Saturday, November 10, 2012

20 Year Reunion

Last night I went to my 20th high school reunion.  It was held at Skipolini's Pizza in Clayton.  I saw some people for the first time in twenty years, and a few of them I had seen ten years ago at the last reunion.  I definitely had a good time, as it's always nice to reminisce a little bit with people who shared some formative years with me.

Of course, I'm somewhat lying.  It wasn't officially my 20th reunion.  That's happening tonight.  Last night was more of an informal gathering.  As for the official one, I decided against going.  I've had a couple of people ask me why I'm not, and all I replied with was "I don't wanna."  While that's true, there's a bit more to it than that.

Honestly, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to go in the first place.  I went to the 10 year reunion, and I didn't have that great of a time.  I felt bad because I kept running into people who seemed to remember me, but I had a hard time placing who they were.  Sometimes I didn't even remember when they told me who they were!  Don't misunderstand me, it wasn't a horrible time, as I did have a few nice conversations with some people.  However, I can be a bit awkward at social events when I don't know people - or in this case, I haven't seen them in a long time.  I mean, I definitely can be social, but it requires a real energy-draining effort on my part, and I just wasn't up for it.

So, when it came time to start planning for the 20 year, my initial reaction was that I had no plans on going.  I figured that I already was keeping in touch with anybody from high school that I wanted to keep in touch with, either in-person or through Facebook (although there are some former classmates who have friended me, and I honestly don't remember them at all.  But hey, being friends with somebody on Facebook isn't really much of a commitment.)

I started to change my mind when people started posting to the Facebook group about the reunion.  I found myself genuinely enthused about it.  The funny thing is, I would have figured that social media would make me less likely to want to have a reunion, but it actually made me more likely.  There were some folks that, while I didn't know them that well in high school, I've established a pretty friendly rapport with them online.  So, I started to get excited about hanging out with some of these people.

What killed it for me though?  I gotta be honest; it was the price tag.  The tickets started out for less, but eventually they went up to $85 per person.  It's not that I couldn't afford it; I just wasn't sure enough that I wanted to even go in the first place to cough up that much money.  After all, I figured if it was like the last one, then I definitely wouldn't be getting my money's worth.  Plus, I'm not really all that into formal events.  I don't like dressing up, and I've managed to make it 38 years without owning a suit.  Crap, I used to own some ties, but I have no idea where they are now.  I didn't want to go out and buy clothes for it either.

Still, I hadn't completely committed to not going, and I was still on the fence about the whole thing until I saw the announcement for the informal reunion at Skipolini's.  No admission fee?  Informal?  Pizza?  I can do that.  I figured that even if I didn't have a good time, I could get the heck out of there early and not feel like it was a waste.  Plus, most of the folks that I wanted to see were planning on going to that, so I was set.

All in all, I had a really great time.  While I didn't stay as late as others, I did stay past eleven, which is pretty late considering that I can barely make it to nine ever since Daylight Savings ended.  My only regret is that there were some folks there whom I would have liked to talk to more, but I didn't get a chance to do so.  Sure, I could probably get a chance if I went to the official reunion, but it's pretty obvious that I still wouldn't get to reminisce with everybody that I wanted even with another day.  Plus, it was interesting because when I went back home, I looked through my old yearbook.  I had felt that I saw a lot of people, but then it dawned on me how many people I did NOT see!  I'm not even sure if a lot of those people are coming to the real reunion.  (Oh, I should also point out that a big plus was that the pizza was free!  Apparently there was some money left over from all the admission tickets that were sold for tonight's reunion.  No such thing as free pizza?  Not in my world, pal.)

And while I hate to admit it, I should probably confess that one of the reasons why I didn't have a problem socializing is because I had a couple of beers before going, and then I continued to have them as the night went on.  I was no doubt loud and using more curse words than I normally do, but otherwise I might have just sat in a dark corner.  And no, I didn't drink to the point of getting sick, and I didn't have a hangover.

I wanted to start this off by saying something about my general feelings about high school.  I realize that there are some people who are stuck in the past, forever reminiscing about those days (and honestly, nobody specific is springing to mind - I'm just assuming that must apply to somebody at least).  There are also others who hated high school and want absolutely nothing that even hints at reliving those days.  (This description might actually come close to some folks that I know.)  Most folks probably fit somewhere in between.

As for myself, I enjoyed high school.  I had a lot of friends who complained about how awful it was and how they couldn't wait to get away from it, but I never did that.  However, as the years go by it all just starts to feel more and more distant.  Was it the best time of my life?  No.  Was it the worst?  Definitely not.  It was a period of my life with mostly good memories, but I don't feel any more attached to them than any other time in my life.  Still, it was great to see some familiar faces, and I genuinely do hope to see some of them again sometime soon.  I don't think that I'll regret not going to tonight's party, and that would be true even if it wasn't for last night's unofficial reunion.  Still, I'm thankful that the Skipolini's event was arranged, and I'm glad that I went to it.

EDIT:  My wife has just informed me that we left at about 9:30.  I am lame and old.


Nolan said...

Yeah, but how did JT behave? And Scott Harris...was he there, or what? And that one guy, Earl J Pickard, Jr., or something like that. Did he show?

Nolan said...

And Tom Sawyer! What's with that guy? I bet he had some stories to tell!

Lance Christian Johnson said...

JT behaved as far as I know. Scott was there. Earl J. Pickard was the life of the party. No sign of Sawyer anywhere.