I went to my 20 year high school reunion last night. It was fun. I seem to have acquired (fostered?) a bit of a misanthropic reputation among my friends but the truth of it is that while I might be incredibly choosy about how I spend my discretionary time, I love people in terms of depth more than breadth and it actually pains me to be unable to know a person well. Small talk bores me. I want to pry. I am nosy and interested. Pat answers annoy me. It's not that I don't care; I care too much, which is funny to say in conjunction with a discussion of my high school reunion because after we got home Christian wondered out loud if maybe he really didn't care about anyone at all except himself and his family and I privately acknowledged that I question whether I am capable of truly loving unconditionally. We're quite pair. Anyhoo.
I loved seeing people I went to high school with and I wish I could have talked to everyone at length in order to find out what their deal is. I wish I would have spent more of high school doing just that because people are interesting. It doesn't make sense, but for some reason members of a graduating class imprint on each other in a weird way. (It's not unlike a werewolf and a fetus--or however that went down.) It must have something to do with your age and the amount of time you spend together every day at school. I was as angsty and troubled as anyone but mostly because I thought no boys liked me. I actually felt happy most of the time. And I had good friends and did fun things. Though I wasn't much of a joiner and felt completely anonymous growing up, as it turns out everyone knew who I was just like I knew who everyone else was. I listened incredulously while people told me they were "insecure" and "had no friends" in high school and that is when I decided that no one remembers high school accurately. I think maybe it is impossible to remember it accurately. So that was interesting. Another interesting thing I noticed is that a lot of women's voices seem to have gotten higher over the last 20 years. Is that a thing? Does everyone know that except me? Because I thought my voice was getting lower, but now I'm not sure.
I was happy to find out that people from high school read my blog but also sad because I've probably written some incredibly narcissistic and rude things about people and events which could have hurt someone's feelings. I mean, I've been blogging for 6 years and I'm not really very nice. You do the math. But mostly I just loved talking about blogging. Even when people said they can't blog because they are "too busy raising their families" because--wow--what an efficient way to insult the way I choose to spend my discretionary time. Zing! And, touche. A final word about blogging: Let's all just thank the Lord right now that I didn't have one in high school.
I think that having my own kids approaching the age I was when I met most of the people I saw at the reunion has changed my perception of everyone. This happened when I was teaching college, too. I always tried to be pretty hardcore with my students but after I had a baby I viewed them differently. I started to think of them as people's children trying to get through college instead of thinking of them as my enemies who were trying to extract undeserved As from me. I talked to lots of people at the reunion last night. Some were people I never knew and some I knew very, very well. With each person I felt like that grumpy grandma in A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor. She says to The Misfit, "Why, you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" right before he shoots her.