Ah, my high school reunion. It was a mixture of change and stagnancy.
Superficially speaking, the women from Palmetto age much more gracefully than the men.
Analytically speaking, some people never really grow much after a certain age. Weird.
The gig was at a country club in Palmetto (hahaha, who would’ah thought PALmetto had one of those???!). And despite the dress request of “country club attire,” many of those good ol’ boys just won’t leave their home in anything but a pair of Wranglers and a Stetson cowboy hat. Yes, this is the town I grew up in. Small town folks. Rednecks. Racists. Bigots. Homophobes. Misogynists. And people who scoff at smart folks.
The sight of men in blue jeans (and a couple of accompanying women) actually worked in my favor because compared to most of the women there, I was underdressed. Comfortable, yet under dressed in my vintage gray men’s dress slacks, “nice” fitted yellow T-shirt, and coolest pair of olive green shoes I’ve ever owned. These shoes have history.
My clothes and tattoos were my shield in a way. At least that is how I felt. The only person outside my table of “today-friends” who I reconnected with was a women who in high school was lovingly dubbed with the nickname, “Weirdo.” Her husband was really cool, too. So fitting! We hung out and talked, she showed me pictures of her beautiful kids and we tore it up a little on the dance floor.
Naturally, being surrounded by old class mates reminded me of high school. I can’t really fault people for grouping into the same clicks they were in during those four years of hell because, well, that is what a class reunion is for: reconnecting with old friends. However, a lot of the feelings I experienced in high school that, for all intensive purposes left me with age, showed up for a quick visit. Feelings of being marginalized, awkward but liked, and a little insecure.
I couldn’t get drunk enough to actually talk with anyone because in my mind, they probably wouldn’t be interesting to me, anyway. Yes. I’m an intellectual snob like that. Heh, without any reason to be.
In high school I talked all the time, just not about anything real. It was all shits and giggles and now as an adult, I’m all about “real” conversations. Anyone who knows me knows I have a really hard time with BS conversations. AKA: small talk. Some of the people that I would have liked to sit and talk with were busy reminiscing the past with their other old friends. I found myself sitting with the few people I know from high school who I still have love for. People who I speak with as the person I am now – not then. I hate getting together with an old friend and reminiscing about our history without getting to know who that person is today.
In high school I was one of those people I’ll refer to as a “social floater.” I was well liked by every other female, ignored by every male unless we were joking around or he wanted to talk to me about his girlfriend or one of my friends that he wanted to hook up with (I’ve always been the ugly friend), but in general I got along with everyone. During the reunion those feelings of being a social floater with no grounding in one particular group came back. My friends are the outcasts who every one likes but no one knows. Just like me.
Today, I realized my moments of social awkwardness during the reunion had more (if not everything) to do with the fact that I was tipsy on wine. I’m not use to feeling buzzed. It didn’t have the same affect on me that it would have if I was a weekend wine drinker, or something. Normally, at least in recent times, I have been tipsy or drunk in the company of close friends, family, or just my hubby. That has happened, like twice this year. I am a sober person all the time… Anyway, I’m thinking about this too much. You get the point. The wine didn’t loosen me up like it would have under more familiar circumstances.
I’m glad I went. And it felt even better to leave. When I woke up Sunday morning with my little girl smiling her big morning smile as she coo’d, “I love you mommy,” into my eyes, I felt such inner peace. As I crawled into Max’s bed to hang out with my sleepy husband and little boy before we started our morning rituals, I felt in my skin.
My naturally neurotic mind wants to over-analyze the sights and sounds of that crazy night but really… it is what it is…
And let me tell you, I am glad it is over. There were so many different things that offended me about the event. The e-mail assuming that we were ALL either married, with kids, or with a mortgage. Because you know, NO ONE from Palmetto could possibly be gay, single, without kids, or a free spirit who doesn’t want to buy a house! Or what about the condescending e-mail telling everyone that “country club attire is REQUIRED,” and that we shouldn’t be so stupid as to wear “shorts and T-shirts.” Gah. Or, how about being bullied into sitting down before dinner and then having some pastor guy TELLING everyone to “bow your heads and be quite” because it was time to pray. What. The. Fuck. I know, right… because EVERYONE from Palmetto MUST be Christian. Or, at least a Christian who thinks it is appropriate to be SLOSHED and pray for “forgiveness for our sins” at the same time. If I hadn’t been in such a state of shock at the inappropriateness of a prayer to Jesus at a class reunion, I would have had my wits about me, gotten up and made a bee-line to the buffet. I hate this town.
Damn, that ended sourly.