Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another Missed Reunion

My 40th high school reunion is today. I won’t be attending. I also didn’t attend my 10th, 20th, or 30th reunion. I wanted to go to all of them. I want to go to this one. But if you’ve been reading this blog from the outset, I hardly need to explain why I didn’t and won’t go. If you haven’t been reading it, aside from this hint, I’ll just say that I would feel too uncomfortable among people I didn’t give myself the chance to get to know in high school and who have lived profoundly different lives than I have ever since.

I’ve been fortunate to re-establish contact via Facebook with some people I knew as far back as elementary school but haven’t seen since elementary, junior, or senior high school. And I’ve even become Facebook “friends” with people from back then that I never had anything to do with in those days because we ran in completely different social circles, or I was just too darn awkward and shy to approach them.

One guy in particular used to be a pretty good athlete in high school. He was one of the “jocks,” and I decidedly wasn’t, despite my brief and painful flirtation with basketball. I don’t know if there’s a word for what I was. I wasn’t exactly a geek or a nerd. I wasn’t smart enough or adept enough at anything to qualify for either distinction. I was just weird. A bumbling outcast largely of my own making.

Anyway, the guy I mentioned in the previous paragraph is Christian, and he has tried a couple of times to convert me since we became Facebook friends. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I don’t need to tell you what the outcome of his attempts were, and if you haven’t been reading this blog, suffice it to say that I’m still vociferously agnostic bordering perilously on downright atheistic. Yesterday, he asked me if I was coming to the reunion today. I told him I wasn’t and briefly explained why. He seemed genuinely moved by my reply, and I was moved by his subsequent response. We connected in a way I wish I could have connected with him and others in high school. But it really IS true that late is better than never, and over the Internet is better than not at all.

No, I won’t be attending my 40th high school reunion tonight, and even if I’m still around by the time of my 50th, I almost certainly won’t be going then either. But I don’t think I will be around by then, so tonight is almost certainly my last chance to connect in a very personal way with a past that didn’t amount to much but was still a whole lot better than it could have been.

Yet I can still connect with my past and with people from it in other ways, as I’ve been doing recently, and I plan to continue doing that. And after tonight’s reunion, I’ll be looking at the photos and reading comments by the attendees and vicariously enjoying some of what I missed in person tonight. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

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