I had the quintessential stress dream last night replete with imagery from high school in anticipation of my fast approaching high school reunion (whose number we shall not speak out loud. Everybody Wang Chung Tonight. You can fill in the blanks.).
In the dream (well-liked smart people) high school friends planned to meet at (our high school) the designated reunion hotel which was really a four-star version of my college dormitory. I forgot (the combination to my locker) my hotel room number and wandered around (the dull halls flanked by lockers) the floors of the upscale hotel (drunk) in distress. I really needed to (locate my pants that had gone missing) pee. I realized (all the popular people) my friends were all together without (the imperfect misfit) me. They (mean, wealthy kids) were shunning (my underachieving ass) me, on account of my inability to find my hotel room or avoid wetting my pants (if I’d been wearing any). It was awful!
Why do we all get so weirded out by the prospect of our high school reunions? Or is it just me? Why do we worry about being left out, wearing the wrong outfit and being exposed as the simple, marginaly-interesting people we’ve always been? I don’t judge other people by those standards, so why do I judge myself by them? It’s not like we’re still in high school anymore.
I’m pretty confident at this point that we’ve all had some serious shit go down in each of our lives. We’ve spent enough time around co-workers we’d never be friends with in real life to know that it doesn’t matter what you did or did not do in high school. I think getting nervous about a reunion is a function of being propelled back to that awkward geeky person you were back then, like when you assume the role in your family when you’re in the presence of your parents. If that’s true, then I guess I’ll have to vandalize some Mercedes hood ornaments to use as a key ring when I hang out in the parking lot at the reunion to grab a smoke.
High School Reunion: Give it up
It’s too late to get emergency liposuction. I can’t afford an impromptu face-lift. No amount of starvation or exercise is going to alter the genetic betrayal that is my hair. Not even the University of Phoenix can quickly provide me with additional college credentials to add to my list of accomplishments. My children are too average for me to enroll them in a prestigious elementary school on the fly. My pets are not pedigree. My clothing is not couture. I haven’t been outside the country in forever. I’m not in danger of accepting any awards. I can’t credibly pretend I’m pregnant as an excuse for the way I look. I mean, I could, but then acquaintances at the reunion would be like, “who would fuck YOU?” I am happily married to someone whose hips are wider than mine. That’s my bar. So I’ve been married a couple times. Who hasn’t? My kids love me, even if they don’t listen to me much of the time. I am, gasp, middle-aged.
And of course none of the above quick fixes would define who I am although I could totally get plastic surgery in a hurry if I needed to. IF I HAD EMPLOYMENT. That’s the rub, isn’t it? I’m not exactly where I’m going to be. Not sure when I’m going to be exactly where I’m going to be. And much to my children’s chagrin, I’m totally still having sex.
I get up each day hoping it will propel me one step closer to that person I’m going to be. It usually does.