For full effect, download Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie from iTunes and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Either that, or go and dig up the very first “Now that’s what I call music” CD released in the summer of 2002. That was the background theme when I was a senior.
I had my ten-year high school reunion last night kids. Yes, I am that old, don’t patronize me. Honestly it went better than I expected. But then again, what are you expecting when you gather a group of awkward couples together in a Mexican diner? Is it supposed to be some kind of friendship séance where we all sit around the room and reminisce about all the good times that we had with each other? Come on now, you know how I feel about the circle of trust.
For the majority of the day, all we did was just sit and talk about where we are at in our lives, which directions that we’re headed, and how many more stickers that we’re going to add to the back of our Chrysler Town & Countrys. As the night grew on, the answers started to seem somewhat mundane, almost rehearsed to the point where we just wanted to hand over a pre-written 3x5 card to the uncomfortable conversationalist that shared the same English class with us back in 10th grade.
Swamp Thing: “Oh, so what are you up to these days?”
Jane or John Doe: “Oh, you know, same old. Just working over at that generic company doing very vague things. I’ve been married for I think a period of time now to this common creature seated next to me. Honestly, my life is just a repetition of work, kids, and Friday evening reruns of sitcoms. What about yourself?”
Swamp Thing: “Me? Oh, I just kill dragons for a living. I’m pretty awesome.”
Cue glazed over look from whoever didn’t hear what I just told them. Yeah, I didn’t really fit in with this group. Being single, and having only one sticker on the back of my Nissan Rogue immediately removed me from dining in the same circles as the rest of the families lingering back and forth.
I did in fact feel bad for the guests who weren’t actual alumni. You know, the confused, balding, petrified tagalongs that all have those frozen looks across their faces that six-year olds get when they’re tossed into the cauldron known as first grade. It must have been the most frustrating night of their human existence.
Swamp Thing: “Oh man, remember back in elementary school when we used to make fun of Mrs. Joyce behind her back?”
Vanessa (formerly known as Wise): “Haha, yeah! That lady was a fruitcake!”
Swamp Thing: “She sure was. Didn’t you think so?”
Vanessa’s husband: “I’ve known you for about 30 seconds. I don’t know who the Hell you’re talking about.”
Cue brief awkward silence.
Some things were just too funny to not openly LOL at. For example, the fact that there was a “popping kids out” contest that was being held between quite a few wives. Currently, the belt is owned by our former student body president, but there are a few not too far behind. There was the discussion about how everyone at some point in their lives has googled their own name. The next time you’re bored at three in the morning Tate Barfuss, you will be reading this blogpost. There was also the frustration in trying to guess what Beau Griffiths does for a living. Something for the government we’re guessing, Kristen Smart might know.
Then there were the popular kids, the “successful” kids (for full dramatic emphasis, perform actual hand gesture of quotation marks when reading the previous sentence. Go ahead, do it right now). You know who I’m talking about. The kids whose rise to fame came from athletic achievement, dashingly good looks, or an abundance of makeup. Those kids. I will admit that I found it rather amusing that they all cornered themselves to a few “select” booths to talk about the extravagant lives that they all were living while nursing another round of Dos Equis, and how they were still as awesome and cool and amazing as ever. The thing is, when it’s a decade after high school, there aren’t those same classes of distinction between people. Nobody cares if you averaged 17 points your senior year, or if Daddy did in fact by you a brand new Dodge Charger, or if you did just add yet another layer of foundation to your already caked on face. We are all living different lives.
I think the level of success is best judged by what you are accomplishing now in your life. Where you are headed, what you want to do, the experiences that will be coming to you because of the hard work that you’ve put in so far. Take Sheldon Merrill for example, the kid was the biggest loser in high school, extremely unpopular, awkward with girls. But he’s making $150,000 a year as a licensed pharmacist. So suck on that!
As the night wound down, I looked around and just enjoyed the people that decorated the restaurant. There were some that really fit well together, couples that you know fully completed one another. Rachelle Venable and her husband, Deven Garner and his wife; I thought myself and my own significant other would look great, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to inflate the girl for this.
It really was a night to remember, an underestimated success that I think people appreciated and will hold on to for a few more weeks. The best part of the entire night came as we all went our separate ways, went back to the sticker-covered vans, the fanta-stained car seats, the generic jobs, the lives that we all separately live. As I walked away from the party, a fellow classmate called out to me.
Jane Doe: “It’s been fun! We’ll have to do this again sometime.”
Swamp Thing: “Yep, I’ll give ya a call in another decade or so.”