Last weekend was my long-anticipated 10-year high school reunion. In the early 2000s I kept Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion pretty much on a constant loop, so obviously I had high expectations of snobs, snubs and some pretty sweet choreographed dancing. Boy, was I ever wrong. As it turns out, I may have been romanticizing my high school experience just a bit. I may have fused those memories with that time I watched High School Musical.
I was supposed to “say a few words” to welcome everyone to The Woods in downtown GR, so my bff and I arrived about 15 minutes early as requested. I was hopeful at first because the lovely ladies who stepped up and planned the shindig did a great job with decor and the food spread looked promising. We sidled up to the ladies and their strapping husbands to begin the evening of reminiscing. I had thought about the subject of name tags previously, and wondered if there’d be the requisite table full of sticky monikers, with an ultra-peppy alum manning the station and greeting everyone as they arrived. Again, my only frame of reference is Romy and Michelle. But I thought, “nah, our class doesn’t need name tags. It’s only been ten years and we all have facebook!” Again, I was wrong. The first two guests to arrive were a tall skinny boy/man and his short/stout male companion. This is not to say that they were lovers, they just arrived together. I’ll withhold assumptions about their sexuality since I also arrived with a same-sex partner (in crime). Anyway, my point is that I couldn’t put names to these faces. I knew I was supposed to know them, but I didn’t. I had failed. They walked right up to us and the vibe went from “Hey, this is going to be alright!” to “Ooh…awko-taco” in one second flat. They claimed not to know us either, but I mean…please. I basically forced everyone in high school to know my name. And by basically I mean definitely.
A handful of others trickled in and I could only confidently name one or two. It was bad. I had to compliment someone’s wife on her outfit just to break the silence and to be clear, it wasn’t that cute. I was floundering. My bff and I chased down the waitress and begged her to grab us some drinks. This reunion was in terrible need of some social lubricant. And so was I. There was no clear moment that screamed “jump in and address the crowd” so thankfully I never had to actually say a few words. I never did prepare anything and in retrospect the jokes I had coursing through my brain weren’t that funny. They were all social media-related and would have elicited a polite giggle at most. Gross.
Slowly but surely, the expected 40 or so people showed up and picked tables like it was the HHS cafeteria all over again. All we were missing were some bosco sticks and cheese sauce (that actually would have been a great addition). Everyone sat with the same people they sat with in high school. And did not mingle. Except the aforementioned tall/short combo. They mingled a little obnoxiously. At some points we were pretty sure tall guy had memorized notecards with pre-approved conversation starters. Loser. Some of the others and I (after a few drinks and a shot) decided to force the mingling and used the yearbook that one of the planners geniusly (which is now a word) thought to bring to fuel the conversation. I think it worked. I’m actually pretty sure the other side of the bar was already mingling, but I’ll take credit where credit is due in my drunken memory. Plus, this is my blog.
As with any social situation where one doesn’t get to pick the guest list, there were some people I’d have chewed my own leg off to avoid speaking with. One of which spoke to me for way too long about his distrust of gay people because, and I quote, “you never know where their fingers have been, you know?” I couldn’t even respond. I just grunted, threw up in my mouth a little and marched away. Idiot. Surprisingly, my bff and I spent a lot of the night chatting with a man (who I guess graduated with us) and his wife about their 4 children (?!) and their farm. Yep. An honest-to-gos farm. They grow corn and soybeans. She prefers the corn. They were actually really nice and ended up coming out to the gay bar for karaoke with us after. I was so proud. Also tagging along for the karaoke adventure was someone who I definitely did not recognize from high school and accused of giving me a fake name. After a quick look through my yearbook at home, I’d like to apologize to this poor guy for that awkward conversation. He did indeed go to school with us and that was indeed his name. It’s not my fault his name sounds made up.
All in all, it wasn’t great but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. We all drank a lot and that seemed to help. Except when I started a conversation about a trio of “If we’re not married by the time we’re 30” pacts with the guy I was pre-betrothed to and his current wife who ruined it for me. Sorry if that was super weird, guys. The highlight of the reunion was probably the “roundtable discussions” that took place about who the worst person we graduated with might be. Nobody could beat Travis Ghent being in prison for kidnapping/drugging his ex-girlfriend and dragging her across state lines. We’ve all heard that story, but I find it hilarious because he was a jerk so I like to get the detail (and his full name) in there whenever possible. We discussed the recent heroin scandal and how that affected close neighbors and their children, we brought up child molesters of other classes but we couldn’t pick anyone else out of our class who was a worse human than good ol’ T-Ghent. We never actually discussed who was doing well or who had accomplished amazing things or had amazing children. We just talked about who was the worst. I feel good about it.
Nothing really happened, at all. This blog was a struggle to write if you can’t tell. If I could make one suggestion, however, it’s that when there’s a medium-sized group of people who only have a mascot and the music of the 90s in common, there should definitely be 90s music playing at the get together. There wasn’t. There wasn’t any discernible music at all. That could have eased some of my pain.
I didn’t even get to tell anyone I invented the Post-It.