I’ve decided to gain weight for my reunion, just to be a little different. Which is in keeping with the theme of high school in general. So basically, although 20 years have passed, I am still trying to be different. Actually, to be completely honest, the real reason I have decided to gain (or maintain) weight is simply because I love the freaking chocolate soy pudding. And I love it more than anyone could possibly imagine. Give me the fucking pudding! And also, I’m just incredibly lazy. So there’s that.
You know what’s funny? The fact that, although I was basically miserable in high school, I was the one who began planning our 20-year reunion. I’m not really sure what came over me! Possibly it was just that I wanted a reason to see various cool people to whom I paid little attention in high school and regret doing so. Perhaps it was the fact that I am generally a nostalgic control freak who feels the need to make shit happen. Or I suppose it could have been just general curiosity—planning a high school reunion is sort of like creating your very own social experiment. Whatever the reason, the fact that I live 3,000 miles away seemed to not really trouble me at all. And so, thanks to some fabulous (and in the end, much more motivated) ladies, we have our reunion planned. And in four weeks, I’m getting extensions, and I’m gonna perm that shit. Then I’ll buy some Aqua Net and spray my bangs four feet high off my forehead.
If it was good enough for 1991, it’s good enough for 2011. I think that should be the general policy. So when we play Bell Biv Devoe at the bar, no one is allowed to get pissed.
In planning this reunion, we have had some interesting reactions to our invitations. Some people were straight up NOT interested. We literally heard, “I am not interested”. Which I actually respect, because I respect honesty. Some people were all, “I am currently living overseas and will be unable to attend,” which is just mean, and highlights just exactly how lame my life is. Then we had the brilliant, “my husband and I don’t do reunions,” which made us think they were dicks, but began to make more sense to us once we learned that one of them was being prosecuted by the Feds. When the planners and I learned this we were all “Oooooooooooooooh! You don’t do reunions because you’ll be in prison!” Some people can’t find sitters, even though they live in the same town the reunion will be in. This troubles me. I’m flying. On a plane. For $1,500. To a place where no one in my family currently resides. And I found a sitter. Either I’m awesome, or you need cooler family members.
So, all in all, it’s been fun. Way more fun than the actual experience of high school. Because, for me, high school was excruciating. A friend of mine recently said, “Oh, come on, Sarah. It wasn’t that bad!” To which I say, clearly your memory has been affected by all the pot you smoked. First of all, I dated the dickiest dick of the dickwads. He was literally the leader of all dicks. And I don’t mean that to sound at all flattering. He was such a dick, that recently after watching a really intense episode of “I Survived,” I actually started to wonder if he might show up at the reunion with a gun and try to kill me. That may have actually been more of the episode talking and less of him being a dick. But, let’s just say that of all the people that will be attending the weekend events, this guy is not high on my list of people I’m stoked about.
Then I start to wonder, who was I terrible to 20 years ago? Well, besides myself. I know there was one girl I said something pretty awful to, but it was in junior high, and I’m hopeful that the fact that I still remember it and still feel terrible about it will somehow erase the fact that I said it. Then there was the time this kid told me that my face looked better, due to the fact that it had grown in around my (giant) nose. But again, this happened in junior high, and I kicked him in the nuts so hard that I think we are even. So, just in case I was overtly awful to anyone, let me just say a blanket, but sincere, “sorry.” I simply had no idea how to be a normal human.
I realize that some people actually enjoyed high school and have memories full of strong, loving friendships or a steady girl/boyfriend who treated them well. I also realize that many of these people were drunk. A lot. So I don’t trust their memories very much. For me, high school was hard. Socially devastating, incredibly polarizing, lonely, frightening, isolating, and at times, very confusing. And that doesn’t include the actual schoolwork, with which I struggled but had to pretend was going just fine. There was closeted homosexuality (because I love the ladies), publicized sex lives, low self esteem, judgment, scary girls, hormonal boys, bad teachers, and really, really, really bad hair. I don’t think there was a single person who wasn’t affected by one or more of those. Even those perceived as popular, and even the perpetrators of terrible judgment and hateful actions themselves. Especially them. Not to minimize anyone’s experience of high school victimhood. It’s not that I think people weren’t genuinely terrible to you, or that your feelings and memories of hurt aren’t real. I’m just saying you can rest assured that whatever they did or said was less about you and more about them. I’d be willing to bet it was all about them.
Or maybe they are all just assholes.
I suppose that one fear I have is that this reunion will be a little like the time I went to get my first tattoo. I was sitting in the waiting room and two girls came in, giggling and talking about their nipples, and how they couldn’t wait to get them pierced together. You could tell they had been planning this for a while. They were led to a room, and the door shut behind them. Less than 10 minutes later, I heard a high-pitched scream emanate from that room, and then the sound of one person vomiting and a body hitting the floor. They were so looking forward to their, um, horrible nipple piercing! But it sucked! It sucked so bad!
So, you know? What if it’s like that?
One thing I’ve realized? In high school, we were all vulnerable. Yet each of us felt as if we were the only one feeling that way, and we were all, like most human beings, just waiting to be noticed. Or maybe it was just me.
Honestly, I am sincerely interested in seeing everyone. I have no deep-seeded issues to rectify, I have no insecurities, and I feel no resentment. I want to find out about people! What do they do, what makes them happy, where are they living . . . do they really have that rumored third nipple? Are they still a dick? And, of course, if I find out you are a tea-partier, well, I may have to mock you publicly. But other than that, I’m feeling good. I’m feeling happy. I’m feeling mature.