May. 21st, 2017

alfvaen: floatyhead (Default)
This weekend has been my thirtieth high school reunion.  I didn't go.

I considered it somewhat, but a few things militated against it.  It was up in Grande Prairie, of course, where the school is, which would have involved someplace to stay (either out in Beaverlodge, half an hour or so drive away, with my mother, or at a hotel in town, which of course costs money, not to mention six hours drive each way).  Later this week is my eldest son's own high school commencement, and I don't like to plan social events so close together.  Also, there was an expensive country-club banquet involved, and quite frankly I rarely find banquets that worth the cost for the food; maybe I'm just not a big fan of the most common kinds of banquet foods, unless they have an extensive buffet.

And, of course, there's the consideration about whether or not I want to go hang out with the people who are coming to the thirty-year reunion.

I was two years younger than my classmates from like Grade 3 onward, and still did better than them in some classes, so I had few friends for a lot of years.  From Grade 5 through 9 it was almost exclusively just one friend, Jeremy, with whom I shared interests in role-playing games, computer games, fantasy books, and the like.  Come high school, though, I did start to make a few more friends--mostly people I'd known slightly in earlier grades that I got to know better in various classes.  I had started developing my dry wit, to help make me less socially awkward and more somebody other people could perceive as clever.  I like to think that, at least, few or none of my classmates hated me, and that some of them liked me.

I did go to the ten-year reunion, mostly since I happened to still be living in Grande Prairie at that point.  I had done a good job of dropping out of touch with a lot of people by that point.  Some of them were at Grande Prairie for my first year of college, some I bumped into when I went down to Edmonton after that for university.  I tried inviting them to my birthday parties, and to my wedding (which was only four years after graduation), and some came, but I fell out of touch.  When I moved in with my wife (and out of the house I'd been sharing with Jeremy and another roommate best forgotten), I managed to basically lose contact with him as well.  I've never been a fan of phoning, so in pre-Facebook days I had trouble maintaining relationships unless there was some kind of regularly scheduled event.

So the ten-year reunion was good for at least getting a chance to see a few people from high school...but there were also lots of gaps among people I'd have liked to see again too.  I also became aware of the saying that the people who are the most nostalgic for high school are the ones for whom it was the best time of their lives, who hadn't really gone anywhere since then.  I'm not sure how true that actually is, but certainly for me I did not feel like my life was peaking yet at that point.  I was still crawling out of my shell (to the extent that I ever did); I developed crushes on some girls, but never actually dated them, and in hindsight a lot of them probably assumed I was gay or something, rather than just being insecure.  Certainly my core musical tastes were cemented during my teenage years, but that was mostly because of the time I spent watching videos on MuchMusic, not like hanging out with friends or anything.

I had the impression that the people I most would want to reconnect with were unlikely to show up at this reunion, which seems to have been the case, and so I'm not actually sorry I elected not to go.  I've seen a lot of people posting messages on the Facebook group about how they wish they were there, and I haven't because it isn't true, and I haven't managed to come with anything that's not just empty words.  I tend to just not say anything rather than say empty words, unless I can make them witty somehow.

I guess there is one exception.  One girl I was friends with at high school, to some extent at least (that extent being that she actually came over to visit one time, if only for help studying Chemistry).  On my website I'd put up a page of "people I'd like to hear from"...and at some point she came across that and sent me a big long message on Facebook about what had been going on in her life, during and after high school.  I was floored and dumbfounded...and did the thing I do when that happens, which was nothing whatsoever.  I let it just sit there in my messages, and I even read it over once or twice more over the years (because yes, it has been years).  She lives in Australia now, so I'm not likely to run into her just randomly (not like I tend to run into lots of my classmates who still live in Alberta just randomly either, but it's more possible).  I actually wrote her a reply a couple of weeks ago, just offline in a text file, thinking that I could just copy and paste it and send it off to her with abject apologies for the long silence.  It's still sitting in that text file, and who knows if it'll ever get sent.  (Unless she reads this, of course, since I'm not making it private or anything...)

I imagine if I had gone, I might have ended up just not talking to anybody much.  Or maybe I would've ended up hanging out with great people who I misjudged based on early impressions (and vice versa).  If I'd brought my wife it would have just been us talking to each other, which is what often happens in those cases.  Instead I went to a writers' group meeting where we talked about writing and stories (and politics, can't get away from those these days), spent the requisite time playing computer games and reading books, and this evening watched "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" with my kids (first time for them, not for me, of course).  Tomorrow there'll be a board game of some sort.  And maybe dishes and vacuuming and yard work, but I wouldn't bet on it.  And this week my son will get to have his own experience.  (He hasn't done much dating himself yet; not sure what that's about yet, but he is my son, after all...)

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