THE ----- UP" while holding a pepper spray in his direction! 
          (read part 3 of https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2019/06/my-20th-year-reunion.html)

          My dad actually scheduled breakfast for that Sunday, the day after the reunion. The thing was, when my father scheduled that breakfast, he called a few days earlier when he was on another island. When he called, he was unaware that I sent that letter to my parents.  But now he was aware!

          So on that Sunday, me & dad discussed a lot of things, mostly about our misunderstandings about each other. He said he didn't know some of the things I was going through and I admit I could've explained it better back then. He talked about his situation, I talked about mines. This was the first time I ever saw my father cried!  He described how he tried to be a devoted father, but also he made some mistakes. He then told me that back when I was a teenager, he didn't understand my grievances, but now he understood.  I broke down too, saying that I used to look up to him as a child, but that many things have gotten in the way over the years! We then hugged, as my father was ready to go home!

          I still get emotional thinking about all this! It will take time to process it all! 



          Sunday, June 30, 2019

          My 20th year reunion

          This past Saturday (June 29, 2019),  the McKinley High School c/o 1999 had their 20th-year reunion at Dave & Buster's rooftop! 

          Yes, it has been 2 decades since high school! 


          1) Background

          The 10th year reunion back in 2009 had a really turnout.
          https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-10-year-high-school-reunion.html

          The 15th year reunion back in 2014 had a smaller turnout but we did have some people there that wasn't there for the 10th! 

          Since nobody wanted to take the lead for that one, I did most of the organizing, even though I had never organized a major event before. I think that year, many classmates had newborn kids so they were too pre-occupied for the reunion. I did have some assistance leading up towards that reunion, and we had a good time even with the smaller turnout! 
          https://pablowegesend.blogspot.com/2014/08/my-15-year-high-school-reunion.html


          Of course, any event could be improved on, but it was annoying when one person claimed it wasn't "well put together" even though she did nothing to help. But that's life, those who contribute the least complain the most!

          Some did have legit concerns that they didn't find out of that reunion until it was too late for them to readjust their schedules.

          So last year, I did ask for ideas of where & when to have the reunion.  Some people wanted Las Vegas, but most wanted it here in Honolulu. We also agreed on having it in late June.

          This time, someone else took the lead with organizing the reunion (less stress for me, yay), but I still participated in sharing ideas (even more yay!).   

          Someone mentioned having the reunion at the school and I contacted the school. We did exchange information and I shared it on facebook. However, I did recognize that there was a scheduling conflict being that the campus was being used by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii (I'm a proud member) that weekend that we wanted to have the reunion. 

          The main organizer of this reunion did contact the other venues and shared with us on Facebook about the different options. We decided on Dave & Buster's.

          A few weeks before the reunion, I did meet with the main organizers and a few assistants on the logistics. 

          Being that the 10th reunion had a newsletter-style program (named The Pinion, which was the school's newsletter) where people shared their post-high school updates, plus ads & trivia, I felt we should do the same for the 20th! I also took the lead in compiling our classmate's data, solicit ads from classmates with businesses & making a page with graphics related to 1999 (ie who was in political office, who won the Super Bowl, popular musicians, etc).

          Being that I did flyers & brochures before but not newsletters, there was a learning curve, but I loved the challenge of compiling data and organizing into something eye-catching for the readers.






          As for the data I compiled about classmate's post-high school, it was in The Pinion, but I chose not to share it here on the blog post to protect the privacy of classmates who only wanted to share their info with other classmates. 



          2) The Reunion Night

          Actually, the sun was still out when we arrived to set the area up for the reunion! 

          We were the organizers of the reunion

          Because I was the tallest in that group, I was asked to help with putting the banner. Problem was that I'm not great at tying ropes!  Luckily, a staff member helped!


          Then people started walking in. 

          Some who I have seen from previous reunions, others for whom it was their 1st reunion! 

          We had about 7 who were Lanakila Elementary School classmates, so had our own photo together!  It was wonderful to see those I knew as little kids now full-grown adults approaching middle age. 


          We were Lanakila Elementary classmates

          One of those elementary school classmates is now there as a teacher. Her life came full-circle! 

          Another elementary classmate came with his wife and daughter. The daughter was the star of the night! 

          I was able to talk with most of the classmates who came as we shared information, mostly about the jobs we have and whatever common interests we shared.

          Our classmate's jobs include teacher, law enforcement officer,  nurse, National Guard, claims investigator, call center supervisor, accountant, salon owner, cafe manager, and chef.


          There was also someone who said he was at the school for  2 years before he moved to California. I don't remember him at all. But I was glad to finally meet him. 


          I was trying to get my closest friends to show up. 

          The one classmate who I hung out most in our adult lives is currently ill with pinched nerve, vertigo & diabetes.  He says he was in too much pain to come. As I told the news of his condition, many classmates felt sad about his situation. The news hit really hard to those who knew him from elementary. 

          But the one friend that I hung out with the most during our high schools did show up! We did become distanced during our adult years, we didn't talk for years, though I do send him emails every so often. He came for the 10th, didn't come for the 15th, and both times he didn't announce his decision ahead of time and  he sure didn't announce it for this one either. But he did come for the 20th-year reunion, and I was so happy to see him there! 



          --------
          As the night went on, there were prizes given out (I got a gift card for Dave & Buster's), a pair of high school sweethearts won the grand prize: tickets to the Backstreet Boys concert later this year. 

          There was the DJ playing music (mostly stuff from when we were in high school) throughout the event, but only until circa 8:30pm I went on the dance floor, then a few others joined in!

          The event officially ended at 9pm. Some people left around that time, others stuck around.  I was there until we had to clear the rooftop.

          3) The Post-Event Incident

          I DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages and I take that stance very seriously. However, not every classmate got the memo!

          During the event, others did ask me to drink alcohol beverages. I pulled 2 individuals on the side and told in a serious tone DON'T ever ask me about drinking alcoholic beverages ever again. They apologized. Because they sincerely apologized, their names won't be mentioned.

          However, Patsaya Mounthongdy is a different story.

          Me & Patsaya do have some similarities in that were both eccentric personalities who are the "lifes of the party".

          The difference is that Patsaya has not matured since high school. He is an extremely extroverted person who still thinks everything is a joke.   He doesn't believe in personal boundaries. He still doesn't understand that sometimes, he needs to tone down his loud personality. He doesn't understand when to stop talking and when to leave the issue alone. He doesn't understand that as an adult, he needs to develop an introverted, reflective side too!  

          As the rooftop was being cleared, I met up with Patsaya and told him that he needs to stop asking me to drink alcoholic beverages and that I take that issue very seriously.  He did apologize, but then a few minutes later, he said out loud that I was ruining the vibe of the night. I told him politely to drop the topic already.  This continued while we were in the elevator. The Other Guy #1 also told Patsaya to drop the issue. Patsaya still wouldn't shut up. Then I yelled at him "SHUT THE ____ UP" and pointed a pepper spray at his face. I pointed it in a self-defense stance but luckily didn't have to spray it! 

          The Other Guy #1 continued to diffuse the situation. 

          Patsaya then said "this is the last time I'm ever going to a reunion" 

          Good! That's what I call "addition by subtraction". The great ambiance of a reunion is added when we subtract jerks (like Patsaya) who make other people nervous to come to the reunion!

          After we left the elevator, and after Patsaya left the building, I talked to Other Guy #2, and said to him "I'm sorry you had to witness all of that". He expressed disapproval of the way Patsaya has been acting!

          The person I hung out the most during high school (RS) did talk to Patsaya after we separated!  My best guess is that RS was trying to diffuse the situation by helping Patsaya understand how I am as a person. 

          I did meet up with RS later that night. We did talk about the Patsaya situation, but after that, we did talk about how everything else about the reunion was positive. And we talked about our high school memories and the good times.

          ======

          Patsaya thinks the best way to have a good time is to get drunk, be loud & obnoxious. When people object to his obnoxiousness, he gaslights people by claiming that he's only joking and that you're ruining the vibe.

          Whereas for me, I think the best way to have a good time is to avoid alcohol, avoid any other mind-altering drugs, respect people's boundaries, and still enjoy the music & the ambiance of the event!

          Of all my classmates, I was the star of the dance floor! I did that without alcohol, without caffeine, and without any mind-altering drugs! All you need is the music!

          People who use alcohol to be the "life of the party" is like Barry Bonds (and other athletes) using steroids. That is cheating, and those substances also have lifelong consequences that affect you long after the party or the game is over. Mature adults understand that! 

          People talk about putting an asterisk (*) around Barry Bond's homerun records. I say we put an asterisk (*) around mentions of Patsaya being a "life of the party".

          I'm the life of the party without an asterisk (*).

          Be more like me!