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On the overuse of parentheticals and their applications to high school reunions

Next weekend is my eleventh high school reunion. If it seems like an odd number for such a thing, well, there was a tenth last year, and presumably it went so well that they decided an eleventh was in order. Honestly, I did wonder briefly if it was just a reflection on the quality of our mathematics department. I didn’t go last year (in spite of some cajoling from one of my then-new friends, who basically suggested that I take her to prove… something that I wasn’t entirely clear on at the time, but which evidently would have been in the spirit of fuck you, I’m an anteater — suffice it to say that it only really started making sense once I found out more about her school experience), and I’m not going this year.

Oddly enough, I’ve had plans for next weekend since the start of the year, so I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief when the reunion was plonked on the same weekend; I mean, it saved an awkward excuse to cover not being very interested in seeing pretty much anyone from my high school. Broadly speaking, the (single digit figure of) people I want to be in touch with I’m still in touch with, with only one or two exceptions.

Still, it got me thinking back. I mean, what conversations would I realistically have given the shared experiences feel like a lifetime ago? Hell, I’m a pretty different person these days to the guy I was in 1998. Conversations? They’d be one liners at best; to whit:

  • The bully: So, hey, how about that ear thing you tried once outside science class? Did you ever stop breathing through your mouth?
  • The sort of friend of convenience I didn’t bother keeping in touch with: Yeah, sorry about the whole not calling thing. For, like, eleven years. How ’bout them Eagles?
  • The druggie (hell, which one?): Did you end up killing all your brain cells, or did you get lucky like me and manage to wise up before that point?
  • Most perilously of all, the first serious crush: Shit, you were all I wanted when I was thirteen. Subconsciously, I still compare every partner to you, no matter how unattainable you are living there almost fifteen years in the past (because really, I can only think about how you were then; I know nothing about you now). So, uh… how’s the food?

How the hell do you respond to any of that? And presumably I’d be getting similarly awkward conversational gambits my way (heard you got kicked out of a university less than twelve months out of high school — way to go, man!) which I’d have equally little interest in engaging with.

Maybe I’ll have more perspective in time for the twentieth. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my lost weekend next week with my friends.

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