My 20 year high school reunion is right around the corner which got me thinking about my 10 year reunion and reunions in general. What follows are a few observations in no particular order of importance.
1) Motivation to attend: This one’s pretty simple. People go to these things for one of two reasons: a) they want to flaunt how good-looking and successful they’ve turned out, or b) they want to see how bad-looking and unsuccessful their classmates turned out. I'm going for both.
2) Spouses’ experiences at the event: My wife attended my 10 year reunion and will never attend another of my reunions ever again. She spent the entire night sitting around watching me and my classmates “peacocking” (her words not mine), reminiscing about memories from high school, and exaggerating (lying) about their accomplishments ever since. I’d say her level of entertainment at the event fell somewhere between a mammogram and a root canal. Sorry, babe.
3) Memories of classmates: Either the alcohol has done more damage to my brain than I thought, or I just didn’t pay attention to the people I went to high school with. You know the awkward exchanges I’m referring to. Actual exchange: “Hey, you. Of course I remember you. We were in that class together and hung out together at that thing…” Simultaneous exchange taking place in your head: “Look it’s not you, it’s me. Scratch that, it’s you. It’s not that I’m not trying to remember you, it’s just that you’re obviously not that memorable.”
4) The Facebook effect: I’m a little concerned about the impact Facebook will have on my interactions with people. Seeing as how I’ve already Facebook stalked everyone prior to the event, what the hell am I going to talk to people about? I already know their marital status, if they have kids (and if so what those kids look like), what they do for a living, their political philosophy, their religious orientation, shit I probably even know what they had for breakfast (the over-posters anyway). So what’s left to converse about? Thank God for alcohol.
5) The epiphany moment: It didn’t hit me until about half-way through my 10 year reunion. That epiphany moment when you look back on high school and everything that happened during those four years, and realize that after you graduated none of that shit mattered. You could have been homecoming king, the prom queen, captain of the football team, head cheerleader, most likely to succeed, or just some nerd no one remembers. The fact is once you moved on and left the confines of that institution behind, the clock was reset and everyone got a clean slate. What you did with it from there had absolutely nothing to do with the person you were in high school. For a select few this was actually a bad thing but for everyone else, amen.
6) Nostalgia feels good: As much as you got dumped on, or picked on, or looked like a 12-year-old boy throughout your senior year (and well into college in my case), there’s something about the past that feels undeniably good. Whenever I drive down the I-5 freeway from OC to San Diego and hit the county line, I feel an intangible comfort wash over me (even though San Diego’s no longer my home). It’s hard to explain but I got a similar feeling walking into my 10 year reunion, and expect the same feeling walking into my 20 year. A common past unites us, and good, bad, or indifferent, we shared four years together during a very formidable time in our lives. This you cannot take away.
7) Awkward interactions w/ old flames: I would say awkward personal interactions w/ old flames, but I was a late bloomer and as such had very few high school hook-ups (don’t worry, life’s a marathon not a sprint), so instead I’m going to say observing the awkward interactions of other people who hooked up back in the day. This was an entertaining exercise at the 10 year reunion. At the 20 year reunion, I plan on enjoying the awkward interactions of those who hooked up at the 10 year (you know who you are).
8) The gift that keeps on giving: I bet when you ran for student body president your senior year, you had no idea you’d be on the hook for organizing reunions for the rest of your life. I actually feel bad for the student body presidents out there. Planning a reunion must be a lot of work (not that I would know). Every 10 years I say I’ll help out however I can, but just like when I offer to help someone move or drive them to the airport, it’s a completely empty proposition.
9) One-uppers are the worst: You know that person who always has a slightly better story to top your story, whose friends are slightly more interesting than your friends, and whose job is slightly more prestigious than your job? Man, I hate that guy/girl. And you’ll never find a higher concentration of these d-bags than at a high school reunion. Internal dialogue in your head: “Come on brain, let’s just get through this night without punching anyone in the face, we won’t have to see any of these assholes for another 10 years, and then I can get back to killing you with beer.”
10) No-shows beware: Kind of like at work when all hell breaks loose and the last person to join the conference call is inevitably blamed for the problem, so goes the plight of the reunion no-show. If you’re not there to defend yourself, there’s a high likelihood that you could and will be defamed. “Remember that slut? I heard she popped out a few kids and ended up a single-mom stripper in Reno.” “That guy? Yeah, my sister said his wife left him for the contractor and now he’s out of work and lives with his folks.” “That couple who got married right out of high school? Apparently he came out of the closet a few years later, married some dude from a boy band, and nobody ever heard from her again.” High school classmates talking shit about one another behind each other’s backs? I guess some things never change.
Looking forward to seeing my fellow Norsemen in August.
The Quinsey Blog