A lot can happen in a year, right? Even more happens in five years. Double that and seemingly a lifetime has passed. The entire world has changed before our eyes. Ten years is a long time and in the next five or so days, that number of years will be on my mind.
Did you know that gas was only $1.56 a gallon back in the year 2000? If that isn’t mind boggling enough for you, take into consideration that nobody had ever heard of an iPod back in September of 2000. Anybody who would have uttered that word would have been looked at like they were some nut house escapee preaching about aliens. The name Osama Bin Laden meant nothing to nobody and typing the name in your blog wouldn’t have been remotely cool because people didn’t do that then (also, the government wouldn’t have had this paragraph flagged for review in 2000. But hey, I can use the extra page hits).
You can see my point by now. The world has been turned upside down. We could go on and on and blow your mind further, but that will only make most of you feel old. It went by like a blur and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. In the words of LOST’s Daniel Faraday: What happened, happened. There is no time machine or quick fix in place to put life in its ideal situation. I am where I am at for a reason (which is totally unknown to me). There is no need to dwell on the past and what I should have or could have done. However, this whole ten year high school reunion thing going on this weekend really wants to make me look back that far.
Valders High School. Those words mean absolute jack and/or shit to the most of you reading this since I am certain that my readership is heavily made up of people who I met after I left that one horse town (and surprisingly a lot of Canadians if the stats from Blogspot are correct. There are even a few hits from Lithuania). If you hadn’t ever heard of Valders, Wisconsin I suggest that you Google the crap out of it. It should take you about ten minutes of reading before you are all caught up. There are a lot of dairy farms and the biggest company makes concrete structural pieces for buildings. Nobody famous has ever come out of Valders. Mark Tauscher once visited the school for some contest a kid one. Apparently my little brother got involved in some smack talk with him, but that has never been corroborated. But hey, that is Valders in a nut shell. Outside of all that, the school is the only significant thing in that town.
I do not believe that I have stepped foot in that town in the better part of 7 plus years since the family moved out. It has been over eight years since I stepped into the school. That is kind of perplexing to me since my mother works there and I did put a lot of time into it back when I was still in school. I was voted the biggest Viking fan by my class senior year and was a fixture at most of the home sporting events. I led obnoxious chants and cheers that were often met with glares by the teachers and adults that were present. In four years, I missed one pep band performance. My curricular attendance would have been perfect except my appendix had different ideas.
In so many words, I fucking loved that place. There is no reason to deny it. I bled red. (insert your “no shit, everyone bleeds red you self righteous prick” comment right here) I was a regular poster boy for school spirit and might as well have hung around and became a contributing force to the school booster clubs and shit like that. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans for me. It was called college. Once I got to the ole UW-Whitewater, I learned that most of the world didn’t give a shit how loud I belted out “Go Team Go” on my trumpet or how witty the insults were when I mocked the last names of the opposing team when they were being introduced. In the grand scheme of destiny’s plan, high school got left in the dust.
|I once climbed to the top of this monster.|
I don’t regret it. Honestly, the best thing I ever did was go to school two and a half hours away from home. I got out of town and basically did not look back. There was a road in front of me that wouldn’t have been there had I peeked, even for an instant, in the rear view mirror. There were probably a lot of bad decisions I made during college and after it, but getting out of Valders was not one of them. I am not trying to sound insulting when I say that there isn’t a person I really miss (with the exception of a couple family members still in town). That’s one of the reasons I am waffling on my decision to go to this class reunion.
Maybe it makes me a dick for having no inkling of interest in seeing any particular person from high school. Maybe it just makes me a person who has just had some much happen in the past ten years that he no longer puts much thought into people he used to know. You’ve all already made a judgment. It’s okay. You are allowed to. If you hadn’t made one, then you hadn’t really been paying any attention. I am fully aware that typing all this could make look like a total asshole. I’m not one, though. I just speak these things that other people think, but just don’t say.
The conflicting thought here is that there are plenty of people that I damn respect and admire that are going to be there. I keep in reasonable facebook related contact with a handful of peeps. It is never like we have full on chats or letter exchanges, but we throw around the occasional comments. So, there is the potential that my apathy for a reunion could offend some people who are excited about the idea.
The psycho-analysts out there are going to assume that there is more to this. They’ll say that Nick Wallander is throwing out all kinds of defense mechanisms that will eventually justify his decision regarding the class reunion. They’re right. There is plenty of stuff going on in the back of my mind. Like anyone with their right mind, I have my apprehensions. There are many things that could cause for awkward moments and they really don’t help the case attending the damn thing. Since we like to mock what is in my head, let’s go over them!
· What in the hell am I going to say when people ask me what I am up to these days? Should I say “oh, not much. Just slumming it in a shit hole apartment and working in a customer service center in the most hated industry in America”. There are going to be people who have real jobs with offices and assistants and they get to fire people and play golf during the day.
· Does anyone want to state the over and under of times people find creative ways to tell me that I’ve gained weight?
· People are going to call me Wally. There is no way around it. I hate that. It isn’t remotely creative. I bet I would hear it about twelve times before I told someone to go fuck themselves.
· There will be next to nothing to talk about with most people. That means I would rotate through the same standard topics a few dozen times. Boring!
· There will be at least someone who only lives in the past and somehow can recall all the stupid shit everyone did. I loathe the fact that I might hear someone utter “Remember the time that you…” I will be embarrassed for that person.
· I’ll also be embarrassed for whatever it is that they remember me doing.
· I don’t think people will get my sense of humor that has evolved over the years. For example, someone might ask me if I am married/engaged/seeing someone. I don’t really want to answer that, so my knee jerk response would be my dark and twisted humor. I would probably tell them that there was, but I chopped her up, put her in garbage bags, and then dropped her into Lake Michigan. As funny as it is, it would be totally offensive.
· A handful of people will say that they are sorry to see that my father died last month. The thing is, I am not. He was an asshole and the universe gave him what was coming to him. This one ties into the last point since I will mostly likely tell people that I am not sorry and that he was a total prick.
· There will not be any surprises in store for me. If life were like a movie, I’d have a former classmate introduce me to her ten year old son who is also named Nick and I would be like “Oh, that’s a cool name. How’d you come up with it?” but wouldn’t connect the dots in my head. This thing will be totally predictable.
· I don’t drink, so there will be nothing to take the edge off.
· Adding to that last one, the bulk of it takes place in a bar.
· I am sure there is something I did to someone that I don’t remember, but lacked any maturity. Who wouldn’t want that to come up?
· Despite what people will make you think, they aren’t interested in who you have become. Most are stuck on who you were when you were just a kid.
· I’ll admit it. I am one of the aforementioned people.
· What happens if I run into someone I know has de-friended me on facebook at some point? Can I de-friend them from the reunion?
· Valders is a speed trap and I would rather not get my first speeding ticket there.
· Nobody there will understand all of the funny pop culture references I make.
· Someone is going to say “Nick Wallander! You haven’t changed a bit!”
· Correction, they will refer to me as “Nick W.”
· When someone’s significant other says that they’ve heard about me, my mind will go into overdrive speculating what it might have been about.
I suppose that was more than a few things. Clearly I am apprehensive about it. I act like it’s behind me and I don’t care, but that’s not entirely true. Part of me wants to see how it plays out. Truth be told, I am quite content with my life. However, it would be totally awesome if I could see that a few people have it worse than I do. Maybe that is what high school reunions are for. They present an opportunity for all of us to feel better about ourselves……
Then again, I’ll probably be the one people are pointing at and laughing. Meh. If I think it is happening, I’ll just poop in their cars.