Facebook has enabled a lot of different things, like keeping in touch with friends, stalking old flames, trash talking family, annoying people with your status and passively aggressively handling random friend requests, but I think the thing that is most fascinating and horrifying at the same time is the way it makes the whole high school reunion thing so much more accessible and easy to plan.
Seriously, what is the point of having a reunion now that we have Facebook? I’ve already seen whether so-and-so is married or has kids and have rated both spouse and kids on my adorability scale. I kind of know what they do for a living, but more importantly, I know what they do every single day – in excruciating detail — and I’m over it. And YET – people are still planning the old-fashioned high school reunion – the ones where you have to go to some gym somewhere and try to look at least as good or better than you did 10 or 20 years before, while regaling people with all of the awesomeness your life has been since high school. (Which, by the way, is easy for me since my high school experience and awesomeness were mutually exclusive.*)
Before Facebook, I always felt that nobody could pay me to go back for a high school reunion, because of these very solid reasons:
a) My class had about 800 people in it. I only knew the names of about 200 of them and I only remain in close contact with 2 of them, so the odds of me running into someone I’d be truly happy to see are approximately 2 in 800. No, I take that back. The 2 people I know would not be there, so its 0/800. Not good odds.
b) There is nothing I abhor more than having forced, awkward conversations with strangers, which is exactly how I imagine a reunion going down.
c) In order to cope with a. and b., I would require a blood alcohol level of at least 0.10 upon walking in, but by then I would be in the state where I tell everybody exactly what I think of them. Which, sometimes works out great, but mostly doesn’t.
d) Upon leaving, I would probably blow a 0.12 or 0.14, meaning I would have blacked out around the first conversation I started and not have remembered a damn thing for the rest of the night, and would only wonder the next day how much of an ass I made of myself and to whom. There would probably be pictures. And they would be on Facebook, and I would feel as awkward and lame as I did every damn day I was actually in high school.
e) I have no vendettas against anyone, so I can’t go hoping to tell them off and flash some bling and tell them how great my life is and hope theirs sucks. I honestly don’t really care about what happened to people — not in a mean way — I hope they have good lives, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me either way. And I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual.
f) Okay, fine. If I were Oprah, I would totally go. But only if I got to fly in on my helicopter. And my dogs were invited. Then I would go. But see, I’m not Oprah. So…
So I hope I’ve made a pretty good case for why I just blew off my 15 year reunion last month. Some kid in our class decided to plan one, via Facebook, at a park that was supposed to be kind of informal. Show up at a park anywhere from noon to seven. Bring your own food and beer. No guidance on whether to bring kids/spouses, etc. Just show up. The little Facebook invitation let me reply that “maybe” I would go. I live nearby, so going wouldn’t have required traveling or reservations or even directions. But I have principles. And for the reasons stated above, I would never go to a reunion, the same way I will never get bangs again.
BUT, Facebook has mellowed me a little bit. People were a lot scarier and meaner at 15 than they seem to be today. And if I’m being honest, I did briefly think about breaking my rule and I did suggest to one of my two high school friends that we might want to go. She was very non-committal. Then I think she said she had to go the Farmer’s Market or some lame excuse that day – which I can understand. So I took that as a “no” for me going with someone to the reunion, which meant if I went, it would be just me, by myself. It wasn’t looking good for the reunion.
But there was a part of me that tried to psyche myself up for the thing: “if you do this, then you’re showing you have matured since high school. We’re all supposed to be adults now. I’m sure there are plenty of fake nice people you forgot about for a good reason who will be very pleasant to have an awkward, unnecessarily long conversation with. You could talk about your family nobody cares about except you, or your job you hate, or your blog you haven’t told anyone about, or how much you hated the good old days of high school.” That wasn’t very effective, so I tried a different tack with myself: “Look, just finish off a half bottle of wine beforehand. That’ll take you what? Six minutes? How bad would it be?” To which my mind replied to itself, “HOW BAD COULD IT BE?! It could be a fucking nightmare! Are you kidding me? What if I show up and I know absolutely nobody? And nobody knows me?” To that, my optimistic side said, “If that happens, you could just pretend you’re just a random person holding a half-drunk bottle of wine in a paper bag that happened to be in the park and then call BD to turn the car around and come pick you up. No damage done.” The retort: “Hmm. No. Fuck no.”
So I didn’t go. Because I have PRINCIPLES and I made an important promise to myself at my high school graduation that I would never forget what a bad idea it would be to come to a reunion one day. And I kept that promise to myself , which I guess just shows the depth of my character and strength of my willpower. I proved that I learned my lesson the time I broke the 1990 rule about never getting bangs again. I was able to remember back to the pain and suffering of Bad Decision 2003: “Agreeing with Hairdresser that Bangs Might Look Cool.” I paid dearly for that one. Dearly. So at the end of the day, I had integrity. I was totally not a pussy for not going. I’M NOT. I mean, I wasn’t!! Really.
And anyway, I think it must have turned out incredibly lame because not a single high school Facebook friend posted a status or pictures from this great reunion, so I’m assuming they are all pussies exactly like me and didn’t go, or they did go and then had their spouse or their mom that they still live with pick them up 5 minutes later, or they went and they didn’t really feel like posting a status about going to a high school reunion that sucked balls. That is what I tell myself. I guess I can put this all behind me, until some asshole on Facebook decides to plan a 16 year reunion. Which will be awesome.
* I have decided to unearth my highschool journals so that I may retell some of my story in future posts. I have no doubt they will cause many to pee their pants and/or snort at the sort of shit that I got myself into. Sometimes even I forget why I hated high school, but I’m sure I will find very compelling arguments in those pages. Just have to tear apart the house first…