October 14, 2010

Statue Of Limitations

They ought to erect a statue to the statute of limitations. Only not about high crimes and misdemeanors.* It should be about running time out on things that happened in the past. There's a great deal to be said for dropping all your emotional baggage off at the station, especially when bags fly free.**

I'm specifically talking about how people act when there is a class reunion going on.*** I think it would be fun to categorize the behaviors you get to see when this kind of thing goes on.

I think you could make a catalog of behavior on this. Okay so there's people who really did have a rough time in high school. Totally unpleasant, embarrassing, difficult, hurtful, yadda yadda. I know. I get it. In fact I had some of that myself - which is exactly why I think it's always good to let that shit go already, yeah?

Nothing perplexes people who tormented you more effectively than showing up years later with your act together. All their work - dashed on the rocks. See what I mean? I was only tormented for a little while, but my act happens to be very together, thank you. It's so together I can sit and talk to people who - the last time I saw them they were being an asshole to me - like we're grownups and their shit didn't ever happen. THAT scares the snot out of people.

And if you were the tormentor instead of the tormentee (and don't gimme that "I never did nothin' to nobody" crap) nothing upsets people's angry-residue-hard-on more than being kind and friendly to the ex-target. As in; "well, you know, yeah I was a douchebag, let me try to make that better." Throws their self-righteousness all over the cliff because - you know what? - nobody comes out of life smelling 100% clean.

But I get a special kick out of the tortured artist types. They show up but they act like this is a chore. They have more important things to do, like that poem they've been meaning to write, and they're 50 years old but are kind of goth-looking and it turns out they sell plastic knobs or something. My problem is those kinds of people always seem to gravitate to ME for some reason. So I have to suspend my irony for a bit.

There's people who are embarrassed by their job situation and how far they haven't progressed in life, and you'd really like to see then again but they won't show up because of all that. Which is sad. There's the folks who want you to know how well they've done and go out of their way to make that impression. And there's folks who have done really well but are still goofy and friendly and unaffected - except for maybe their wife who doesn't know anybody and is trying to act like a trophy. Then there's everybody else, who are just older versions of the people they were in school without a whole lot of fuss and fudges.****

It's the mystery people that get to me, though. Nothing terrible ever happened to them but they're all hesitant and careful and sometimes openly non-communicative.***** That's fine for people who are just that way (I actually have no problem with that if that's how they always were anyway), but for the folks who manifested a complete turn-around on something like this - active, involved, you know friendly in school to have become this way; you want to see if anything is wrong or something. But those walls are pretty old and steep by now. It's not a big deal, it's just a mystery.

I used to hold on to a lot of confusion and hurts and embarrassments I did to myself. I don't suppose I deserve to be forgiven for everything I did. But I think we should try it anyway. It may be all part of the genuine feeling of oblivion I feel about opinions directed this way, but there is freedom in leaving that baggage on the platform, so to speak.

You'd be surprised how easy that can be, and how healthy.

*If breaking some laws are a misdemeanor do they have any laws against misemotion? I knew her once.

**Yes I feel pretty good this morning, what?

***Oh did I say I was on this committee... wait, yes I did.

****Invented that phrase just now.

*****Is that actually possible??


B.E. Earl said...

I didn't have any really bad experiences in high school. Nor did I have any great ones. It just was. And I've never really wanted to go back. Not even for an evening of drinks and "remember when"s. But I would never begrudge anyone their own fun.

RW said...

It does kind of depend on whether or not some of the folks you knew back then are still around. For some reason I still have contacts, some regularly, from those days. So it's easier to slip in to it again.

But there's a surprising lack of "remember when" in my crowd - unless people are reminding me about what a jerk i was or something. Mostly it's just people who had a singular commonality and aren't sociopaths.

flask said...

i just don't go to reunions.

sligo said...

besides me, do any of the 'others' know about Version53?

and, for all those parents of teens out there, don't ever assume that your kid's guidance counselor (do they even have those any more?) isn't a dick, and don't assume that he/she gives a shit about your kid's future.

not that i'm holding on to any baggage myself...

Dave2 said...

I haven't been to a single reunion or get-together from high school. Mostly because high school was not much more than a boring shared experience I'd just as soon forget... much like a stretch in prison* (but without those heady days in solitary).

*Not that I've been to prison. At least so far as you know.

RW said...

sligo - others in the class? The link is on my facebook profile. I don't think I get any traffic. People have been by when I mentioned something now and then, but I doubt this is a bookmark. Why?

dave - I don't know so far as you know, that is.

Brian said...

I actually had a pretty good time in high school. But I've had really no burning desire to any reunions, either. I'm just not much of one for looking back.

I have reconnected with a handful of people over facebook this last year. Most of it very passively, though there are a couple of guys I will make a point to get together with the next time I'm down in Atlanta. I suppose if the next reunion falls at a convenient time (the last one didn't) I might be more inclined to make the trip (if nothing else, I'll get to see my family anyway.)

sybil law said...

My high school experience was mostly okay - but by my senior year, I just wanted OUT and couldn't stand being there, anymore. (Most of my older friends had graduated, so that was part of it.) As you and some other people know, I'm still friends with a large lot of those friends, so reunions are not important to me (also, thanks to Facebook). However, I've been to two, and with the right amount of alcohol, they're okay, I guess.
Also, I think I'm the one without a lot of fuss and fudges.

Gino said...

aks me out for a beer if you wanna hang. keep the reunion garbage for those who need it.

i'm 46 yrs old.
it was just 4 yrs. from a very long time ago.
why do people think they need that again?

RW said...

well gang, you know what - I like people. I like the people in my life and I'm not into all the don't-care hard-ass blah blah blah surrounding this issue.
I'm into having some fun. Deal with it.

Avitable said...

I didn't think I had any bad experiences in high school, but I recently found some horribly angsty poetry that seemed to indicate otherwise. (I'm posting it Monday).

I can't understand why people need to hold onto the past so tightly. Everyone (well, mostly) grows and changes - take the time to learn who the new person is.