I had mixed feelings about whether or not I wanted to go. I was a cheerleader for three years but I didn't build a network of friends out of high school, or college for that matter, and there is only one friend I'm still in touch with outside of Facebook who I already knew wasn't going to be there. The 10 year reunion is all about who got fat, who got married, how the popular kids turned out or who made it big but 20 years later nobody cares about that stuff anymore. By now we know that life happens and keeping your head above water and being content is sometimes as good as it gets and that's totally okay. The stuff you cared about in high school is almost totally irrelevant and the stuff you wondered about even 10 years later feels a little juvenile.
To go or not to go? My thought process was this. I'm here, I have a cute husband, I haven't made a total mess of my life. Might as well go. My life actually was a total mess 10 years ago and I still went to that reunion.
I bought the tickets, put it on my calendar and then mentally checked out. I didn't submit a biography. I gave myself hardly any time to get ready and by the time it rolled around I kind of wished I wasn't going at all. I got off work at 5:00pm, I needed to be there at 7:00pm and at least an hour of that was to be drive time. I rushed home, rushed into the shower, rushed to do my hair, rushed to do my make up. Threw on a dress. Forgot to put on a necklace. Rushed out the door. Forgot my camera. It's a miracle I had the foresight to get my toes done last week but I had to have MJ slap a clear coat on my nails. On the way there. While I was driving. Yeah, that was interesting for both of us.
Turns out I probably could have come in anything and it wouldn't have mattered. The dress code on the flyer said "cocktail casual." I don't even know what that is. It also said "cash bar only" as in cash paper money no credit cards. Weird.
There were a few people that didn't want to pay to come inside including an old cheer buddy, J. They showed up at the hotel to meet for drinks before hand and I can't say that I blame them. I almost wished I'd thought of it myself because tickets were ridiculously overpriced. $75 per person and that's times two for me because I wasn't going to make MJ pay for such shenanigans. I was really glad J came over and said hi. We keep up on Facebook and I always really liked her. We spent a few minutes catching up before everyone started to go inside. She was a fun girl then and she still is. It's too bad we don't "really" keep in touch. She tried to speak to this other couple whom neither one of us recognized and was totally ignored. She'd mentioned it to me and I gave her a you weren't kidding look with my eyes when they did it again. She just side eyed her and looked at the guy but wouldn't speak and there was no word or acknowledgement from the guy. Either he had no idea who she was, she was mean to him in high school or they have no social skills. More weirdness.
We signed in, got our obligatory name badges, and went inside. People were wearing everything from jeans and maxi dresses to cocktail dresses. I start to wish I'd gone casual instead of cocktail and felt a little bad for vetoing MJ's polo shirt request. I made him wear a button up. The room was small and there were only a few tables so I already knew the turnout was going to be low. There was a booklet on the tables with class biographies but hardly any profiles in it.
There was a picture area set up where we took cheesy prom like photos against a black textured backdrop. I actually liked the pictures of us but I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with 1 8x10, 1 5x7 and 4 wallets for $40. I know that we graduated before the digital age but now that we are in it, what's with the old fashioned picture packages?
We heard that dinner was ready so we went out to the Mexican food buffet to fix our $75 fajitas and then sat down in the still mostly empty room and started to eat while I wondered if anybody else I knew was coming. There were familiar faces but nobody I was actually friends with. I was closest to my cheer friends and gymnastics friends but none of them showed up. Where are you? I send a message via Facebook to the one friend I was really hoping to see. She replied that things got busy and she couldn't make it which is a total waste because I know she bought her tickets and there are no refunds. We did cheer leading and gymnastics together and triple dated to senior prom. We were Freshman year college roommates, she lives about 1 1/2 hours away and yet I haven't seen her in 10 years since our last reunion. Why didn't we stay in touch? I've asked myself that question many times over the years but I don't have a concrete answer. Why didn't I stay in touch with anybody? Some of those people I see on Facebook don't live that far away but when high school is over some stay in touch and most of us drift. It's just what happens.
I remembered everyone who sat at our table (and vice versa) including the guy voted class "Most Wanted." He brought along our class yearbook which I have sitting at home, but haven't looked at in forever. I didn't even remember that two of us were on prom court together. I was impressed that they'd traveled out of state to come. We had some interesting catching up conversations.
|28 out of a graduating class of 300 something|
After that we were left to our own devices. The music got louder so I looked around for the DJ and saw an iPod hooked up to a speaker. I guess $75 per person really doesn't go very far. I spotted a girl that I did Girl Scouts with in elementary school and hesitated before approaching her. We lost touch after she stayed in girl scouts and I quit in middle school. I don't think we spoke a word in high school so would it be weird for me to talk to her now what would technically be over 20 years later? Maybe a little, but I said hello anyway. We caught up a little and I chatted with a friend she's kept up with all these years but someone whom I only knew in passing in high school. I ended up in a really good conversation with three other girls two of which I remembered. We all had really interesting stories about how we met our spouse/fiance. The dance floor mostly sat empty. I doubted this thing would last all the way until midnight and was surprised that we stayed until just past 11:00pm.
It was interesting to see how people have aged or not aged over time. So where do you live? Here. What are you doing? I work. Kids? No, but we travel a lot. Polite inquiries along with the obligatory I can't believe it's been 20 years because really, none of us can. Where does the time go? How is that I am as old as I am? How is it that my peers are old enough to have teenagers almost the same age we were 20 years ago? Sometimes I feel it, but most of the time I don't feel like the old person I thought people in their 30's to be when I was in high school.
The organizers from our class did the best they could with what they have to work with and have already said that the 30 year reunion will not be professionally organized. It will be a happy hour somewhere instead which makes much more sense considering the turn out is likely to be even less...or maybe it will be better if it's free.
A few days later I got this e mail with all of the candid pics from the reunion. I found our gallery and all I could do is shake my head and laugh. Out of all of the random pictures taken throughout the night I'm only in two that were taken while we were all doing the group photo. I'm glad I went (and according to MJ he did not have a terrible time) but It's almost like I wasn't even there. Just like high school.
Are all high school reunions this weird? Or just mine?