Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ten years didn't do much

the high school reunion went down as expected. out of a class of some 696 (give or take a few), i'd day about 150 packed a cozy country club party room. at first mostly at the door-- likely stalling on actually going in-- and of course, at the bar.

right around check-in time (ri and her hubby, c, who were kind enough to give me a ride, forgot their tickets in the city and had to turn back) i had this text message exchange:

"have you left yet?"

"no, ri is driving and she's running late. why, are you there?"

"yeah, just checked in."

"are there a lot of people already?"

"yeah. but not the good kind. hurry up!"

that was with nika, who is the hybrid kind of family-friend who also intersects with your personal life here and there. six months older than me, she hung out with my parents before i did. we touch base every once in awhile and i get the lowdown about people i didn't know very well from school. it's funny, because by the time i got to the place, she seemed like she was doing just fine. i guess the right kind of people showed up, and several of them asked for her phone number and twirled her around the dancefloor. people who she said wouldn't have given her the time of day when we were in school.

walking around that hall was a little surreal. faces and nametags jumped out at me like dead bodies at a wake sitting straight up in their coffins. it was creepy, but familiar. i'm good with names and faces, but not necessarily together. so i'd catch a glimpse of someone and then spend 20 minutes trying to figure out if it was that cool girl in my gym class or that annoying cheerleader who would keep one leg on top of her desk in class so that pretty much anyone would take note of the orange underthing she had on under the uniform.

mostly everyone looked the same. well, to be perfectly honest, the women had fared much better than the men. they were sleeker, better dressed, better coiffed and looked the same if not more trim. the guys all seemed a little chubbier with hairlines a little farther back than they were a decade ago. granted, we can get away with a lot more in terms of flaw-hiding than the guys, but still.

there were exceptions, however. this broad who continually pissed me off in seventh grade-- namely for being an allaround snooty beeyatch as well as taking credit for singing the harder part in our duet during "the music man" (which she was supposed to sing but couldn't hit the high notes, so i had to switch parts) pretty much doubled in size. and then there was the one girl who lost control of her breasts and allowed them to lead her around that evening in a flimsy contraption that had to have been held together with doublesided tape. one guy even said, "dude, i'm GAY and i can't stop staring at those things." the but everyone else looked nice.

there were even a few eyebrow-raising moments, like when the boy one of my friends pined over for nearly all of senior year psychology asked one of us, "hey, who's that girl over there?" even though it was painfully obvious he knew very well and was trying to play it cool. i found that a pal from speech class works about a block from my office, and we may meet up for lunch sometime.

we schmoozed, but i ended up sort of sticking to my peeps. i'm not sure if i would have been more friendly if i wasn't starting to feel the deathflu take over, but i sure wish i had. because as cliquey as everyone was in highschool and even today, i think people were making an effort. those who had existing ties, like being neighbors or teammates or mutual friends obviously had an easier time mingling than those who ogled each other on the bus or cracked jokes in the back of english class. but there was a friendly vibe, even just a smile and nod as you walked by. most of us survived. most of us are pretty happy with where we are. and as kaiya put it at the end of the night, "you know, we were all really different and separated in high school. now, not so much. we're all pretty much the same."

maybe it'll take another ten years to really be true.


Anonymous said...

Question from Philosophy 101:
Different / separated then, not so much now - what changed? More to the point, were you really so different "then," or have peoples' perceptions and perspectives done most of the actual changing?

Bonus question: can you or I - that is, your/my sense of uniqueness, of self - really be separated from our perceptions and perspectives?

And the circle closes. If all this makes little or no sense, don't worry about it. Sometimes I'm like that.

omar said...

I was too chicken to go to my 10 year reunion (yes, I regret it). I saw a bunch of pictures though, and I can say the same thing about the appearance of the boys vs girls. The girls almost all looked either the same or better, and the guys almost all looked heavier and more bald.

Anonymous said...

Hey you made it through! I'm not interested in going to a high school reunion...dunno...I guess it's been so long that I don't care to look back.

The Stormin Mormon said...

Still don't plan on going to mine...

Anonymous said...

Isn't it nice that (most) people grow up into reasonably mature (note: I didn't say normal) human beings? Thus, even if you are still different, you can handle it and be tolerant. But Kaiya's right; we're not all that different from each other to begin with.

jazz said...

i'm not going to mine.

have already decided.

Jon said...

I missed mine due to having much better plans that night. I think it would have been interesting to go, but I’m not sorry I missed it. Every year at thanksgiving it’s like a mini reunion at this one bar in town. That usually gets the job done for me. It’s only my curiosity that missed out, and even then, it probably would have been disappointing.

Jon said...

I guess when I moved over to blogger beta, I lost my pengy :(

Guyana-Gyal said...

Now you've made me curious about the gals from my high school. I see one walking on the seawall some mornings...she was obnoxious then. She still is obnoxious. But now I'm curious about the others, after reading your post.