This weekend just gone was my twenty year high school reunion. Twenty years since I walked the hallowed halls and vine draped walls of my alma mater. And by hallowed halls and vine draped walls, I mean cement footpaths and fibro demountables.
But even though I know twenty years is kind of a big deal in the reunion world, and even though my old classmates have been hammering on about it for months now on Facebook, I made the decision not to attend.
Yeah, I'm one of those people.
It's not that I had an awful time in high school, in fact as far as secondary educational experiences go it was pretty okay. I made some good friends, some not-so-good friends, learnt a lot about myself and who I wanted to be, and formed the basis for what are some of the most important friendships in my life. Not bad, considering.
But when I saw the invitation for the reunion, it never even crossed my mind to go. The truth is, I wasn't sure if I'd even remember most of the people there, or recognise the ones I did. It just seemed like an exercise in masochism. Honestly, the people from high school who I actually have an interest in seeing I already see every few weeks.
That doesn't mean I wasn't holding out to see the photos though.
As you would expect in this depraved age, the pics were up on Facebook by early the next morning, and I've got to say ... if someone hadn't gone through and very obligingly put the names on the faces, I wouldn't have had a clue who any of those people were. Some of them looked kind of familiar, like if you walked past them in the street you might wonder if they were someone you saw in the supermarket or on the bus once, but very few of them stood out to me as instantly recognisable.
Isn't that awful! I spent five years with these people. Every day I dragged myself off to that institute of learning and sat in a room with at least 30 of them. You'd think I'd remember them a little better! But no, of the hundred or so that turned up (there were about three hundred in my class) I probably instantly recognised half a dozen of them.
But once I put names to faces, I started to remember them.
It's weird. They all looked so ... different. Not surprising, I suppose, twenty years will do that to you. I made a point of checking out all the guys I'd had crushes on back then, just to see how they'd held up over the years. Shallow? Of course! But be honest, you know you'd have done it too! For the most part they'd stood the test of time, although it did make me realise that you can never tell which kid is going to be cute when they grow up. Seriously, some of them were complete surprises.
I imagine there was a lot of lying going on in that room. I'm sure assistants became assistant managers, business workers became business owners, and disgruntled housewives became stay-at-home entrepreneurs. Part of me would like to have been a fly on the wall just to hear some of it. But perhaps I'm being harsh. They all seemed to be having a good time.
I will say this though, there seems to be a disturbing trend among the male contingent of my graduating class towards wearing sweater vests. Really guys? You really want to go in that direction? We're 37, not 77! I'm not advocating mutton dressed as lamb, but there'll be plenty of time for sweater vests when you retire.