I see here where my high school class is having its fortieth reunion later in the fall. There is something majestic and Old Testament about this number — forty years in the desert, forty days and nights of the Deluge — that for half a minute almost lured me to go, but I think I will leave these people alone. They never did talk to me that much anyway.
I don’t even recognize most of the names on the guest list, though I’ve surfed Facebook to look up some that I can remember; a few of the current images of bloat and decay moved me to slump forward and put my head between my knees. There are a couple of guys whom I count among my mille e tre, which discourages my initial temptation to put on my badass red dress and walk in there challenging anyone male or female to a dead lift contest. Rampant teenage males have their points when you are a teenager yourself (even when they are the guys who would not be seen actually dating you, because only certain girls are cool enough for that). Middle-aged, beered-up men eager to recapitulate their teenage rampancy, especially if their wives are in the same room, are just a biohazard.
The main organizer of the event — once the curly-haired All-American stripling who wore a snarky sign on his mortarboard : “I never let school interfere with my education” — appears to now practice an obsessive hobby of taking signs out of local rights-of-way, at a level of fanaticism that has repeatedly landed him in court. Overall I would consider him on the side of the angels but it sounds as if someone needs to get a life. I definitely do not want to have a conversation about this kind of thing.
The guy who co-plotted my first foray into thriller fiction — an alternate history full of political intrigue and personal vendettas, like high school — is apparently going to be there. I imagine talking to him about the story, which is still in notebooks on my shelf, but suspect it would be like talking to Susan Pevensie about Narnia.
The News-Press guy, whom I can’t remember ever saying one word to me when we were both actually in high school, pursued me zealously to attend ten years ago when the 30th reunion was coming up and I had the dubious cachet of my own local newspaper column. It was kind of like someone looking for the tenth for a minyan.
I wish them all well, in a formal, whatever-the-fuck way, but Thomas Wolfe was right — you can’t go home again, especially when you never really belonged there in the first place. I can’t deny feeling a pull toward those days, but it completely bypasses high school itself; it has to do with cups of tea, deep recesses in the stacks of libraries, light that once passed through branches just so at sunset and that is halfway to the edge of the galaxy by now.
I did local politics. I think revisiting high school would be superfluous.