As you probably know, we’re off to my 20-year high school reunion soon, which is an exciting prospect because high school, in spite of the constant low-grade trauma of adolescence, was a fun time for me, mostly because of the people. I know that many people have a fear of reunions, but I figure that my adolescence is (mostly) gone, so this will be an event with none of the trauma, just the fun of the people.
We’ll have plenty of simple questions to ask each other, no commitment to each other, and some common fuzzy memories to reminisce over. It’ll be like MySpace for old people. Seriously, it will be better than that, but there were approximately 400 in our graduating class, so it’s not like we were all best friends, even when we saw each other every day. A long time ago we knew each other for a short period of time, and while I felt close at the time to many of them, I also realize now how little I knew about them–or about myself, for that matter.
So it’s not like there’s going to be a chair-throwing fight, or even a break-dance battle on the floor–are you kidding? someone would blow a hip out–it’s going to be a bunch of acquaintances getting together to reminisce with souls sympathetic to their love of all things 80’s. But I won’t lie to you, there is a bit of that giddy excitement, like there would be before a high school dance, fueled now as it was then by the nervousness: What’s it going to be like? Who’s going to be there? What will we talk about?
Just like then, it will be a large room, full of people, all kinds, and just like then, there’s no way to know what will happen. But, with the invites going out by e-mail, it’s possible to see who’s on the list, and with Google, it’s possible to see what (some) people have been up to. So let the pre-reunion stalking begin . . .
It turns out that my classmates have plenty to talk about. Speaking of Google, for example, one of them could talk about how Google started in her garage, which has led to articles in my now-local paper that feature quarter-page pictures of her. It’s so cool to open up the paper on a Sunday and see that she’s doing so well. Not that I had any doubt that she would. Then there are the people who, if they start talking about their work, will force me to go get drinks while Mama holds up the conversation, as she can do intelligently on any topic, including bioentrepreneurship, or high-powered research physics at a national lab, because Mama is inherently brilliant and I’m just some dude. There will be some kindred blogging spirits there, although at least one has taken her blog pro, publishing a book that’s based on her blog.
As I was reading those bios to Mama, she interrupted and asked if I was intimidated by them. No. I was in class with these people–granted, I was the one playing gin rummy at the back of AP Physics while they were clearly paying closer attention–so I knew that these are the kinds of places that they were headed to. It’s what I expected they, and all my classmates, would be doing. But intimidated? No. Like me, they’re all just some dude or dudette; they’ve got kids, they’ve got dogs or cats, they have fascinating hobbies. They aren’t just the lists of achievements in their bios.
Besides, it was the 80’s and I know what clothes they used to wear and what music they used to listen to, as they do about me. With that in mind, we can’t be expected to take each other that seriously. But I do have one question for all of them: When did we go from being a brain and an athlete and a basket case and a princess and a criminal to being these guys?