I hadn’t really thought about it much, but a personal milestone is approaching with haste:
My twentieth high-school reunion.
I’m conflicted as to whether I should attend.
I can’t imagine I’d be particularly missed should I not show up. I didn’t grow up with the people in my graduating class, having moved from a neighboring suburb prior to my freshman year. I was quiet and introverted, two traits not predisposed to making new friends easily.
Thus I blended into the crowded halls, barely noticed.
Modern networking tools such as Facebook have rendered superfluous the old traditions of reunions, I believe. No longer must one wait for an awkward social occasion every five years to see if the cheerleader one lusted over ever got fat. Facebook stalking makes it easy.
And really, if I wanted people in my life from high school, it would be so. I think I regularly interact online with fewer than five former classmates; one whom I occasionally see in real life. I don’t know that I’m missing anything.
I was an awkward, shy kid. I was tall, large, and hairy, which made a “Fat Elvis” Vegas-era Halloween costume easy, as I could grow substantial sideburns at 14. That costume made me stand out briefly among my peers, but it never gave me what I truly craved – companionship of a female.
No, I’m not posting the Polaroid of me in the white Elvis jumpsuit.
I could never approach a girl in a romantic manner – not even after high school. Even my wife had to ask me out for the first time, roughly 17 years ago. I had no self-confidence – no reasonable expectation of anything but total failure and rejection – so I didn’t bother trying.
That’s not to say I never dated. I had two girlfriends while in school, both of whom approached me. One actually sent the “Do you like me? Circle yes or no” note across the class..I can only assume I was the intended target. Both relationships lasted a couple months, and were limited to a couple dates each.
No, my efforts toward attracting mates were passive. Somehow I got the idea that girls liked sensitive, thoughtful, pensive guys, so I proceeded to become exactly that.
I wrote some horrifically-bad poetry and submitted it to the student-run creative magazine. Seriously, some of the stuff they published would get me on watch lists in these post-Columbine days.
I’d sit in a corner writing in a journal, attempting to “project” my sensitivity and pensiveness toward girls, in an effort to get them to approach me.
Neither approach worked.
Which is quite OK, as it turns out. I love my wife. I love my kids. My life hasn’t been perfect, naturally, but a potential life with that now-fat cheerleader or whatever would have been equally imperfect.
Looking at my dilemma rationally, I don’t think there is any reason to go to the reunion. If I were single and looking to hook-up with an object of my teenage lust, then maybe – but that’s off the table. If I’m going to stand in a room in a suit drinking cheap liquor, surrounded by scores of people I don’t know, I might as well crash a random wedding.
I may be wrong, however.
photo credit: “Hilliard Davidson High School” by Sesamehoneytart – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hilliard_Davidson_High_School.JPG#/media/File:Hilliard_Davidson_High_School.JPG