Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The past is a foreign country

Over the last few years I've noticed that I've not been one to dwell on the past too much; I suppose that's what buying a house does for you - you tend to focus more on the uncertainty of tomorrow than the rose-tinted memories of yesterday. And I think that's a good thing, because if you spend all day reminiscing you'll simply miss out on life as the world changes around you. And I don't want to do that, because the future brings iPhones.

Every now and then, though, something will happen to remind you of the past. Last week some old schoolmates of mine got together on Facebook and organised a reunion, an idea which, to be brutally honest, horrifies me.

Let me be even more honest: I didn't exactly have the easiest time of things at secondary school, mainly because I was one of what seemed like a small percentage of kids who actually wanted to learn something. It probably also didn't help that I went from being one of the most popular kids in junior school to a secondary school that lumped me in class with no one I knew. And I was a little on the chunky side. Can't children be cruel?

On the plus side, though, those days helped make me the person I am today - the person who is independent, fitter and stronger (both emotionally and physically - rawr!), and, if I may say so, successful. I quite like who I've become, so in that respect I suppose I'm actually (perversely?) quite grateful to those difficult school days. I was nothing if not a determined little bugger, and I stayed true to the course I set, weathered all storms, with the ultimate reward of being where I am today; a life I enjoy.

And I just don't feel the need to revisit the people, places, and events of almost two decades ago.

The thing is, you know that a reunion would ultimately, and inevitably, just turn into a forum for people vying for top-spot in the 'look-what-I've-done-with-my-life' league. It would be easier and more honest if everyone just lined up at the urinals and measured schlong. I'm comfortable with where I stand, and I have no need to boast about what I've been doing since I left school. I don't feel the need to be judged by anyone, least of all people whose names only appear in the periphery of my mind with the vaguest hint of recognition. And bearing in mind I'm pretty much unrecognizable from the person I was back then, I have no desire to spend an evening with a bunch of strangers reminding everyone that I was "the tubby one who studied hard."

Even more curiously, though, Facebook's presented me with some fascinating blasts from the past; some have been rather lovely, others surprising, to say the least; most notably today, I was 'friended' by a guy who, no word of a lie, I probably only ever had one civil conversation with in seven years of school. And he wants me to friend him? Why? Are we going to become good mates? Will we pop down the pub together? I don't think so.

So no, I won't be going to the reunion, nor will I be going to any future reunion; those few people who I wanted to remain in contact with from school, I'm still in contact with, and although we may not see each other that often I'm more than happy to meet up and catch up when we can.

Everyone else who wonders what the hell happened to the tubby kid who studied hard can just look at the picture of me on Facebook and wonder.



Dinah said...


The idea of a school reunion is better in my mind, I think, where I can pretend that it would be like a movie where the mean kids ended up sitting in a cake or falling off stage or something and I was retroactively voted prom, not that I've given much thought to this. Anywho, I'm comfortable with who I am and quite happy about the Tim that I 'know.'

Is it bad that I immediately thought of IDV swooning at the schlong mention?

Tim said...

Dinah - I *love* the idea of people sitting in cakes and falling off stages, but what I love most about your comment is that I misread 'retroactively' as 'radioactively' which adds a whole different slant to your reunion concept!

As for IDV, well, he swoons over *anything*.

Tara said...

Very good post, Tim. I didn't have a good time in school either, except my senior year wasn't too bad at all. Yes, kids can be cruel.

I was invited to a five year reunion, but at the time I wasn't happy with my career (at McDonald's), so I didn't want to go and be judged then. But then I was invited to the ten year, and even though I'm pretty successful and live on my own, I just didn't feel like going to a loud sports bar to meet with people I don't remember. And guess what? I didn't feel bad at all about missing that reunion.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Coming soon to a cinema near you: The Radioactive Prom Queen!

* swoons *

Tim said...

Tara - I think the people who want to go to reunions are either a) people who genuinely want to catch up, which is fair enough, and b) people who are so utterly insecure that they are compelled to go along to try to prove something.

And then there's the rest of us who've moved on!

Inexplicable Device - If there wasn't a damn writer's strike on I'd say "call Hollywood!"

Now stop swooning and get up off the floor.

Tara said...

Oh and btw, you've been tagged. Muah ha ha ha ha ha!

T-Bird said...

Sounds like you are in a good head space. The past is what is was, and you are feeling pretty awesome.

I don't think reunions with people other than the ones you can stand are anything other than gossip sessions.

Tim said...

Tara - I have? Intriguing…!

T-Bird - Indeed, I am feeling awesome! (This is where you all picture me like a person in the Wild West having my photomagraph taken, smoothin' dahn mah hair, and holdin' mah lapels!)

Inexplicable DeVice said...

OK, I'm picturing it, but you also seem to have a large handlebar moustache. Damn imagination!

Perhaps worryingly, it kind of suits you...

Tim said...

Ha ha! I think that's acceptable in the circumstances!

T-Bird said...

Mmmm. Deadwood and Seth Bullock.

That is all.

Tim said...

I've had a bit of a Western vibe since seeing The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford…