Last night I went to my 20th high school reunion. I’ll be honest I didn’t want to go. I went because my best friend, the one person who has stuck with me through thick and thin from the days when we were all hormonal idiots, wanted to go and she didn’t want to go alone. I obliged because I love her, and I was hoping that I would be wrong. I was hoping that the awkwardness of interacting with people who I haven’t seen for at least 10 years (since the last reunion) was going to disappear. Spoiler alert: my hopes were misplaced.
It wasn’t the worst evening of my life, but it wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, either. BFF and I were there for about 3.5 hours, and I can say that there was about 26 minutes of actual enjoyment in that time.
Let’s put that into perspective: 3.5 hours is 210 minutes. Twenty-six is 12.380952381% of 210. So it wasn’t a COMPLETE loss. Yes, take it in, people…I’m TRYING to be optimistic.
It was the best of times…It was the worst of times.
The classmate who put together the reunion was very nice, and she did a terrific job, all things considered. I had heard about some drama that unfolded on Facebook (through BFF, as I am not on FB) how the reunion was originally at another venue, but people were opposed to that, so it was changed to where it actually was. That didn’t really make sense to me, as the original venue was a restaurant/lounge that another classmate owned and managed, but I guess an Irish pub in the next town over from where we grew up was more suitable to the people who attended.
There were the typical cliques that segregated themselves. We called them The 90210 crowd, and they were in full force. There were disingenuous hugs from people I didn’t even speak to in high school. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they were actually happy to see me. I don’t know. They’re not bad people. I’m not judging them (well, maybe a LITTLE).
I got to reconnect with another person I was close with in high school, so that was good. Her nickname was “Jake” in high school, so I’ll use that pseudonym. Jake was the first to point out that I didn’t look like I wanted to be there. I feigned a sarcastic smile and reminded her of who I was 20+ years ago.
There was an awkward hook up from high school who showed up with his GORGEOUS wife. I asked him how he managed to snag a lady like that. He was funny and self-deprecating, like the teenage boy who randomly showed up on my doorstep after a fumbling interaction before a track meet. I follow him on twitter now, so if there’s a follow back, he may reveal himself (or not; let’s be honest, no one reads these posts anyway).
The food was okay. It wasn’t $80 worth of okay, but BFF said the potatoes were amazing. I kind of regret not trying them.
A few of us did the obligatory photo booth photo. I refused to put on a silly hat or boa, so I opted for sunglasses. The photo is sitting on my fridge now, and I doubt I’ll post it. Maybe for a #TBT.
I got the, “Oh my god, you haven’t aged.” That was nice to hear. When I took my make up off after getting home last night, though, I saw the years pack on. Like Indiana Jones said…
I switched name tags with people to mix it up, something I had done at the 10 year reunion. It made for interesting moments with drunk classmates, things like, “You’re not (fill in name here).”
I do have to say that I feel REALLY bad for the spouses who came along. They seemed either too drunk to care (then my classmates were embarrassed) or so bored because they didn’t know who any of these people were. Maybe I should have hung out with them.
A big contentious bit was that I’m not on FB. Get your judgment of me out now, because there’s more coming. My name is Erica, and I’m not on FB. I’m not on FB so I don’t interact with these people on a daily (or at least weekly) basis like BFF and the rest do. I haven’t had the time to mend fences or even look at fences. It was very much like going to a wedding where you only knew 2 people there and the rest of the people THOUGHT they knew you, or at least had witnessed some horribly embarrassing moment in your life that only seems to happen in high school. I did tell anyone who wanted to get in touch with me to hit BFF up on FB because she knows how to contact me. I’m an email girl…sorry, people.
Another main issue that contributed to the discomfort of the evening was this: It was at an Irish pub and I don’t drink. I have been sober for more than six years now, and that’s something I take very seriously. Drinking is the “go to” for people to loosen up, and, believe me; I needed a drink last night. I was stiff and uneasy. I kept fidgeting and playing with my earrings or scratching my arm. Jake even said to me (after the correct assumption that I didn’t want to be there), “Let me get you a drink.” DING DING DING! She said the magic words! But, no…I stuck to my guns. That was tough. I’ll admit it. “I’ve been sober for more than six years.” That surprised her.
See, in high school, I was a drinker. In college, I was REALLY a drinker, but in high school, I drank and smoked and did all the “bad girl” things bad girls did back in the 90s, but with enough sense to still get Bs and As in class and graduate. I’ve always been bad, but functionally bad. I guess that’s a good thing?
I’ve been pretty quiet about my sobriety and I won’t go into it now, but I do want to credit two very amazing and outspoken comics creators who have been very open about their own sobriety. Their courage and honesty has given me strength to say that I’m sober and I’m proud of that.
But I digress.
So, yeah, 1. It was at a pub. 2. The alcohol was FLOWING. I would’ve gotten my $80 worth if I were drinking, but there were plenty of people that got my $80 worth and more. Most of these people were parents, so they were drinking to escape their spawn, which segues me to 3. Most people there were parents.
I am not a parent. I am not a parent for several reasons. The long and short of it is that I CAN’T have kids. There. I said it. My body was not made for kids, and that’s all I’ll say about it. Unfortunately, people feel the need to say more. I was asked several times if I had kids. When I answered, “No,” I was greeted with a whiny, “Why?” in one form or another. One woman, a woman I said MAYBE 45 words to in the whole of 4 years of high school, deemed it her mission to continue to poke at me. I finally yelled, “I CAN’T HAVE KIDS.” I had to scream it because we were in a noisy bar and that’s how you communicate in noisy bars if you’re not whispering into someone’s ear, but I doubt anyone was listening. You would think that would have shut her up. Nope. “Well, there are OTHER ways of having kids…” For the love of all, lady…Let. It. GO!
I’m not happy that this happened (many times), but I AM happy that BFF was there to witness it at least once. Like men giving me hell at comic cons for being a woman in comics, some people don’t believe it until they witness it themselves. After being there, I know BFF was as affronted as I was at the audacity of some people. Sadly, this is something I go through a LOT.
Then there was the, “Aw…You’ll have kids. You’ll get over…whatever it is and have kids.” People really don’t get it, do they? And it’s not the lack of kids that’s the problem; it’s the fact that these people were going out of their way to make me feel as if there was something WRONG with me. I KNOW there’s something wrong with me, but it’s not THEIR place to point it out. But now I’m getting too ranty.
On the car ride home, I tested out a theory that I’m going to TRY and adopt: Maybe people think that I’d be SUCH a GREAT mom that they’re upset that I don’t have kids. Maybe THAT’S the overwhelming reason why they feel the need to continually badger me about kids. See? Trying to be positive, people.
I won’t continue to dissect the night. I thought this post would be cathartic in some way. Maybe I was wrong about that, too. I take responsibility for not having a great time. I was stiff and nervous and anxious. I didn’t want to be there, and I was pretty set in that. I didn’t want to ruin BFF’s time, and I hope I didn’t. She was looking forward to the evening and she deserves a fun night out. I fell into self-sabotage, as a lot of people do, and I did wake up this morning in a panic attack, likely because of the stress of the night. Hubs reminded me that I was home and safe and loved and that I was okay.
And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? That you’re safe and loved and that you’ll be okay.
So that’s what I wish for all of you (though, like I said, no one reads these posts). I wish that you’re safe and loved and that you’ll be okay on this Sunday and every day.