For some reason today I was thinking about my time back in high school. Popularity was everything to the “In” crowd. And there was nothing they wouldn’t do to both gain attention from that crowd or to maintain their status there.
Some of the girls played on the basketball team as I did. That was about all the interaction I had with them. Their dreams were about hooking up with the guys on the football team, marrying them and having nice popular babies. And some of the guys from the football team sat next to me in algebra class because I didn’t care if they copied my answers during the tests and I happened to be good at algebra. No doubt a few of them wouldn’t have been able to stay on the football team had that not happened. At least it got me spared some of their adolescent “humor” throughout high school. That wasn’t my intention but not a bad side benefit. Their dreams were about cars and car sound systems mostly. They took the girls in their crowd for granted.
Most of my friends either went to different schools or didn’t go to school at all. That was fine by me as they didn’t require much by way of performance to impress them. They were the same kind of angry emo metal-head soon-to-become-punk as I was so there was some common sense of alienation and cynicism.
The philosopher @alaindebotton wrote on Twitter a while back:
Most of us are still in jobs unthinkingly chosen for us by our sixteen year old selves.
I can’t remember exactly what future “job” I had in mind when I was sixteen. It had something to do with art or creating things though.
So I found a bunch of these “In Crowd” people on Facebook a while back. They were all members of a couple of high school reunion groups. There have been several reunions. I’ve never gone to any of them. Of all the people I know I am probably the least sentimental or nostalgic. I don’t keep mementos unless they might be of significance to someone else at some point or worth something should I run out of cash sometime, nor do I take a lot of “time of my life” photos of holidays and such. (And I can’t stand the movie Dirty Dancing or others of that genre)
Most of these folks were exactly where they assumed they’d be. No one did anything too remarkable. No Nobel Prize laureates or astronauts that walked in space. Then again I didn’t do anything too remarkable either. I’m fine with that.
The thing I noticed though, from reading their exchanges was the complete fiction that they carried about those days. Sure for many those were the glory days, the time of their most notable actions and achievements. They were completely defined by those moments and refused to let go of them to look at what had happened since then.
Some were parents but their children weren’t mentioned beyond “..got 2 kids now” nor were jobs (insurance, sales, technician) much either. But the descriptions of high school parties, outstanding sports plays, regional trophies, hot cars etc went on at length. But they were so selective in terms of actual events that it was almost amnesiac. There were even sentiments such as “I wish we could go back and do it all again.”
There was a good deal of mutual reinforcement of the illusory qualities of those memories. Everyone carefully avoided certain incidents and details. Any questions of the “Whatever happened to…?” were directly answered if the answer propped up the current schema and either sidestepped or ignored if not.
I didn’t join that group. Didn’t want to rain on their sunny dreams of memory. And that was then. It’s only relevant in terms of the chain of events that led to now. Sort of a marker on the road or something like that. Or, in some cases, an anchor that’s dragged along with us in a labored way.
I remember stuff too but without that kind of longing. There’s nothing I’d choose to do over again or even differently. On the one hand it was what it was and on the other it was way too much work to get through some of it. I certainly don’t want to go through all that again.
And I plan for stuff in the future too, but without the rosy glow of hoping for a “brighter tomorrow”.
Today’s pretty much ok. Nothing to complain about , nothing to get too excited about.