Friday, May 26, 2006

High School High

It started with the mail. A simple, unassuming envelope, with my name on the front in neat, bold script. Harmless enough, until I opened it. It took me a second to register what I was reading.

"Can you believe it's been ten years....."

I promptly balled it up and threw it in the garbage, resolved not to give it a second thought. Then the emails started.

"This is just to remind you...."
"It wouldn't be the same without you...."
"Don't forget to reserve your space...."

They'd slipped in quietly, along with the Viagra ads and the home loan offers. They were there, in my inbox, waiting to pounce. They'd found me. I don't know how, but they'd found me.

The high school reunion committee.

I couldn't wait to graduate high school. I went to four different schools in four years. The last one, the one I graduated from was where I spent the most time. It was in a nice neighborhood and was mostly attended by middle- to upper-class students who lived in the surrounding area. It was a good school, part of the reason my parents chose the neighborhood they did. In those days, no one had heard of the Trench Coat Mafia. There were no metal detectors, no bomb threats, rarely even a fight. It was the average all-American high school. In a word: boring.

So who was I in high school? It might be easier to tell you who I was not. I wasn't a cheerleader, I didn't play any sports. (I tried out for the softball team once but that's a humiliation I'd rather forget.) I didn't go to pep rallies or football games. I wasn't a band geek or a ROTC (pronounced Rot-cee). I wasn't weird enough for the artsy kids who were in drama club and wore capes to school. I wasn't misunderstood enough for the loners who wore combat boots and black nail polish.

I wasn't voted Best Dressed or Most Likely to Succeed. I didn't take part in the Miss Aquila pageant. (Do other high schools have beauty pageants? Ours did. For the guys too.) I wasn't on the yearbook committee or the school paper. I wasn't in BETA club (Okay, I was but I got kicked out for not doing my community service.) or on the homecoming committee. I skipped the senior booze cruise and the prom.

I didn't cut class or get into fights or get drunk at parties on weekends. I didn't hang out behind the gym, passing joints with the stoners. I didn't wear my pants low like the skaters or shop at the GAP like the preppy kids. I didn't have a ton of friends. Most people didn't even know my name. I was one of those in-between people, drifting between cliques but never a part of something larger. I was a ghost, biding my time until it was over and I could move on to something else.

High school, for me, was a mostly forgettable experience. The idea of a reunion doesn't appeal to me much. Am I curious about what's happened to these people? A little, at least the ones I remember. I'm curious to see what kind of people they've become now, what direction life has taken them. How they've adjusted to being a small person in a big world. You hear stories about how some people reach their peak in high school and for some of them, I think that was true. As for me, I'm still waiting for the peak but that's okay. It means the best is still to come.

**Yes, that is my actual high school yearbook photo. What can I say, I was going through an awkward phase. Hell, I still am.


Blogger Voix said...

Kapow, sister.

You are so awesome. It's the people in the margins that are the bravest, you know. The ones who need to stand out in some way or another (and I include myself here) just parade around so everyone can see their insecurities.

Nice piece.

5/27/2006 7:31 AM  
Blogger Justin Evans said...

If you have read my page with any regularity, you know I am not at all enthusiastic about the prospect of my 20th reunion later this Fall. In three short months, it will be 20 years since I entered my senior year in 1986 for the '86-87 school year.

Part of my problem is I tried too much to belong. I tried and failed.

Enough. Any more and it will be a post rather than a comment.

5/27/2006 7:42 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Michele, thank you. I consider that a compliment from the highest source.

Justin, at least you tried to fit in. I tried to disappear and I'm not so sure that was the best thing.

The point is, are you happy with who you are now?

5/27/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger J Malcolm said...

High school I was invisible. I couldn't even get published in the high school poetry article in the paper. well :P to them all. I consoled myself then by thinking that all they wanted was high school crap for their high school crap paper. I think I was right.

Glad to see you writing again. You were sorely missed.

5/27/2006 12:17 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

:P to them all indeed, especially those early peakers. They're usually the ones with the most regrets.

Nice to know I was missed by the way. There are so few people who appreciate truly crap writing these days. ;)

5/27/2006 12:28 PM  
Blogger willowtree said...

It's nice you got an invitation. I got an email saying "Can you believe it has been ten years..." (I guess they read the same book of greetings) "We want to present a gift to the school, please send $300 to this address".
I wrote an entry about it, but I havent had the courage to post it, because Im just reminded of how I can't afford that $300. Oh well.
I really enjoyed reading this. Ill stop by again.

5/27/2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

$300 bucks? They only wanted $50 for mine. Maybe you went to a way better school than I did.

5/28/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

You have a great blog, by the way.

5/28/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger willowtree said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I don't think I went to a better school. I think...well I think three things. 1)They're greedier
2) Very few of the people that I went to high school with are married or has a family (it's very unusual- creepy almost). They spend all of their time working or studying, so they have the $$$.
3) There were only 30 or 32 people in the class. They still could have raised a nice bit of money if they only asked for $100 each, and make it up to the person to give more if they wanted. Eh- what do I know? I've fallen far out of touch with all of them. It's quite a shame.

6/10/2006 5:34 AM  

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