Played Hooky On My High School Reunion

I ruined my perfect attendance this past weekend. I decided earlier this year that I was not going to my high school’s 50th anniversary / reunion party. I was skipping it to do laundry and clean the fish tank and…oh, what the hell. I didn’t want to go.

It’s not that I had a terrible time in high school…It was much better than my experience in elementary school, in fact: I had friends, I wasn’t bullied, I didn’t flunk out. I had some good times…and not so good times. I got my heart broken, had some friendship fallouts and made some close friends with unlikely allies. I have no hard feelings towards anyone and generally look back at the whole experience as decent.

It’s just that in certain scenarios, sometimes you should leave and never look back. I feel like my high school reunion is one of those times.

I flew under the radar in high school: never joined any clubs except Yearbook, and was pathetically unathletic, so sports were out. I did have a decent group of friends back then…not that I really keep up with or communicate with them today. And obviously I didn’t make much of an impact on some of them because someone posted pics of me at a party from that time on Facebook and mis-tagged me as someone else. So it goes.

The friendships made in high school are thought to be long-lasting, but in my life, I knew differently. Coming from a city in Northern Ontario that had no perceived charms for youth, many of us had dreams of getting “outta dodge” and moving away, myself included. My graduating class split in all different directions geographically. I kept in touch with a few of them for a few years, but it takes effort to keep friends. If the friendship on either end is not reciprocating the effort, it becomes too much work to keep it going, and you start taking your cues from each other. For whatever reason, some friendships slowly fade into the night, until you find your long lost friend on social media fifteen years later.

Facebook has made our world smaller and less mysterious. Years after I left high school, I wondered what became of so-and-so. But, when I joined Facebook in 2007, I got my answer. There was a class reunion of sorts happening over the internet. Almost everyone from my graduating class was on Facebook. I became Facebook friends with a lot of them, and caught up briefly with them. Soon enough there isn’t much more to say except for a silent update that includes pics of your dog, and sharing that article from Cracked. This happens, as the common thread with them is High School alone. Since then, that thread has unfurled into different directions.

Eventually time passes, you’re unfriended or they’ve shut their Facebook account down. You never did get around to exchanging numbers, and maybe some fleeting polite effort was made to “hang” sometime. But you know, in all likelihood, except for a small intimate group of people, you will never see most of these people again, and that’s no sweat. We are adults now, and with every year that passes, we are moving further away from our collective high school experience. Our memories are forever epitomized in the pages of old dusty yearbooks. And to that, I say cheers and Godspeed.

 

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12 comments

  1. Nice blog to read! I did keep a couple of friends from high school, and though we don’t see each other a lot, we do try to get together twice a year. I did go to a reunion some years ago, only to find out that where my friends were super exited at seeing everyone and meeting teachers again, for me it wasn’t the same. I recognize what you write about flying under the radar..most former classmates couldn’t quite remember my name. And in turn I didn’t recognize half of them. I guess for some people it’s a very important period in their lives, some might say the best time of their lives. But for me it was good, but it has only gotten better since!

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  2. We are still in touch. Even though I live very far away I probably wouldn’t have considered going to that reunion if I lived closer. I feel the same about not feeling the need to relive my high school years. In hindsight it wasn’t that much fun except for making yearbooks.

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  3. I don’t think my highschool has had a reunion yet. I don’t know. I’m sure somebody would have told me. I’m still good friends with a couple people from high school. And strangely enough, due to social media, we’ve actually gotten to know each other better.

    Grade school reunion, I missed. That’s the one I wanted to be at. Just to look the bullies in the eye.

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  4. I’m with you on this one, despite being by far the most sporty, successful and popular person EVER to have attended my school, I’ve never had an urge to do this.

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  5. Well said Sarca – I remember one of my classmates had the following as their yearbook quote, “I went to high school. So did you. We have a lot in common.” And with a lot of my high school peers, that probably sums it up.
    I have stayed in touch with a small group that gets together every few months – nice to have determined the true friends from the friends out of circumstance

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  6. I think I had an invite to some shindig for my high school, but I ignored it. I may still have been living in Saskatchewan at the time, making getting there impractical and giving me the perfect out. But even if I was in the neighbourhood, I wouldn’t have gone.

    Yes, I spent five years captive in that building with those people. That does not mean they have any hold on me, not then and surely not now. The ones I want to speak to from high school, I still do. The rest, I’m the same as you. I wish them well. But if I ran into them on the street today, after hello all we could say is “so, um, what have you been doing for the last 20 years of your life?” and the honest answer is: if we cared, we’d already know because we’d still be in touch. But we’re not, and I don’t feel any need to rekindle the non-existant anything that wasn’t there when we were captives together anyway, so see you later and good luck to you.

    It’s exactly why I don’t have a Facebook, and never will. I just know all those people would look me up and ping me or whatever you do on there and then after hello it’d be a whole lot of crap they find funny and cat pictures, but no real connection and a huge waste of my time that could be spent listening to (and writing about) records. No thanks.

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    1. Amen!
      I have ~20 friends from h.s.on FB, but we don’t hang, and really am not close with any of them. I used to post every day on FB too, but I am slowly losing interest in it.

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  7. This is pretty much exaactly how I feel about my own – high school was fun at the time, but I didn’t hang on to any of those friendships. It was a small school and though we thought of ourselves as tight at the time, maybe we made friends with whom we could. Now, out in the big, big world, I have a set of friends I do go out of my way to see. Old friends? I wish them well. Sometimes I tell them their babies are cute on Facebook, but when’s the last time I saw any of them? Years. And no real interest to do it again. Not for me.

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