11.21.2009

On negotiating

Since the moment that I graduated from High School ten years ago, there was never a doubt in my mind that I'd be someone who would attend our reunion. I am so clearly a reunion girl. I organized our 5-year reunion at Muhlenberg last year and if there's anything that I'm interested in, it is surely the ways in which we change throughout our lives and the moments we are allowed to examine those ways.

Which is why it comes somewhat as a shock to me that I'm not going to the reunion next weekend.

At first I wasn't going because it was ridiculously expensive. The minds planning said reunion calculated $75 a person for 4 hours of open bar at a location 45 minutes from home to be an "unforgettable night." Uh. Only if you mean YHS reunion = drunk driving disaster.

And then I wasn't going because none of my friends were going. Not one. Sure, there'd be people I could catch up with and have a conversation with. But I can pretty much talk to a brick wall. No novelty there.

In the end, even after a price reduction, I am not going because the only reason TO go at this point would be to satisfy those in charge. I get these emails- "come on, guys! We'll be the only class not to have a reunion! How sad would it be about the class of '99 if we couldn't even do this?"

I am a sucker for saving things from large-scale disappointments, particularly those caused by groups I am part of. Nevertheless, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats, dreaming about the people who have had babies and who remain drinking buddies and who are, to this day, just as flipping annoying as they ever were back in High School. I dreamed about them all week! And then I realized: there is nothing that I really have to say to these people. For the unique moment that it would be to all gather in the same space again, I remind them that we were never all in the same space to begin with. This idea that suddenly ten years have passed and we are all on the same page, all able to speak the same language and reminisce about where we used to hang out- this idea is a lie.

My, how dark and bitter I've become.

Instead of my High School reunion, I'm going to spend Saturday night with my brother or my sister or my parents, who I don't get to see very often. I might do some last-minute planning for India, where I will visit Priya (one of those very smart friends I mentioned earlier), who I have known since 3rd grade. I don't know; I'm going to spend my energy pushing the relationships I have further instead of hopelessly nurturing the stubs of old ones.

Oddly, this one decision says more about how I've changed within the past ten years (or even five years or maybe even since last week) than almost anything else I can imagine.

*

I need to say a note on being an extrovert here, a thought that stems from conversations that Chris and I have been having lately and from my comment above about being able to talk to a brick wall. It is interesting (I might use another adjective here, but, hey.) to be in a relationship with an introvert. When I need to be chatting about my week and going on about a project, Chris sometimes needs quiet time. My need to be WITH someone and his need to be WITHOUT someone combine in one giant potential for misunderstanding city. I am sure some of you know what I mean.

Last night we saw some friends who just got engaged and they asked us both to be in their wedding party. I was really excited and, reminiscent of when Katherine asked me to be one of her bridesmaids, did a little squealing and hugging. Chris' side of the table was more subdued, maybe in the way that men show the acknowledgment of their emotions. Well, here I am hours after this situation and I keep running over it in my head. WHY did I have to be so excited? Why so over the top? (Though I will mention that the reaction was entirely genuine). I even texted my Mom when I got home to tell her. Guess what! Fun bridesmaid times coming soon!

Sometimes extroverts feel like airheads. Didn't you know?

At its best moments, being an extrovert feels like exuding a non-stop stream of charm. At it's worst, it feels like losing all credibility and exhibiting not even an ounce of grace.

This one does not wrap up as nicely as the comment on growing since High School did above. I continue to negotiate the reality of being someone who is over-zealous about most things in her life. Some days I feel like I've made people feel at ease; other times I wish there was another extrovert in the room to squeal even louder and make me feel better.

Anyone have thoughts on this? I would be curious to see how you guys think about these things; obviously I'm only expecting the extroverts to comment. Ha!

3 comments:

Britt said...

Unfortunately, I can't contribute anything constructive here because I'm too personally involved. :)

BUT I will say that I adore you and your extrovertedness.

ev said...

I agree, sometimes it's hard being an extrovert when you're the only one in the room...or, at least, when your extrovertedness cannot be tamed. I am like this even talking with strangers about food. I just get so excited, I can't stop talking about the bleu cheese burger with bacon and how the cheese was oozing....
But about high school, don't you feel like facebook has forced you to "befriend" people with whom you never wished to reconnect? (That's assuming you ever "connected" in the first place!) It's very strange to me.

Chris said...

Exactly what Britt said, word for word.