No, I will not be attending my fifteenth-annual high school reunion this Christmas, thanks. They always do them at Christmastime for my fancy-schmanscy little private high school that I was an underachiever at.
I was talking about it with Zorro Smitty, Sparrow, and Miss DeLoop the other day at dinner. See, we all went to high school together, along with a lot of other people you read about on this blog. The few people who are organizing this reunion are very crafty and concerted with their efforts. They will leave no stone unturned. They sent both Sparrow and Miss DeLoop somewhat personal messages urging them to come to the reunion. It was a little creepy.
Granted, only 80 people were in our graduating class, so we sorta knew everyone, but still. It’s weird when people who are not your friends pretend to be your friends to get something out of you. That’s manipulation. Sparrow got a message mentioning a run-in at a restaurant. That sounds like someone made a scene, but it wasn’t interesting at all. More like, “Oh, hi. It’s someone I know and don’t care about. I will pretend I care about you for two awkward minutes. Now I will be glad that’s over.” Poor Sparrow, she has the karma to run into every Tom, Dick and Harry from our school in New York and here in the Bay, so she really did see this person. I think I’ve run into people on accident once or twice ever. Miss DeLoop, she got a message about her “amazing profile pic” on Facebook, and how “we really need to catch up.” Yes, she is an aerial acrobat, and that’s pretty cool, but way to suck up, Miss Girl-Who-Never-Talked-to-Miss-DeLoop-in-High-School.
I did not get a personal message. I am not that special/approachable. Or maybe it’s because I kinda hit on the person who sent the message to me and he felt uncomfortable mentioning the only thing he remembered about me. “Hey Seer, remember when you said I was the best-looking guy at the ten-year reunion? Come to the fifteen-year and see that it’s still true! Yours–and I mean yours, Sparky.” Really, his name is something a lot like Sparky. And he was the best-looking guy there. It kinda helped that he was built like a Dickensian orphan in high school, all waifish and pale and wan and thin and short, and then all of the sudden, fifteen years later, he was all 6’5″ and lanky and hot. You go, Sparky, with your hot self. All my crew agreed he won the blue ribbon. I was just courageous and lecherous enough to award it to him in person. (I did not touch him or invade his personal space, and I did get the digits, but did not call him and can’t say why I didn’t. I just didn’t. Didn’t feel right.)
There was also a list of people who were MIA attached to the email I got. Included was a good friend I’m in regular contact with who I will never sell out (snitches get stitches), and someone who in high school was delusional–or who had a fantastic life. She said she was Jordan Knight’s girlfriend. One of the New Kids on the Block. Yeah. In high school. And she had this weird campaign at one point to get a concert going with Wilson Philips and the New Kids and someone else, and what she needed from the kids at school were postage stamps. Some kids actually believed her. It was really, really crazy. No, she was really, really crazy. I don’t understand how postage stamps will get a concert underway, but that was the ploy. And no, no concert ever happened. And she never returned those stamps she collected, either. We graduated in 1995, if you haven’t done the math yet, so her delusions were a little dated. Wilson Philips? Bitch, please. Get Ace of Base and Rick Astley while you’re at it, why don’t you? (They actually still played all this music while I worked at Nordstrom in 1995, sadly.)
These things, reunions I mean, are awful. None of my friends are there unless I make them all go. I already see all the people I want to see on the regular. There’s one person from high school I don’t see that I’d like to, and he won’t show up at these goddamned things. I think he lives in Sweden now. No, it’s just doctors and lawyers, people who looked like they swallowed themselves whole, and people showing that they’re good-looking and skinny now, so fuck you, you fat fucks. It’s a contest: who has the most amazing life now? Is it the doctor with the biggest practice? Or the lawyer who works for the Innocence Project because he gives back now even though his parents are richer than Pilate? Or the doctor married to the lawyer with two beautiful children who are on the fast track to be lawyerly doctors even though they’re only in preschool now, because they’re obviously geniuses?
Miss DeLoop doesn’t want to go especially because last time there was a bitchy clown there. Someone from our class went to–no fooling–a clown school in France called Lecoq. I am dirty, but I did not make that up. And there is a big rivalry between the clown schools École Philippe Gaulier and L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. Why does this matter? It does to the story. So Lecoq bitch was all high and mighty. And Miss DeLoop, generously, says she’ll get bitch in touch with Miss DeLoop’s then boyfriend, who was the director of several cirque shows in Vegas (he went to the other clown school). Yes, he directed shows in Vegas. He’s in Wikipedia under “clowns.” He’s a big fucking deal in the community. And bitch is all, “Oh, I don’t like commercial clown work.” Well bitch, I hope you like miming, I’m trapped in a glass box and I can’t get out, in the Bedford Avenue stop of the L train. I hope that’s noncommercial enough for your dumb ass. Yes, there’s even competition among clowns. It isn’t even just fun for some of them! They can be dicks, too! Clowns: they’re just like lawyers.
I just don’t want to talk about the last five years. They really sucked. My partner left me for crack cocaine. I got my Master’s and I hate my profession. I’m three jobs in now since they saw me last. I’m applying for a second Master’s. Still not married or spawned. Nowhere near owning any property. Just got out of the hospital, like I want to talk about that. I don’t have a five-minute “elevator” speech I want to tell everyone. I am not interested in hearing what they have to say. My skin is a mess. My family is especially fucked up right now. (I just saw my dad the other night, and he said he only had three children. Motherfucker, you have five.) I don’t want to play. I’m still a burnout, guys! Whoopee!
Really, right now, I feel I’ve turned a corner. I’m feeling really grateful. I’m not where I could be. I’m out of the darkness. But I still don’t want to talk to these chucklebunnies, not at all. None of the gratitude is external stuff. It’s not measurable. What, am I going to tell them I haven’t had a drink in twelve years? Maybe at the twenty year, when I’ll have had a book published, and I’ll have a weird-looking but devoted man on my arm. Half his teeth’ll be silver, and he’ll have neck tattoos and full sleeves. Maybe he’s a little horse-faced, with huge eyes and a crooked nose. He’ll walk with a limp and smile easily. He’ll tell too many lies to the gullible crowd, just to see what he can get away with (he can’t feel pain, he’s a hermaphrodite, he’s on parole for killing a man with a hammer, his grandfather was the late senator Robert Byrd). I won’t stop him. What the hell; we’ll never see these people again. From across the room, I’ll watch him very carefully as he corners Sparky, but he never will tell me what they say to each other. Sparky will down his drink in one gulp after the encounter, but I get no other clues as to what mischief my man has wrought.