I was watching Grosse Pointe Blank the other night. For those not in the know it's a 90s rom-com, but of a slightly more twisted variety than most. John Cusack plays a hitman returning to his home town for a high school reunion and meeting up again with his long lost love played by Minnie Driver. It got my thinking about school reunions. Being a mere stripling of 23 I haven't had to face that potential nightmare as yet and I'm desperately hoping that I never have to.
There are only two reasons to attend a school reunion. Curiosity and vanity. Curiosity to see how people have turned out and vanity because you are convinced that your life is better than theirs. What a sad waste of an evening. If you're rich and successful then you've not really gained anything from going. You're still rich and successful when you leave and have probably only succeeded in making a few people feel like failures. If you're struggling through life then you'll still be struggling when you leave and will have merely found a few more people to hate in life. People with kids will start wishing they didn't have them. People without kids will start to wish they did. It's a no-win situation. The grass is always greener and all that. Someone else's life may sound wonderful for those few hours but we never see the reality of it. School reunions are all about a facade. As soon as you step over the threshold you're suddenly and inexplicably enthusiastic about your life, career, children and everything else that you've been moaning about for the past 10 years.
Personally a school reunion is my worst nightmare because it is the place in the universe where you are most likely to be asked the, "So, what do you do?" question. Gah. Save me. The next time someone asks me that I think I'll take a leaf out of John Cusack's book - "I'm a professional killer." Cool. I'm pretty sure that at least 80% of the population are unhappy in their work so it's a nasty irony that we are constantly being defined by what we do rather than who we are. Sure, I've got my spiel - "Well not a lot actually. I've been ill with M.E. for 10 years which is quite rubbish but I do bits of voluntary work here and there." I'm as guilty as the next person though because I always seem to follow it up with, "and what about you?"
What is boils down to is that anyone that you really care about from your school days you'll still be in touch with. Death to school reunions! Pointless, miserable and fake.