Thursday, May 10, 2007

High School Reunion

High school reunion is high school, except with legal alcohol and nicer clothes (and more gray hair, says my friend M, whose high school reunion sounds a lot like mine, except with hot tubs and drunken waterskiing instead of...well, we'll just leave it at that).

I've been trying to formulate some thoughts about being a mean girl. Except Lucy and C say we weren't mean girls at the reunion. Though C is the one who was scared to see all the people she says she used to be mean to. Except that I don't remember us being mean. But then I wonder what the relation is between mean and cool. And in our high school, the nature of cool was perhaps reframed by (1) the (small) size of the school, and (2) its general intellectualized oddity. Then, of course, C, or maybe it was Lucy, says that my angst about our mean girlness is in fact displaced anxiety about the mean girl M is currently dealing with. See, it's complicated, hence my difficulty formulating thoughts.

What I can say about high school is that at the time I didn't think I was...hmm, what phrasing is most accurate...really, the best term, I think, is cool, even though that sounds so so stupid, but maybe I should just go with popular, because, truly, I don't think we were mean, certainly not in the way of the girl M is dealing with, who is actively trying to elevate herself and make others feel bad. We didn't do that, although--and this is really my point, though I'm not sure it's a very good point at all--we nevertheless probably made other people feel bad, and they may very well have thought we were doing it on purpose. OK, the high school part is that in high school I didn't think I was cool, but then afterwards I realized that I probably was.

Which leads to the reunion where, really, what I felt was shy and anxious. And when I feel shy and anxious, especially in big social situations, what I do is find one person to talk to. Which I did at the reunion. Rirst it was someone I used to be friendly with but hadn't seen in 25 years. When we said hello, she pointed out that we have something important in common, so we grabbed some wine and went over to the couch and got into an interesting and somewhat intense conversation about what we have in common.

Then R arrived and I had to tell her something, so we ended up sitting back down on the couch and whispering and giggling, and I truly felt like I was back in high school, because that's what I used to do a lot in high school: whisper and giggle with R. Which I can imagine might seem aggressively exclusive, except that we never even considered what other people might think, we just had things to whisper and giggle about.

And really I spent most of the evening on the couch, talking to one person, though other people did come and join us and we talked to them too. But of course the people who came and joined us were our friends--my friends, really. So I can imagine that us on the couch might have looked, well, mean. Even though being mean was the last thing on our minds--in fact, we didn't give a moment's thought to what other people were thinking. Though that is a problem in itself.

So maybe, I thought, this is what it's like to be a mean girl? Except I can't imagine that's what it's like to be the girl E is dealing with. So maybe the point is that there's a difference between mean and...whatever else this thing is that I'm trying to grapple with. Or maybe I really am a mean girl, and one thing mean girls do is try to justify their behavior.

God, I have no idea if this is worth posting.

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