My 20th high school reunion is in August, and I didn't want to go, but through a series of Rube Goldberg-like events, I am now attached to the facebook page for the reunion. And, man, my classmates are kind of selfish dicks.
The committee has been working for months to put together the event and make it easy to attend and not too stuffy. They announced the date this week officially I guess, and it was met with people complaining that "that's the night of my child's 'meet the teacher' night at school!" and "our family always goes to the cabin that week!". Well, (a) how or why would the committee know that? and (b) shut up. It's been twenty years. Don't let the first thing we see from you in two decades wind up being some kind of whining that we didn't know it was the same night as Kaylie's ballet recital.
I'm still not convinced I'm going because I see no evidence in the invitation of an open bar, which is the only thing that would make the evening tolerable on some levels. Well, that and maybe sitting in a corner with Marshall and getting his take.
But, yeah. Mostly - 20 years. More time than I was alive when I exited high school.
How do I explain that mostly I spent the last two decades thinking about Superman and avoiding getting a job where I'd have to wear a tie? That I didn't have kids? That I married a great girl, but when I asked her if she wanted to come to this thing, she figured she had less important ways to spend her time?
We had that Drama Club mini-reunion in March, and this much I learned: I thought I had a pretty good recollection of high school, but it's all about what was meaningful to you at the time. Ie: I didn't remember any of the anecdotes that people remembered in which I was involved, and they didn't really remember much of my own stories.
I remember things like how good the Hostess banana pies were in the snack machine and mostly feeling tired all the time as my school started at 7:30 (honestly, who tells high schoolers to be at school and in class at 7:30?).
Today I was talking to a colleague about "going to shows", and I realized how completely easy on me my folks were when I was in high school so long as I kept my GPA up and I didn't get my girlfriend pregnant*. At 16 or so, I drove across Texas with Jason and my pal Scott to pick up a friend in Austin, then go to the first Lollapalooza tour in Dallas. I was running around downtown Houston, and so long as I made it back by curfew, no big deal. And this was Houston in an era when stuff could be a little shady downtown. But so long as I got my homework done, I was off going to shows on a school night.
Also today I was driving into work listening to an old This American Life podcast and was reminded that a guy I went to high school once popped up on This American Life. I was reminded of this because he popped up again on my iPod in a rerun of the show I hadn't listened to, even though it had aired last year. Finding out the guy you did The Crucible with in high school and who did NOT share your interest in The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in 1991 is now in LA via the one sentence bio on the story is a weird way to keep up with people. This same guy once appeared in my kitchen at midnight with our own NathanC, and we all had coffee.
The past collides with the present, and the internet makes it happen.
In general, I know where people are. I don't always need the help of Ira Glass. Even the people I was marginally friends with who I liked - most of us found each other over the years through social media or whatever. Sure, I hid some of them (many of them), but I can look them up within Facebook if I need to find out what became of them.
I dunno. 20 years seems like a long time, but the older we get, it's funny how some things fade, some things are thrown into relief, and some things seem as present now as they did then.
I am not uncomfortable seeing people, and I am aware that old wounds and old ideas about people will surface whether you want them to or not. And I am aware that it's also been 20 years, and if the whole thing looks like its about to throw us all back into being 18, I'm not sure that's entirely necessary.
Bear in mind, we moved when I was 15. I was half-way out the door when I showed up, and was in a game of clock watching from the minute the first bell rang my sophomore year. I have no idea who 80% of the people are who are listed in the invitation. Not a clue. As I said - time does funny things.
Still, it might be funny. Especially if I show up dressed in a white admiral's outfit.
*thanks, Mom and Dad!