Walking the Plank

You can run, but you can't hide.

Whassup Highland Park High School Class of 2005 reunion? Yep, for ye who think I look barely old enough to be out of high school, the truth is that I left the land of the HPHS Giants 10 years ago. Yes, I'm that old.

What would a blog be, if not a forum to vent my innermost thoughts, fears and apprehensions about facing people who knew me at my most fluid and confused? Last night I reminisced with a friend that my first official "date" involved a maroon J crew rollneck sweater, jeans, and burgundy army boots. My, how far we've come. Too bad the aformentioned date (Aaron) didn't go to my high school, or he might note my asthetic progress.

In the end, I think reunions are somewhat of the fender-bender that we can't avoid looking at alongside the highway. You don't want to, you know it's wrong, but your curiosity simply will not let you pass with blinders on. It's the definition of a 'see and be seen' event. The folks who aren't going (as a moral choice rather than a logistical one) are probably not happy where they are. They're not ready for this adult Show n Tell session. But I ask you, does it get worse than flannels and pegged jeans and crunchy hair and braces and posters in your locker (I don't care of what) and spending inordinate amounts of time and energy on a French class video? No. So as I see it, I really have nothing to lose.

I set foot on my high school grounds earlier this year when I went as a professional speaker. That was weird, but it definitely helped me ease into the process of responding affirmatively to the reunion evite. An invite that might as well have read "Come. Drink with people who you never would have split a bottle of Zima with in 1993, and sink cocktails until one of you is sober enough to admit a crush... with the other's spouse standing by! Fun for everyone!". Because you know that's what's going to happen.

(Ps- if you guessed that I'd put on hair metal tunes to inspire this entry as I write, you are so right. You are also probably my sister. What's up WARRANT?)

I'm not quite sure why I'm going. I'm definitely not going to show off arm candy (or finger adornments) of any sort. (A few drinks and I might flash a bellyring, though...) Truth is, I'm as single as I was when I sweat through Trigonometry class trying to figure out who I'd con into going to Winter Formal with me. Except the guys I got to go to date parties with me are probably all married now. But I used to wear singleness (singularity? Can we please find a good word for this?) as a scarlet letter. Now it's more of a passing phase. It's a "Yeah, I'm a free "agent" -- ha ha, wink wink.

The nerd in me found an outlet. I got the same law degree 50% of my class probably has, but I found a job I love. I wake up every morning and love where I live. I am way more athletic than I was when the gym teachers of HPHS scared me around the field or whatever. I actually run by choice, and I have a body that need not be hidden under oversized tee shirts. I may not even look much different than I did in high school, but I feel alot better than I did then. And I guess that's part of it, right? Because all these people are going to come back fat and balding and over-made-up, and they're all going to feel better. A lot of people will have traded in better looks for a healthy dose of self confidence. Me, I took care of the Eyebrow Situation. And yes, I'm ready to fly 2000 miles to show that shit off.

I guess I'm going to my reunion because I don't hate myself anymore. Teenagedom has passed. Awkwardness is gone. And I'm looking forward to meeting people through the eyes of the real me. Ok, and I am SO ready to totally judge them through those eyes too.

I wonder what happened to the assholes from my science classes. I wonder what happened to the guy who farted on my head when I was taking books out of my locker. I wonder who has stayed friends; if the friendships that rolled four girls deep (hello Mean Girls) as they strolled the hallways have dissolved. I mean, surely they have, but I wanna SEE!

Ok, before anyone else calls me out on it, there's also a matter of a boy (there is probably more than one, but I've long since shelved my yearbooks, so who knows who will pop up?). I'd be lying if I said (and God knows I don't even try to say) that I'm not curious about him. He's definitely the (gorgeous) face I'll scan for in the crowd. Unfortunately, everyone who has known me since high school will be watching me do that scan, but whatever- you live once.

I have certain associations with people and I can't wait to see where they ended up. Did the ridiculously smart math guy end up at NASA? Probably not. But for the mere price of a $270 flight, I can find out what happened to him. The nosepicker (collected in jars, as I recall) -- is he an ENT now? The pretty pom pon girls; did they stay pretty? Do they still wear nude tights with their sneakers per Pom Pon instruction? So many answers in one small evening. And an open bar. Man, they knew how to lure me.

It's one of those things where I have no idea what I'm looking for, but I'll know when I find it.

At the very least, I'm hoping to get back on the plane to CA with total closure. Closure is selling your house. Closure is going back to Chicago to visit and not stopping through Highland Park. But I want TOTAL closure. 60035 is just a number to me now; a distant memory of a starting point far in the distance. For a night I'm going to hover over that starting line and see what lessons I can glean from the experience. Then I'm going to walk away. For real this time.

And if I end up at Cloverdale Park at 1 a.m. with a six pack of Icehouse, yes, you can say you told me so.


Anonymous said...

i am confused by your multiple comment forms. please rectify the situation or i will tell dad that you really were a child lesbian.
again, mark my words about TT.