My 10 year high school reunion is coming up. I’ll spare you the “I can’t believe I’m so old blah blah blah” because, news flash, although I often act like an elderly woman I don’t actually think being in your late 20s means you’re old. And, in a a lot of ways, it does seem like 10 whole years have passed since I’ve graduated. I’ve gone to college, worked a few different jobs, gotten married, and done a bunch of other things.
But just because I feel like a grown up and I’m cool with aging doesn’t mean I want to go to my high school reunion. Because the thing is…I’m not “over” high school. And I don’t know if that’s normal.
I did not like high school, which doesn’t make me unique. Most people didn’t like high school. In fact, if I met someone who was like, “Sure, I loved high school. Living under tons of rules, being in captivity with mostly people I hated, having to do constant awkward group work and eat disgusting cafeteria food…it was all awesome!” I would not trust him or her. You’re supposed to hate high school…but I also think you’re supposed to not have strong, bitter, sometimes fearful feelings towards the people you went to high school with ten years later, right?
To be clear, I was not bullied or anything in school. I was made fun of in exactly the same way that 99% of most girls are made fun of, by which I mean other girls cruelly and calculatingly zeroed in on the flaws I was most sensitive about and then made me feel terrible about them. And, of course, there were always those girls who were just straight up nasty bitches, but they were mean to everyone. I couldn’t really take it personally. But by the end of high school, it seemed like things had sort of…calmed down. In the last week of school, everyone was, weirdly, really nice to each other. It was like everyone realized that the high school movie that had, up until that point, been our lives was ending, and we’d all be going off to star in our own college party movies or staying in Bellville to star in our own depressing indie movies.
So when our five year reunion rolled around, I don’t know what I expected. I guess I thought that, to keep this movie thing going, it would be sort of like Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and everyone who was ever mean to me would end up learning a lesson by the power of Alan Cumming and his dance moves. But that didn’t happen. For starters, Alan Cumming didn’t even bother coming, which was a real slap in the face. There were no Cyndi Lauper inspired dance scenes. And no one came up to me and said, “You know what? I’m sorry I didn’t realize how gorgeous and hilarious and amazing you were back when you had an underbite and braces and a much more noticeable lisp–I mean, yes, you still have a bit of a lisp now but it’s like a quirky thing that I’m strangely attracted to–and, come to think of it, it’s actually sort of cool that you spent all your weekends reading and writing in your weird dramatic journal instead of drinking like a normal 17 year old! Honestly, how did you not have like 50 boyfriends? Well, anyway, I’m ugly and unsuccessful and I have to get back to my home, which is a literal box in a literal gutter, so I guess I’m just sorry I once made fun of you for being bad at gym class 15 years ago. Bye!”
If I’m being honest, that’s the only scenario that would have made me think, “Whoa, this reunion is really killin’ it!” And that’s sort of (okay, really) messed up. There’s a big part of me that wants to have something impressive going on to show off to these people I barely knew years ago, but as my BFF sagely pointed out, nothing that matters to me would impress them anyway. Do you think they’re going to care about writing credits? No! My mom recently had to do business with a former high school classmate of mine (who once pushed one of my friends into a locker and called another one of my friends a gay slur) who literally did not know how to set up an email address. That girl doesn’t give a shit about what websites I write for.
But back to my five year reunion. What ended up happening? Nothing, really. I ate undercooked potatoes, poorly played some minigolf, and talked to my friends. Even though I didn’t like high school, I was lucky enough to meet some of my best friends for life there. But here’s the thing–I can talk to my friends any time I want to. I don’t have to go to a combination bar and grill/go-kart track/minigolf course to do so, thank God. And the people who were assholes in high school…big surprise, they were still assholes! Also, while my friends and I were playing minigolf, they took the group photo without us, which is pretty symbolic of my high school experience.
So am I going to go to the 10 year reunion? I DON’T KNOW. On the one hand, it’s happening during a weekend when I’ll be home. It will probably be at least interesting. And I know I should feel like, “Well, we’re all older and wiser and let bygones be bygones” and other cliches, but…I don’t know that I’m mature enough to feel that way. The attitudes in my hometown are weird, and I don’t necessarily enjoy putting myself back there.
What about you guys? Have you gone to any of your high school reunions? How weird were they? Did anyone give you an elaborate apology (or did you elaborately apologize to someone)? Did Alan Cumming have the decency to show up? Was there interpretive dance? Please, let me know any and all high school reunion experiences in the comments.