My High School Reunion
The weekend was uneventful except for Saturday. I mean, I spent some decent time Friday night and Saturday morning applying Zaino car polish to my car. As far as that’s concerned, while uneventful, I was very pleased with the results. No buffing, very easy, and my car looks great. Highly recommendable.
But Saturday was the “day of happenings” for this weekend.
Saturday afternoon Jenn and I went to a pool party/barbecue that her Job’s Daughters group had going on. It was held at this guy’s house who is some sort of adult leader… or something. Anyway, the guy’s got like an acre of property and the house is something like the Winchester Mystery House. You don’t see it from the street, but when you go into the back it’s a whole other story.
The guy has two guest houses - both he built himself. He’s got a kidney shaped pool. There’s a garage the size of a plane hangar that has so much stuff… I counted nine pairs of antlers; seven or eight microwaves; a concrete form (basically a cardboard tube) about 12 feet high and five feet in diameter; an old-style Winnebago whose windows were crammed with blankets and pillows; the ceiling had rows of old tools hanging from it (scythe blades, drill bits, saws); three potato mashers… The list just goes on and on. The guy had like six trashed out cars in the back yard (at least).
Random shit, man. Next time we go I’m taking a camera. It’s not anything I can even describe accurately.
Plus, you know, teenage girls frolicking in bikinis. Can’t complain about that, can ya?
But that’s not the big thing from Saturday. Saturday evening was my ten-year high school reunion.
It was at a Mexican restaurant known for parties and such, so I figured it’d be a nice setup for mingling, saying hi to old acquaintances, etc.
Man, was I wrong.
I got there (with Jenn) and there were no signs to show where the reunion was happening. There were also no restaurant employees at the front desk to direct us. After tracking one down, we were directed to this area in the back which was not really private; it was more just a separate area in the back, albeit with no real walls or anything. It was sort of hard to tell where the restaurant ended and the reunion began.
I tracked down the “organizer” (since I have known her for years I did recognize her) to get my refund (enough people responded that I only had to pay $25 per person instead of $35 per person). It was good to see her - she looked drastically different, though good - and I said hi as I got my money back from her.
The general layout was such that there was no way to mingle or mill about and talk. They really packed in the chairs and tables - banquet style - and you couldn’t very well walk around and talk to people.
I looked around and… didn’t recognize a single person other than the organizer. Jenn and I took a place at a table that sort of overlooked the rest of the group and also had a view of people coming in. I watched as people continued filtering in and didn’t really see anyone I recognized.
Eventually a girl and her friend came over and sat down. I totally didn’t recognize her until she introduced herself, but it was a friend of mine - Rebecca - who lived just around the corner from my parents. She became a personal trainer (who’d have guessed?) and totally transformed herself. She looked great, and it was good to see her again. Another girl and her friend also sat down at our table. It was Pam, a girl I remember from school but who wasn’t really in my “circle of friends” or anything. Regardless, it was good to see her, too, and it sounded to me like she was pretty successful as a manager at the local sporting arena.
The room filled up, and as people came in Rebecca pointed out people and their faces finally clicked for me. I did end up starting to recognize people, but what I started to discover was that the people who were showing up to this thing… they weren’t the people I hung out with. These were the people who decided I was a “nerd” and didn’t want to associate with me. These were the people who made life difficult.
The other thing I noticed was that everyone out there made attempts to talk to each other, but nobody came up to our table.
Sarah, a girl who was in the drama group with me, who was always very nice to me, came over to say hi. It was really great to see her again, to find out she’s in PR now, happily married and living not too far from where I’m living now. I told her what I’ve been up to (and maybe she’s checking out the site right now) and it was really great to catch up with her.
Beyond that, it was a difficult time. Over there’s the class president, who should have been the organizer of the event but decided it wasn’t worth his time (that’s the kind of class president he was, too). There’s the girl I would have died to go to prom with but who declined by laughing at me with her friends. That table there is the current embodiment of the popular crowd.
As I sat there, I couldn’t help but have several “what-if” sorts of things flow through my head. What if I wasn’t a nerd? What if I could have gone to prom with that girl? What if I had been popular?
I dunno. I’m sure everyone has these little reflective moments every once in a while, but it just went further to remind me that I’m a computer programmer and I never wanted to be. That there’s so much I could have done so far with my life but now that I’m on a path I don’t know how I could ever change. That I’m a creative individual in a profession that requires creativity but generates entirely intangible assets.
After two hours of sitting there and not seeing anyone else I really wanted to talk to, Jenn and I decided to leave. I found out as I was leaving that the group was planning on going “clubbing” later on… not really my thing, but it makes sense because that’s how my class was.
So my reunion was vastly lamer than Jenn’s was, and she’s sort of inwardly pleased with that, but I think the fact that my reunion sucked so bad was okay for one reason - it shows me that I never need to go back to another, and the effort that I’ve spent in trying to forget those years has not necessarily been in vain.