Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Purpose of High School

From a Facebook Message Thread: So, why do you think that those I considered my closest friends in high school do not wish to renew our friendships? Either I made bad choices in friends OR I made good choices in walking away from those friends, right?

*****
Oh, pal of mine, who's hurting you????? Are they not friending you? Ignoring your emails? Blocking your calls? I know you didn't get a reply to a letter ... even after you'd taken the time to track down a land address and written lovely thoughts on pretty stationary. Slighting someone who sends snail mail... now that's low.

You are not alone, though. I've been shunned, too ..... and she was as close to a best friend as I had back then. At least it always seemed that she thought so. We spoke once on the phone when I was in California, and then nothing. I felt strangely bereft when my emails went unanswered. We'd been so much a part of each other's lives and now.... nothing.

I wondered about it, too. Does she have so many friends that, like Audrey Hepburn in Charade, she has to wait until one of them dies before she can let me into her circle? And is it that swell a circle that I even want to be a participant? Is it that she's put that chapter of her life behind her and has no interest in revisiting the past? Has she become a completely forward looking individual who has cut the chains of childhood completely? Is she lazy? Rude?

I'm choosing to be superior and think it's because she's insecure and has decided that her life sucks and is therefore reluctant to show it off to people. Even people who were her friends back then. Of course she won't be coming to the reunion -- imagine sharing what you consider your not-so-wonderful-life with those who didn't think much of you then, either. As Marisa Tomei sighs at the end of My Cousin Vinny, "What a nightmare". (Even the accent is right!)

In your case, oh coolest of cool ones, maybe your friends, too, are embarrassed at how their lives have turned out. After all, to those of us firmly wedged in the middle of the high school social scene, you and your cohort were the icing on our cupcake. What if they are wrinkled or face-tucked-beyond-recognition or drug addicted or have risen in their chosen career to become Head Bagger at Safeway? What if their hair isn't the longest and the straightest and even if it were no one would care at this point? What if they have nothing to brag about anymore? What if they still think that matters?

Perhaps your intentions were mis-understood. You weren't looking for a BFF or a confidante or a rock on which to lean when you reached out and tried to touch someone. You just wanted to reconnect. I'll be kind right now and say that, perhaps, their lives are so complex and stressful that they just have no energy left for the new. Even if the new is really not so new at all.

Did you make bad choices in high school? Of course you did. That's what high school is for. And even though 40 years have passed, the need to be accepted, included, validated, noticed...... they're all still there. Who will say hello to me at the reunion event? Will I have anyone to talk to? I really don't want to stand at the buffet line all alone. Funny how one rejection, from someone you really don't know anymore, can shove you right back into the high school frame of mind. Who are these people in whom we've imbued such power?

I've decided that we are not going to obsess about this any more. We are fit, funny and fabulous.

And if you want, we can always track them down and hurt them in some unspeakable way. I'm practising my "Oh, you are so tedious" stare right now.

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