Saturday, July 30, 2011

I've Loved These Days

I thought I'd recognize
more of my old classmates
The e-mail promoting my high school's 25-year reunion went out awhile ago so I had plenty of time to get used to the idea.  It's not so much the reunion part, but the 25 years.  25 years.  That's the kind of number you say over and over, as if it'll somehow get easier to comprehend with repetition the same way words lose their meaning when you hear them constantly. Has it really been 25 years since we were in high school?

Personal milestones of time are always put into perspective alongside other historical milestones.  1986: space shuttle explosion, Chernobyl, Sweden's Prime Minister assassinated (okay, I looked that one up).  But what really makes 25 years sound like such a long time is the fact that I work with people who weren't born when I graduated.  A kid born in 1986 could have grown up and graduated high school in less time.  I think I really feel old for the first time in my life.  Well for the first time since last Wednesday, anyway.

Say John, will you tape my
buns together in 25 years?
1986 was the perfect time to go to school as far as John Hughes movies go.  His so called "high school series" took place when I was in high school.  The movies still resonate with students today but they can't appreciate them they way we did.  It's almost like the characters in those movies were us.  Okay, I didn't know a Long Duk Dong but I could definitely relate to the angst of a Brian Johnson.  At the end of "The Breakfast Club," Brian wonders if their new friendship will last into Monday.  I wonder what they'd say to each other after 25 years.  I can imagine the anxiety each one of them would feel (except Bender, who would show up with a Turkey Pot Pie).

Time rears its ugly head.
What the members of the Breakfast Club didn't know was that there would be an internet within 25 years.  That internet would take away any nostalgia they may have for their high school years because the very real possibility of never seeing classmates again would disappear with Facebook, or even  The usual surprise of seeing who looks like what, who's successful, who just got out of prison, who changes sexes is rendered irrelevant because Facebook has allowed us to reconnect and stay connected.  Even the 80s music being played wasn't so nostalgic because you can hear it whenever you want on any one of a zillion internet sites.

But still, I saw the list of people attending and after realizing I didn't remember as many people as I thought I did, I wondered what I'd say to people I haven't seen in a quarter of a century?  Neither one of those had the influence of any social media at all.  The 25th was hyped for months.  In fact, it seemed like most people said they'd go once they saw other people that were going.  Without that, who knows who would have made the effort to go.  Who knows how many people would even have found out about it?  There was a lightly-attended 10-year reunion and I missed the 20th because I didn't know about it until after the fact.  The explosion of social media made it pretty hard to be unaware of it this time.

And it turned out to be a really great night.  The girl I had a crush on in 2nd grade was there but we didn't speak.  The girl I had a crush on in 6th grade was there too, but she never knew.  She knew she was there, she didn't know I had a crush on her.  Or maybe she did.  Anyway, it didn't seem to make our conversation awkward at all.  There was the girl I could have sworn would remember me but didn't.  But she did once she saw my yearbook photo and said I look so much better now.  But she said "so" in that way that implies I looked pretty bad in high school, with 3 or 4 "o"s (sooooo).  I reconnected with a few military heroes and even a Catholic who teaches at an Orthodox school in New Jersey (which will be the plot for my next screenplay).  I didn't solve the mystery of the woman who signed my yearbook hoping that I would't be mad at her anymore.  Neither one of us knew what it meant.  I guess I got over it.

The reunion went on for days afterwards as attendees posted photos and non-attendees posted their regrets for having missed such a great party.  They all said they'd definitely be there for the 30th.  30 years.  That's the kind of number you say over and over, as if it'll somehow...well anyway, that's five years from now.  You know what?  I can't wait.

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