Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why I Wasn't at My 20th High School Reunion

Dear 1988,

I'm sorry I missed you last Friday. I'd like to say it couldn't be avoided--that I live too far away or I had a previous commitment or I'm buried in work or that I'm too cheap to book a flight back to my hometown. But those wouldn't be the truth (although the third is nearly literal and the fourth is a close approximation, except for those burgeoning frequent flier miles I have).

The simple fact is this: you scare me. And I really never had any intention of seeing you again.

In 1988, I was a firm believer in Ayn Rand, I was going to be a physics major at UT, and in a few short months, I'd volunteer to help the Young Republicans elect George Bush. (A cute boy was involved. I got short-term rewards.) Within that year, I'd be pretty severely slapped in the ass by my own naivety--and the boy I would eventually marry.

I've often thought ala Richard Bach (at least my reading taste has improved) what it would be like to see you again. If I--the late30something writer, mother, sloppy boobed wife with the especially glorious grey blaze--happened across that young perky breasted, slender-thighed thing who thought she'd never get married, never have children (much less gain 70 preggie pounds, breast feed, and make the choice to quit corporate), never do something so seemingly inconsequential and self-indulgent as "to write," and never leave home without a spare tube of liquid eye liner and an extra large can of Aqua Net stashed in her purse.

(I wonder which Song of the 80s would provide the lyrical drama to our scifi rendez-vous? Please, please not Mr. Mister's "Kyrie Eleison." Can we both agree to that? I thought we could. We haven't grown that far apart.)

My god, girl, what would you think of me? I go to the grocery store without make up. I don't own a bottle of Clearsil anymore. I don't dye my hair. (Often.) I don't tan or watch soap operas. I've been seen listening to select country music. And liking it. I share. My chocolates. Like, with other people.

And what would I say to you? Have kids early and often? Pick doctors based on their actual qualifications not on their likeness to Magnum PI? Maybe learn a little self discipline around the bread basket at Olive Garden? Get a tattoo? Wear bikinis?

To look at you would collapse time in a way that I'm just not ready for right now. It would make me reevaluate every decision I've made in the past 20 years and wonder about paths I didn't take--and if I should have. It would shore up the obvious fact that I plan to avoid for a few more years: that I'm comfortably nearly 40 years old and how you panicked when you turned just 25.

And ultimately, it would let me steep in the past when I desperately need to enjoy where I am.

Oh, right, I suppose I pretty much just did that. Oh well. So much for avoiding the personal demons.

I guess I should've posted this earlier and booked my flight to join the raging drunks that are the Class of 1988.

Maybe that's something 40something beam over and tell me.

1 comment:

shaun said...

Were you a fan of Joy Division?


I regret not going. Thanks for reminding me of FF miles! Now I have no excuse and must attend a wedding shower in Oct. How does it feel to be so honest? Out loud.