Through my Glass Darkly

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I am still thinking about the events of Saturday.

I don't like when my world view gets shaken or disturbed. I don't like when I am sure the things I know are maybe not so sure. That maybe what I know isn't entirely true.

We all have our high school origin stories. I mean, isn't that part of what makes us ...US? Part of what shaped our world view - our own private Breakfast Club experiences?

In some strange way, walking into that reunion was like stepping onto a movie set. I knew my lines and role inside and out. I knew everyone else's roles too. I knew who would talk to me and who would keep their distance.

I knew, most of all, that I needed a drink.

My social anxiety was palpable. Legs twitching and bouncing on the car drive down to the event, Terrance kept asking me why I was so nervous.

"I don't know ", I kept telling him, "I just AM."

As we approached the restaurant, I curled my arms into my husband, matching him step for step. Someone pulled up and beeped a horn. I ignored them, all intent on being a stealth reunion attendee - hiding under the arm of the only black guy in obvious sight. Military Tactician, I am not.

And then we were inside. Up the stairs into the loud, puzzling music choices.

We checked in. Terrance and I had our usual scuffle about my adding his last name to mine on name tags. I tend NOT to add it, and he would like it added. I told him that I wanted my last name added to HIS if he forced me to hyphenate. I stayed Dawn Rouse on the name tag.

There was hugging. People I was genuinely hoping to see spotted me - classmates I became friends with after college and had moved back to Rutland for a couple of years. There was a much needed glass of Merlot. There was me telling people that I lived in Montreal - Yes, Montreal. No, I did not speak much French, but was quite happy. No, seriously, everyone in Montreal does not speak French - there is a whole Anglo side and I am enrolled in an English speaking University. Listen buddy - I have now told you three times that we don't all speak French. I mean, I can order from a menu decently and do shopping and understand and respond to basic requests - but long philosophical discussions in French? No. Non.

There was me saying - Yes, an almost PhD. Yes, a daughter who is ten. Yes, A blogger. Distilling twenty years into questions and answers.

There was me talking with people I kind of wished I had been better friends with in high school - People that I knew, but really didn't know. And then, I did it.

A woman walked up to me and said Hello. I glanced at her and resumed my conversation with her now significant other - a guy who my high school boyfriend had lived with for while. At the time, I thought nothing of it. It was perfectly normal for me to disregard this woman. She was to be ignored because I viewed her as a threat to my status in the high school hierarchy. I did exactly what I did 20 years ago. Glance. Say nothing - pretend you aren't there - resume conversation with more important person.

Of course, we were also fucking the same person for a little while between high school and college. Not at the same time, I think ( but with this guy, it is perfectly possible). I am not sure if she knows or knew that. It isn't entirely important except to say that my pathological need to be Most, Best or Beloved can supersede my humanity. All I can say is that I am sorry for being such a royal Bitch, Abby Timbers. It is not you - it is me. I own it, entirely. My fears can make me a person I don't like very much.

Then to have Jill St Peter tell me that I was impossibly cool in high school and scared the hell out of her? What the ever loving fuck?

No! No! There can be no revision of my self image as wounded loner, cast out by her peers in 7th grade and forced to forage a social life for the remaining years of high school. I was NOT cool. I was weird and quirky and ....well, lots of other things.SHE was cool - tall and slim and athletic. Every thing I could never be...

Maybe by the time my 30th reunion rolls around, I will have matured enough to say these things to these peers of mine. I hold out hope for myself. After all, I went didn't I?

9 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

You are one up on me - I have never attended a high school reunion, it gives me a stomach ache just to consider it. My husband was mr. BMOC and LOVED high school, so he just does not get it. I would rather be nibbled to death by ducks than show up at Brewster - they hate me, and if they don't then I can't hate them and that would SUCK!

jeanie said...

I have been to two - but then, I went to boarding school so (a) I lived with most of them for up to 5 years, and (b) there was little boy stuff to create too much bitchy behaviour.

The most telling thing at my last reunion was how many had suffered miscarriages and my biggest nemisis had one of her children die from SIDS the week she brought a new baby home - it really humanised the whole affair.

Debbie said...

just that you managed to get your ass there is impressive as fuck to me, D.

I bow to you and your ovaries of brass.

Jaelithe said...

I keep wanting to tell you that I just went to my 10th reunion in May and had such an interesting experience there myself. But then I fear you will mock me for being so young. But I just told you anyway. So, yeah. I went to my 10th reunion. And it was weird. I was one of only three people in my class who've had a kid so far. That was all anyone wanted to talk to me about. "But, you have a kid? But that's so WEIRD." Like I was an alien or something. I'm all like, "So, yeah, I accidentally interviewed Senator Obama the other week on this blog I write for," and all they could say was "You have a kid! That's so weird!"

Just once, I should have said to someone, "I am aware that I have functioning ovaries. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I fully understand your need for an alcoholic beverage as soon as you walked thru the door. Unfortunately, I was on the wagon at the one and only reunion I attended. I've come to the conclusion that I would have had a much better time had I been drinking!
Hate to burst your bubble but you were a cool kid ("Hey has anybody seen my Sweet Gypsy Rose"), a cool teen (How you loved C.L. and emulated her Look) and now you are a cool adult (Blogger Extra Ordinem (Latin, look it up)). That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for attending your reunion. I have one coming up and have found myself stressing about the 25lbs. I have been meaning to lose before I can attend mine. My new resolution is that if I lose 25lbs. it will be for me and not the bunch of ass wipes I went to school with. The people I will go to see will not care what I look like. I was not surprised to see that you wrote about your self reflections, post-reunion. I am not sure we ever know how we fit in then, and furthermore, now. Our images of ourselves are distorted by so many factors that are not seen by others and sometimes we do not give ourselves enough credit for the good things that others see in us, then and now. Thank that relentless husband of yours for dragging your ass there. Each phase of our life, be it high school, college, is a distinct piece of who we are, whether the experience was good or bad. Sometimes our own personal history, though we may shun it, is not a bad thing.

Mitzi Green said...

not a bad experience, it sounds, but i'd still rather eat broken glass than go to my own 20th in 2 years--if it actually happens, that is. we STILL haven't had a reunion. or maybe they had one and "forgot" to invite me, just like the old days... ;)

Fraulein N said...

You went, which is more than I'll ever be able to say for myself.

Anonymous said...

You remain my hero and inspiration...

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