Last night I attended my 20 year high school reunion. I wouldn’t have gone except that Glenda is this whole new person and she totally deserved to go and show off her bad self and no way was I going to miss that. The night however, didn’t play out the way it had in my head. Maybe it was because 1/5th of our graduating class showed up and our class was small to begin with. Or maybe it had to do with the fact that just as we had in high school we all segregated ourselves into who was familiar and in a move that was eerily similar to lunch room politics sat accordingly: super popular over there, mildly popular over there, sporty people over there, and then me, Glenda, and three women I remember liking but who didn’t seem to fit in with the already established groups at this table. It wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t like they were throwing food at us, and the six of us had a lovely conversation over dinner, but it was in my head, a little weird. A little anti-climactic.
I had always pictured the 20th being like the reunion scene from Peggy Sue Got Married. We’d arrive in retro-wear with our husbands and instantly and joyously reconnect with old friends who’d tell me how great I looked while the cover band played Karma Chameleon on the old high school stage. Then I’d black out from low blood sugar or a heart attack and go back in time and laugh uncontrollably at my Dad’s new Delorean. None of that happened. Partly because we didn’t take our husbands and partly because it was held in a restaurant where I think retro-wear and cover bands are discouraged. Also, my dad never had a Delorean. And since Glenda was the only person I’d seen in 10 years, no one else knew that I’d gained a million pounds and then lost a lot of it, no one told me how great I looked – except Glenda. No one said, “I remember you!” with a delighted squeal, which, to be fair wasn’t how I greeted anyone else either.
The high point was messing with an older woman who had been our old alumni director. I knew her from pictures on our bi-monthly graduate mailer and by her ridiculous name and that was it. Our paths had never crossed before that moment, but she insisted she knew me and that my face was familiar. “Well,” said by way of explanation, “I was arrested recently so I have been in the news a lot.” Watching her expression change as she tried to come up with an appropriate response was lots of fun, but then I went and blew it by laughing. “I’m sure you’ve seen me dropping off things,” I lied. The other high point was that Glenda did look great! and I got to watch as people tried to figure out who she was and whether she’d changed her hair or something, and then tell her that they remember her being really quiet which made both of us laugh because together, we were anything but unless we were trying to fly in under the radar so as to avoid being a target.
Time has marched on, and apparently across a lot of my classmates’ faces. While Glenda assured me that we have aged well, there were some who have not. Girls who were thin have become women with baby bellies and double chins. Hair, once shiny and so very very blonde is now dull and so very very riddled with wiry grey hair. (Except for our former class president Dorian Gray. If at all possible, she looks even better than she did back in the day. That was creepy.) And despite our differences in high school, no matter what table we sat at last night, I heard the same thing over and over, “The questionnaire said to tell something interesting about yourself and I couldn’t come up with one thing. What’s interesting? I go to work/stay at home, do housework, and drive my kids to their soccer games.” Time, it seems, has also leveled the playing field.
I don’t think I’ll be attending our 25th class reunion, but I will be more diligent with my sunscreen and moisturizer.