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Reunions, planned and otherwise

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Given that I live fewer than ten miles away from my high school (actually closer than I lived when I was in high school), it is entirely reasonable to expect that I might have a run-in or three with an old classmate on any given weekend. Many of my old haunts are still favorites– the mall, that boba place, and bowling alley where I earned a year’s worth of PE credit in a single semester during my senior year.

Like any other semi-successful survivor of high school and college (and, if we’re going to brag, grad school), I look back on my high school years with a certain amount of chagrin. It’s not that I was horribly awkward (just a regular amount), or terribly bullied, or even a part of some fringe clique in high school. I don’t remember there being “popular” people, and who knows whether there were or not– but I certainly wasn’t one of them, either. (True story: I went to a homecoming float-building meeting senior year and was asked whether I went to our school. I was too flabbergasted to respond.) I don’t think that my distaste for so many things high school-related has to do with the people, per se (although I see enough idiocy on Facebook to scare me off), nor does it have to do with any particular misery that I was undergoing during those four years. I had friends, I got along well with most of my teachers (read: nerdy, teacher’s pet type), and got out of high school pretty much what I put into it. I have no actual reason to be all head-ducking around the mall, but there it is.

There have been mercifully few encounters with people that I know or recognize from high school, however, when I’m out and about. Really, the only unplanned meetup in recent memory was when I was in Oakland, of all places, for work. A friend that I’d known since about seventh grade had spotted me eating with a coworker in a pizza place close to the school we were visiting, and it was the perfect greeting-but-not-a-conversation: we hugged hello, asked what each other was up to, and went back to our meals. Job done, no awkwardness.

And yet. I was recently added to a Facebook group that has been created for the purpose of planning our reunion. I have no plans to attend this reunion (I can drink much more cheaply at home with high school friends on my own, thankyouverymuch), but I can’t bring myself to leave the group. Is this what social media does to us? It allows us to hold at arms length both what we are slightly uncomfortable with (hello, reunion), while at the same time creating a distance between us and something we may feel we’re missing (those friends we’ve lost touch with and remember fondly). It’s tricky, isn’t it, that a single medium pushes both ways.

How about you, friends? Where are you with regard to reunions? Doesn’t a nice brunch with the handful of friends you’ve managed to keep in touch with and still very much enjoy sound so much better? (Or am I just a closet introvert? Hm.)

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About Megan

I read, I write, I drink wine while watching way too much tv. Let's be friends.

4 responses »

  1. The whole reason I am not on Facebook is to avoid planning a reunion. I only stay in touch with 2 people from high school, the last time I was back home was when one of them got married, and I live hundreds of miles away. And still! I know they would suck me into it.

    I am resigned to joining after the reunion window has closed, so probably this fall. I just feel like we are missing things, like when our friends announced that they were expecting a baby. JG will never join as long as he’s a high school teacher, so I’m taking this one for the team.

    Reply
    • That’s the *whole* reason? There are so many others! (I know, I know, and I was on Facebook back in 2004. I was young and impetuous!) It’s completely crazy that people have somehow forgotten how to be friends otherwise– I “quit” Facebook once for about six months and basically lost touch with about 95% of my friends.

      Oh, and by the way: let’s be Facebook friends when you join the fold, ok? I promise not to send you any Farmville invites!

      Reply
  2. Reunions are like Facebook to me–if I’m not already friends with or talking to you in real life, then I probably am not interested in reconnecting. Not at all meant to sound snooty, as I love a new friend, but I’ve maintained those friendships both from high school and college that have meant the most to me. The others not as much.

    All this to say, I am not a fan of reunions or homecomings and have not attended any of mine. And high school wasn’t exceptionally painful (like you, just the regular amount) but it certainly wasn’t my heyday, so I’d like to just let it lie.

    Reply
  3. Go. Seriously. I felt pretty much the same way about HS as you did and went to my 10-year last year and was so glad that I did because I really enjoyed it. (I also for a while had the attitude that Facebook made reunions unnecessary — not true. Facebook I think helped make the reunion less awkward.) One night with a bunch of people is short enough not to be uncomfortable or awkward, and you will be shocked and probably comforted by how much all of your classmates have changed. The one thing that made me upset about going to the reunion (I live six hours away) was that a lot of the folks who lived in town didn’t show up. I wanted to see them just as much as the rest of the people.

    Reply

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