Last year, or at least I think it was last year, I went to my 15-year college reunion. To put the whole thing in a nutshell, it sucked. I think lots of other folks had fun, but I was totally alienated. This was because I hardly gave two shits about any of the people I went to college with when we were actually there, and 15 years of separation had not exactly improved things. OK--in many cases, 15 years of separation was
the improvement, a good thing ruined by seeing them at the reunion.
So why did I go? Not entirely sure, really. When I signed up, I was under the misapprehension that my old roomie would be on hand. I haven't seen him in many years, so it seemed worth it. Of course ol' fuckhead decided not to come, leaving me with my dick in the breeze. But I went anyway, figuring there were a couple of other housemates coming, and one woman whom I actually got to know much better when I moved to DC after college, and I figured that would be good enough. Not so.
I won't spend a lot of energy on details, but rather report that it was weird at best. I came to realize that the campus itself would always feel a little like home to me, but that college, with the exception of maybe three or four people whom I'll never forget, was more significant to me as a setting for a great deal of personal growth than as a bunch of great pals. I don't think I need to point out the utter uselessness of trying to revisit personal growth moments. Even if you could go back, you'd probably die of embarrassment waiting for yourself to cop a clue. Man, we were so stupid back then, but mercifully ignorant of even that fact--a saving grace engineered into the post-adolescent nervous system, no doubt.
So the whole college reunion thing was kind of a wash-out, and I haven't felt so relieved in years as I did making an early morning getaway on Sunday before most people had even gotten out of bed.
But here I am, writing what's probably my last post before heading off to what? Another reunion. I have greater hopes for this one, as it's my 20th high school one. Possibly because I was so immature and emotionally arrested, high school was definitely more about friends than personal growth, so I'm pretty chuffed about seeing some folks. I have definitely kept in regular touch with more of my HS friends than college friends. I also managed to get my hands on a list of who's coming this time, and the number of people I'm actually keen to see is pretty high, and only one name on the list elicited a "who the fuck is that?," so I felt pretty good. Definitely nicer to have the list.
In poring over the list with the online company of Smed*, one of my best HS pals, we had this exchange:**
Smed: Didn't you used to date C---- B----?
Me: I briefly and fumblingly dated C---- B----, yes. We went to prom together, even. That one turned out pretty weirdly, I have to say.*** She and S---- (there were a few weird days one summer during college, but only slobbering and pawing--no naked) are the only skeletons from my closet who are coming, I think, as long as you can discount the totally drunk thing with D---- after one of J---- P----s' parties (not sex, just a little make-out). In case you're wondering, she was dating S---- W---- (from Southmont, and a Kenyon classmate, it later turned out) at the time, not Toast****. Oh, and K----, briefly.
OK. I guess I've got probably at least my share of skeletons showing up after all. Should be interesting. At least I continued to be friends with D---- and K---- after our little things, so there won't be any weirdness there.
I'm excited to see people, but I do expect it to be a little alienating too. I'm totally picturing everyone as I last saw them. With you, Mac, TC, Toast and Z, that's not such a big thing, since it's been less than 10 years since I last saw you guys. But the women--oh, that could be traumatic.
Serendipitously, I also got an email from my disloyal, backstabbing, reunion-skipping-because-his-kid-was-having-surgery college roommate. Since he got a giant earful from me about how our college reunion sucked, I thought I'd share my opinions about this one:
On a related note, I’m going back to Indiana for my 20th high school reunion this weekend. I know, I was totally freaked out by the Kenyon one, but this time there are actually quite a few people I give a rat’s ass about who are attending. Toast will be there, for one. Hopefully we will NOT spend the whole time drunk like when he came to Kenyon. It should be a good deal more fun, though the actual school building is no longer in use so we can’t wander the halls and murder assassins with ballpoint pens. Man, I’m never gonna get to use that fucking Kung Fu I learned.
Ah, hoo-hoo ha-ha, I crack myself up. Anyway, I'm not consumed with doubt about this latest stab at reunion fun, in spite of prior performance. My real concern is what a crappy time Girlygirl will have. At least she knows and likes (or can tolerate) a couple of my old school pals, so it'll be more like going to a wedding***** than, say, prison.
See ya when I get back.
*Short for Smedley, not at all his name, but more of a semi-derogatory, semi-affectionate noting of his general nerdiness, which he picked up in his frat in college. Too bad really--he's a great guy, if you can deal with the shouting. He's kind of noisy.
**Yes, I'm resorting to the extremely cheap expedient of re-purposing my writing, but what the hell.
***No, the annotation was not in the original. Our breakup really wound up as sort of a footrace to see who'd break up with who first. I don't think either of us knew why we broke up, but it was most likely because neither of us knew why we should have started dating in the first place, or why we should have stayed together after the prom. By the way, no naked with C---- B---- either. Or any of the class of '84 exes either. Sigh.
****A close friend who dated D---- almost all through high school. She broke up with him our senior year, and he took his time getting over it. Needless to say, our extremely brief dalliance (that would be me and D---, not me and Toast, you dirty thing)--most likely terminated by one or the other of us needing to puke from over-indulgence in drink--occurred long after Toast had recovered from the D---- years. I hope. I tried very hard to save that kind of disloyalty until after my formative years, when I practically moved in with a close friend's girlfriend only days after he took off for an extended vacation in Indonesia. Hey, at least it was her idea mostly. I only went along with it,which as we all know completely absolves me of blame. Yup, that's what that does. Yup.
*****Perhaps like the wedding in Kentucky of Girlygirl's step-cousin we had to attend a couple of weeks ago. Payback's hell, I guess. Anyway, there's lots of total strangers, many of whom know your spouse, but you don't really know at all. But at least there are a few people you've met before--it's amazing how fast somebody you got drunk with once many years ago becomes your best pal, just because you're pretty sure who they are without looking at their nametag.