High School Revisited

My high school reunion was last night. I still can’t totally wrap my head around the experience. It was surreal to briefly return to the Land of the Beautiful and Highly Motivated People. I really think the School Board puts some sort of Over Achievement Chemical in the water where I went to high school. Or maybe they lace the diploma with A Shit Ton of Ambition.

Easily three quarters of the people I talked to have a graduate degree or are in the process of completing one. And they are all doing uber-intellegent things in graduate school: International Affairs involving a stint in Brazil/Uganda/Israel/assorted Third World Countries, Ecological Sustenance Exploration and Advocacy (what does that mean?), Water Conservation Engineering, pursuing Neo-Orthopedic Surgery in their residency. My mind hurts thinking about it all; or it could be the hang over. The remaining people were all ready sufficently educated and thus were doing important things in important places: an investment something or other on the Stock Exchange (who I later learned makes oodles of money), a technology developer who works for Apple and entertained me with all the nifty features on his iPhone, fancy photographers and journalists at fancy publications. And there were the few who were Contributing to the Betterment of Their Fellow Man: physical therapists, moms, an artist. And here I was, proud that I finished watching the sixth season of the Gilmore Girls and mastering the ability to cook box Mac and Cheese.

I had the same conversation about 40 times: this is my (very expensive) educational background, I do Lawyerly Things now (thanks for your card, here, have my card too), I am single (oh, I’m so glad to hear you married another person from our high school so the Genetic Drive to Over Achieve will carry on), I moved back here (no, not by your parents’ house), no I don’t plan to ride on the float in the parade, and yes, I am blown away by how beautiful Grace Marion looks, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. As the night progressed, I realized we were never issued name tags and learned how entertaining it was to just start talking to somebody and not actually introduce myself. We could have an entire conversation without exchanging names, high school class schedules, the sports we played or any other information which would have clued them into who I was. I knew who they were because I boned up with my yearbook yesterday afternoon, but generally, they were clueless. I got called Kelly a few times and at points, out came the high school nicknames I’d forgotten about: KJ, Abu Dhabi and Kate. I’ve been a Katherine for so long that anytime somebody who doesn’t share my DNA calls me “Kate,” it takes a minute before the “they mean you” reflex kicks in.

All in all, I’m glad I went. It was nice to see certain people and I was disappointed that others didn’t show up. Most people had become amazing and interesting adults, but there were still a few who strove to become Living Barbie and Ken Dolls. Most importantly, I’ve come away with a few new goals to hit before the 20 year (OH MY GOD, my next reunion is a TWENTY YEAR!):

1. Marry Leonardo DiCaprio (or other suitably identifiably famous and massively wealthy person)

2. Get a personal trainer. If there’s not enough time for miraculous results, have extensive liposuction, a boob lift, and Botox. Also, get my hair died blonde before the next shindig since I missed the Women Must Be Platinum Blonde Memo that went out with the invitation

3. Become an organic farmer in eight years when I have a midlife crisis and realize how fruitless and unfulfilling my career in Lawyerly Things has been. This should be suitably eco-friendly but financially stable and unique so that I am a Success Story Everybody Talks About.

4. Buy stock in Coach. The number of subtly flashy status purses was unreal

5. Never totally become an adult

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