Warning: It's another long one.
Last night I went to my 10-year high school reunion. I wasn't one of those people who really stood out in high school aside from looking like a newscaster from the 1980s.Therefore, I wasn't sure how I felt about going. Granted, there were a couple of people I was hoping would show up so I could catch up with them, but, for the most part, I thought it would be five hours of awkward hugs and "So, what are you doing now?"s.
Surprisingly, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I had thought. In fact, I had fun. The veil of dark, evil cynicism that constantly hovers over my cold, black heart was lifted for one night as I got to see what kind of havoc ten years had wreaked on my former classmates.
I'll start from the beginning (I've been told after years of studying writing that this is normally the best place to begin). Though I'll give you a little foreshadowing of how it ends: Me wearing nothing but a "Class of 1996" sash draped across my pasty white body jumping into a spa full of people who I'd come to find out this morning were not, as I had thought, my classmates but, instead, two elderly couples from Arizona who were out here for a wedding. Now I'm really curious who gave me the handjob.
So, I'm such an eager-to-please nerd that, while driving to the reunion, I was thinking of stupid answers to give people when they ask the inevitable, "So, what are you up to now?" After debating answers like Ultimate Fighter, artificial seahorse inseminator and the all-new "Time to Make the Doughnuts" guy, I settled on Explorer.
"Yeah. I'm an explorer. You know, like Amerigo Vespucci and that guy who gave the Indians blankets covered in baby sneezes? I'm the last one in existence. I actually have like 9 flags in the back of my truck just in case."
Of course, I didn't really use that answer because, as I found through the one-night-in-ten-years thawing of my heart, I actually wanted to know what some of the people I hadn't talked to in years were up to (Yes, this sentence ends in a preposition--on purpose).
So, when I got there, it was cool because a couple of people that I still hang out with from high school had just gotten there as well and they were busy filling out the information which was required of us. I did write down on the card that I had nine kids and am a professional explorer. I used it there at least. Nine kids! What a card I am! Nobody has nine kids. Hilarious. I'm thinking about asking them to take that card to the 20th reunion just so I can white out that stupid, stupid answer.
As we checked in, we were given a burlap-ish satchel with the school logo on it that was filled with various goodies. Now, when I say goodies, I don't literally mean that they were good. I just don't know what word could possibly convey just how terrible these little knick-knacks were. Don't get me wrong, I understand that it took time and planning and I do appreciate that, but, just wow. As I'd later say to people as my heart began its gradual re-freezing process, "It's like somebody went to their local low-rent amusement park and played Skee-Ball for four hours and cashed in the tickets." Although, I actually used a local place, Castle Park, as the reference, but you don't care.
It contained a pen that would fall apart with the slightest sign of any sort of pressure, you know, like what you might have to use when you'd use it as a writing implement. It had a tiny yellow pad of paper, which I'm guessing we were supposed to use in conjunction with the brittle-bone-disease-having pens in order to play Hangman or you can use it as I did and make an animated flip book of yourself as a stick figure finally getting retribution ten years later making sweet love to the former Prom Queen. Then, if you didn't like to use pens, they did give us a pencil--well, sort of. See, unless you carried around a knife to sharpen the thing, you were shit out of luck, or as I like to say "sool." You were sool. And, finally (I think that's all--my bag was looted), we were given a key chain with a two-tone cutout of our school mascot (a mighty, Thor-fearing viking!) in a transparent window. Total cost of loot in the bag: $.35. But it's the thought that counts as people who receive shitty gifts like to say.
But, forget the perks, it's all about the people, right? Who got fat? Who got better looking? Who got a sex change? Who gave you a way-too-long hug and may have accidentally (you hope) licked your ear?
I'll just kind of run down the various things that I noticed.
First, there was a guy who was kind of a nerd in high school who showed up looking completely unrecognizable. And, well, I think that was the problem. Nobody knew him in high school and, therefore, nobody really knew who he was last night either. Granted, he looked like a tough guy last night, but nobody really cared. In fact, he was awkward. While everybody else was sitting down at their tables as announcements and the slideshow they put together were going on, he stood in the back of the room, arms folded, like some sort of weird cop from the future who drew the short straw and got the shittiest assignment.
"Listen, Detective, you're going to be sent back to the year 2006 and..."
"I'm going to have to try to prevent the impending war between Hezbollah and Israel? I'm on it, sir."
"Well, no. You're going to have to make sure everything's cool at this high school reunion in Southern California."
"I'm too futuristically old for this futuristic shit. Future. Bleep bloop."
It was fun to quietly berate him sporadically throughout the night.
Speaking of that slideshow that they created for us. I do mean to toot my own horn here. I mentioned earlier, and provided solid, scientific evidence, that I was a nerd in high school. Now, maybe I'm playing up my nerdiness a little, but I feel pretty good in saying that, if a war broke out between the cool kids and the nerds at my high school (and no warriors from the future were sent back to prevent it), that I would probably have wound up on team Magic: The Gathering. But, when the slideshow came on, they had pictures from high school time, then they showed pictures of people in 2006 prefaced by their names. They had said they may take pictures from MySpace and they took one of mine. And, when I came up, people, dare I say, cheered. And I was really one of the only people for whom this happened. It blew my mind. For a brief, shining moment I felt like, "Was I cooler than I believed? Do these people really like me?" But then that all came crashing back down when I began to think, "They're being condescending aren't they?" I don't have any sort of emotional issues at all.
Speaking of me. Since that's what this whole thing (human existence) is really all about. Reactions to me ran the gamut last night. By that I mean, people said various things upon seeing me for the first time in ten years and I don't know how to take it. I got, "You look exactly the same." And I also got, "You look totally different." I even had somebody who I was in classes with for four years who had to look at my nametag. I'd like to believe that I look a little different than that picture, but not, "I went from geek to chic--I'll show them" either.
And, as I figured would be inevitable, there was a group of people there who sort of had not left the high school mentality behind. I was sitting right by the table with the alcohol on it and I heard this, "This shit's too expensive. Let's go outside. I have a bottle of Jack in my trunk." That pretty much sums up those people (and, by "those people" I'm not being racist--that comes later). They still had that "too cool for school" air about themselves, although, ten years later, that vibe doesn't quite work and it's more sad than anything. So, I was happy that that contingent was there as well.
Then there was my surprise of the night. I wasn't expecting to spend too much time talking very much to people I hadn't seen for years (aside from my friend Ryan who I had known since second grade and his wife). I thought that I'd kind of stay talking to the people with whom I'd actually kept in touch. But there was a girl (woman--I know, but if somebody's my age, I still call them a girl--shut up) there who I dated briefly in high school. I won't break down my entire high school dating life, but let's say that it was mostly hampered by an unrequited crush I had on this other girl (who I would come to find only too late had a heart darker and more terrible than my own). Needless to say, I spent a couple of hours of the night talking with her and finding myself regretting the fact that she was now married and that I had broken up with her in high school because of the aforementioned ill-fated, dim-witted crush. By the way, want to know what an awkward, ridiculously immature guy I was in high school? I had the girl who I had the crush on call this girl in high school and break up with her for me. Yeah. That's probably one of the worst things ever. I'm sorry for being an ass, planet Earth (and she whose name shall not be writ).
So, overall things were actually pretty fun. There was some cleavage that I was able to look at (preposition!). My clothes got covered in glitter. I actually had entertaining conversation. People cheered for me like I was Lucas. And I got to relive the white-trashiness of my long-lost youth. Speaking of that, I'm not lying when I say that, once the party was over, it continued for a small time in the parking lot in the form of a case of beer on the ground. Ain't no party like a classy party! Whoo! Whoo! Whoo Whoo!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Warning: It's another long one.