Tuesdays with Mindy: Skipping My High School Reunion
This post is kicking off the new “Tuesdays with Mindy” weekly entry featuring all sorts of goobery details about my personal life and interests beyond pop culture. Believe it or not – I actually have another life outside of blogging about entertainment/nerd things so in an effort to avoid creating a whole new blog (dear gawd no!) it’s going here.
Mostly it will be about traveling, gardening, career pursuits, etc. All the ephemera that gets tossed into a personal blog but only once a week, so it’s easier to swallow.
So here we go:
SKIPPING MY HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
One of life’s burning questions has popped up recently on my radar: Should I attend my 10 year HS Reunion? Followed very quickly by an even zanier question: Has Facebook made the HS reunion irrelevant?
Which ultimately led me to this inquiry: Aren’t HS reunions irrelevant in general?
Granted, I love some of my former classmates. I still visit with them at least once or twice a year. We keep up semi-regularly on Facebook. A few of them were my bridesmaids.
But for the most part my fond memories of HS have been washed away by 10 years of higher education, work and volunteer service.
I started contemplating the bizarro tradition of honing in on just one singular point in our lives to reminisce and reunionize about. What was so special and noteworthy about HS in particular? I found more personal connection with underclassmen/upperclassmen, former co-workers and college friends than I did with most of my HS peers. Not all of them mind you – again, I genuinely enjoy the company of my current-friends-former-HS-classmates.
So what gives? If I’m going to put time/energy/money into meeting up with these ghosts from my past – why not REALLY do it right and gather peeps from my 4 years at Century Theatres, 2 with Washington Reading Corps and 5 with NWSA just to round out all those nostalgic feelings?
Cause it’s effing weird. It’s tradition and it’s weird and rarely ever questioned. It’s also in no small way voyeuristic.
And we have Facebook for that now. Anyone I’ve been remotely interested in keeping tabs on I have through this medium. Some have kids, are married, found religion, lost religion, etc, etc.
But very few of them was I close enough with or interested enough in to plunk down $104 (me + spouse) for some greasy sports bar BBQ and NO OPEN BAR for an evening of awkward conversation. Really. No open bar totes lost me. I know there is pre-funking and buying my own alcohol, but I’m kinda sick at the thought of spending an evening in such a fashion. Especially when any part of it might be sober.
Frankly, I’d rather donate the $$ to a plane ticket to visit one of my HS buddies on the East Coast who I’ve been missing. Or use it to buy a night out on the town with my other two close HS friends. Lucky for me – none of my current-friends-former-HS-classmates are planning on attending. That REALLY makes it easy to say no.
It HELPS and HURTS that I had a falling out about 2 years ago with the social butterfly and organizer of our graduating class. It HELPS that up until then I attended the yearly unofficial HS reunion around Christmas time. Got to see all the popular kids as sloshed adults. Introduced them to my husband. Met spouses or saw pictures of babies. You know the drill.
I’ve had that experience. I’ve had Facebook. I’ve even had a chance run-in with my mortal enemy and then friended her on Facebook, watching the progression of her life with detached interest. It’s strange, but comforting to observe the pathos she’s developed from her struggles and to know we are no longer in competition.
Which is the meat and crux of the thing. I am not competing with these people. I’m not in a neck and neck competition to outdo them with some sexy job, big house, supermodel spouse or world travels. Those are the kind of people I anticipate to populate a reunion. No real friendly interest in how anyone is doing in particular. Just a lot of comparing/contrasting life stories to see who wins. Which means I’ll lose by default because I’ll be unemployed. I’ll not have spent a year abroad in Europe. Gotten an internship at a fancy company. Made a million dollars. Moved out of the state. All those things that the privileged class take for granted as a natural part of maturing into an adult.
The self-congratulation. The indulgence. The entitlement. As a poor kid hopping school borders to fake it with the rich/elite/better positioned, I can’t say there was much at the school that happily embraced me. I had to work to fit in – I had to act a certain part that was not my natural upbringing. I wasn’t fake but I had to pretend a lot of things about my life which weren’t necessarily true for the privilege of being in theirs. In exchange, I got to see how the other half lives and learn all their tricks and trades while secretly despising them. I don’t think anyone is going to embrace that sentiment with jovial arms.
My HS attachments were very tenuous. I was the Editor in Chief of the school paper – so my engagement in campus life always seemed filtered through a lens which was objective and clinical. I never felt a part of the experience so much as reporting on it. My senior year is where I made the strongest connections with friends but even then I was mostly checked out of their daily routines. My first real HS boyfriend was actually a freshman in college, so I was totally wrapped up in his crazy world, which meant driving/flying/bussing up to Spokane, WA every few weeks.
I was also working 32 hours a week and only taking 3 classes. The best connections (outside of my current friends) were with upper/underclassmen and teachers I won’t see at this shindig anyway.
In short: there is nothing a HS reunion could give me that flipping through my senior yearbook doesn’t already provide.
In search of some memories this weekend I climbed up into our attic and started sifting through boxes. They were sometimes hard to find – we’ve been amassing lots of Christmas/Halloween decorations. Baby clothes (in anticipation of that uncertain, future date when I hope to conceive). Old toys and photo albums.
In and amongst all these other living and dead objects – I found my senior yearbook, in which I appear one too many times (my friend was the Editor in Chief) w/ that former college boyfriend. Also happened across, quite by accident a heartfelt letter from my favorite English teacher which I opened and re-read. In fact, every time I re-read it, I interpret it in a different way. And yet every time, it never fails to move me.
Sitting amidst the cobwebs, the dust and itchy wooden boards connecting the various corners of the attic and their asundry offerings together – I had a moment to reflect on HS.
And then I put the book away where it belonged, grabbed the items I didn’t come in search for (a box of CDs, X-Men board books and a pair of goggles) but found anyway and turned out the light.
Somehow eminently more satisfying than a night reminiscing with total strangers.
Hollywood has somehow managed to make reunions seems eventful and important, immortalizing them in such classics as:
– Gross Pointe Blank: Frankly, if I can’t return to my High School reunion as a hitman trying to kill the father of my former crush but instead falling hopelessly in love with them – I don’t want to go at all.
Worth mentioning is that these movies all came out within a year of one another, and then the High School reunion seemed to fall off the radar as being anything remotely worth mentioning or basing the plot of a film around again.