Tweet Long story short: although I did absolutely nothing in high school that was memorable or newsworthy, I still felt it important to have a class reunion. Mostly because I like cheese. And there is always cheese at reunions. I was never on Student Council. I was never an honor student. Or a popular kid. Or a cool kid. Or a pretty kid. I was just a random teenager trying to figure out my place within the High School Galaxay.
Surprise! I found out I didn't belong there. Just like all the other kids in high school -- because you're not meant to stay in high school. You're meant to grow up and mature and find yourself and stop throwing french fries at the dorky guy who walks past you on his way to get his fifth carton of chocolate milk.
I'm not sure who was relegated with the duty of reunion planning but no one did anything about it for 16 years. That's when me and this other guy joined forces and planned an impromptu gathering at our local Legion Hall. Reminiscent of our school cafeteria, it was pretty fitting.
Then we tried really, really hard to put together a decent 20 year reunion. Three of us: Me, and Tom, and Dominic. Like the three Musketeers. Except without the tights. Because no matter how much cajoling those boys would not wear the tights. That reunion would not have happened without the support and dedication of Tom and Dominic. It just wouldn't have. They deserve the biggest thanks ever.... like a bathtub sized edible arrangement. Each. Except that would suck if they were allergic to pineapple or strawberries, because then they would probably think I was trying to kill them off or something.
For months we planned, tracked people down, put our own money down for deposits, and hoped for the best. All while maintaining our full time jobs, traveling and keeping a home and family. (I had it the easiest because I was too poor to do any traveling.)
And the reunion was freaking awesome! Mostly because it had cheese!
...the other night I received a message. And then another one from someone else.
Someone was unhappy. Very unhappy. Because they said no one invited them. And they weren't surprised because they hadn't been invited to the first one either. And so, because I did not want people thinking anyone was intentionally left out, I politely explained to both that actually I had contacted said Unhappy Person via Facebook and said Unhappy Person told me to never contact them again because we had never been friends in high school so why would they want to be friends now? (Only with much more angry voice... in fact, a lot more angry voice.)
And I got to thinking about that.
How sad if that is how they think it's supposed to be. I knew you once before but we weren't friends so therefore we can never, ever be friends.
I love Facebook because it has enabled me to reconnect with so many people I had gone to school with that I did not know. Sure, I knew their names. Maybe I also knew they were on the football team or yearbook committee but I didn't know what they thought of their father or how close they were to their grandparents or if they secretly longed to learn how to rope cattle. Now I found these same people allowing me to get a glimpse into their lives: I can see that family time is important to them by the amount of camping trips they go on each summer. I can see how witty and funny they are by their status updates. I can see that this person here loves to read, and so do I, and suddenly I'm talking about books to someone I had only spoken to that one time when I came charging into the bathroom because I was afraid I had gotten my period and ohmygawd what if it's leaking through? I'm never going to be able to show my face again! and literally knocked them over and sprained their finger. (I'm still so sorry about that.)
And I found that so many of those kids I walked the halls with were doing the same thing I was doing: just trying to figure out where we fit in.
Then, Unhappy Person contacted me...... and although I tried to apologize and explain I had only respected their wishes of not contacting them, and that the invitation had been sent to their parent's house, they insisted I was a fake. I guess because we hadn't been friends twenty years ago I'm not capable of being sincere in my apology. I know what it feels like to be left out; I'd never want anyone to feel that way over anything I was associated with. (Of course, I also wanted to point out the obvious: your friends were invited and had known about the reunion, why didn't they tell you about it?) Unhappy Person was angry. Bitter. A pissed off exterior hiding a hurting soul.
And because this person assumed I hated them, anything I said would be (and was) perceived as fake. The bottom line is, being nice to someone you dislike doesn't mean you're a fake. It just means you're mature enough to tolerate your dislike towards them.
By the way, I didn't dislike them. Not now, and not then. I couldn't. Because I don't know them at all.