The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reunited and it feels so...uninteresting

So, my high school is having it's 15-year reunion this Saturday. I am still performing survey in the oil fields near Taft, and as such will not be available, but even were this not the case I doubt I would go. strangely, my disinterest in high school reunions seems to bother alot of people.

See, I have always been somewhat non-plussed by the notion of high school reunions. While I can understand the urge to revisit the past (hell, I'm pretty damn sentimental, myself) the fact of the matter is that high school is not a time that I feel any particular nostalgia for. Sure, there are elements of my teenage years, and even particular (albeit short) periods of time during those years that I look back on with tremendous fondness, but this is true for most periods of my life. Don't get me wrong, although I am very happy to no longer be a teenager, my high school experience was a relatively pleasant one. Prior to high school, throughout childhood and early adolescence, I was subject to all manner of mistreatment from both my peers and the adults in my community, and I was miserable. When I reached high school, alot of that started to fade, and I began to make real friends for the first time in my life. So, all in all, high school was pretty good for me. However, everything that followed high school was even better, and so it suffers in comparison.

If I were to look back on any period of my life with unreasonable nostalgia, it would be college and not high school, and I don't even attend alumni events at my university. So, the nostalgia trip is insufficient cause to get me to a high school reunion.

Another common reason that I hear given for attending a reunion is to see old friends. I can only respond with two points: A) I am still in contact with the old friends with whom I really want to be in contact, and B) to the best of my knowledge, these people have their own reasons (ranging from bad memories to complete disinterest) for not attending. I certainly understand the appeal of this, but ultimately this is no draw for me.

The final, and unnervingly common, reason that I hear given for attending is to show off one's success. I have a problem with this reason. First off, none of my successes were done for the benefit of people in my past, they were all for the benefit of either myself or those with whom I surround myself. And while I have certainly had my successes - getting my masters degree, managing to propel myself into my current career, having two future publications working their way through the process, and having all manner of weird adventures along the way, I sincerely doubt that anyone who I might possibly have the urge to "show up" with these achievements would actually care about any of them. So, really, this seems to me to be a recipe for frustration at best and an exercise in a warped narcissism at worst (and there is nothing narcissistic about keeping a blog, nothing at all, I tell you).

And so, I am not attending the reunion. What is odd about this, however, is the strange nerve it seems to strike with alot of people. I don't tend to bring it up in conversation, but if asked about it I simply say that I don't plan to attend. This often results in the person with whom I am speaking either attempting to diagnose some form of emotional problem in me, or else becoming rather insulting towards me. Has anyone else experienced this? Any idea why this should be?


Jairus Durnett said...

I went through the same thing a few years ago and decided to go because the few friends that I still had from high school pointed out that it would be a great opportunity for us all to get together.
Once we were there, most of them found other people they wanted to get together with as did I, but after spending an hour catching up with interesting people that I lost touch with, I was done. Then I had to sit through several excruciating hours of other people's memories. There is nothing quite so uninteresting as someone else's nostalgia.
I would suggest that you tell the organizers that you can't attend, but would like the contact list. Sit down with the list and see if there is anyone you had forgotten about. If so, send them an email.You can do all of the catching up and sharing memories without the nametags and bad music.

Evan Davis said...

Dude! Reunion? I am so there...not.

I have never had the desire to attend for many of the same reasons you have. Although I have never experienced flak for taking that stance. I might try to attend my 25th in 10 years.

Anthroslug said...

Jairus: As it happens, I thought the same thing. I politely declined the invitation, but the format of the invitation (online) allowed me to see who else was invited, and thereby figure out if there is anyone I wanted to catch up with.

So, good idea, I quite agree.