Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

High School Reunions Are Something

Facebook takes all the mystery out of reunions.

In 2002, When I got the email for my 10 year high school reunion there was no Facebook. It did not exist. I hadn't spent the previous year seeing photos or getting updates on what my fellow high schoolers had been up to since we had graduated. I had no sneak peek as to what any of us had become. I only had my memories and my imagination. 

I do not remember myself as being madly popular, regardless of if that is true or not.  What is true is no one was lining up to get to 1st base with me and I was a 3rd round draft pick for proms. I wasn't ugly. I was totally "ok"  in an Annie Potts sort of way and I was funny. My kind of funny wasn't "date material" funny. It was in my 20's, but not in the hormone haze of 17. I mean I had friends, but I think I was more the "best friend" aka the side kick.

But pop culture had taught me that reunions are where girls who wear glasses who didn't put out to be popular got to go back 10 years later and WIN! Yeah, WIN!

I was ready to walk into that reunion and fulfill my pop culture destiny. 2002, I had been in NYC for 2 years. I was not only doing stand up, but I was in a sketch comedy group that was doing well…performing in festivals around the country and getting some press. Hello, I was dating a rock and roll photographer…a for real one. I was playing poker with the lead singer from Guster and going to parties filled with B and C level celebrities and my friends were all NY comics and I was still 120 pounds of chain smoking fitness. I win. WIN!

So I book my tickets to Birmingham, get on the plane and land on the day before the reunion. While in the rental car on my way to my folks house I get a call from Ryan Ferris, reunion planner, and I say…

"Hey Ryan! I've landed and I am in the car. I know I need to get you that check. I can't wait to see you guys!"

Ryan - Um, Biz, the reunion is next week.

(really awkward pause)

Me - ha haaaa….cough….very funny. 

Ryan - Seriously. It is next week. You are here on the wrong weekend.

Me - Well that is awkward. 

Ryan - will you come next week?

Me - No. Have fun!


Then I start crying. I cry all the way to my parents house. I get out of my car crying. I ask my Mama to make me a bacon and tomato sandwich and I then eat it…crying. I then call the airline and 2 hours later I am on my way back to NYC…crying. Win.

If my 10 year high school reunion was a picture it would be a picture of me crying and eating a bacon and tomato sandwich.

Based on it being my only reunion experience, I assume this is what reunions are like, which was AWESOME!

Why? Because I felt like an ass and I should have.

I think everyone takes away something from reunions and seeing old friends and old "enemies" and wresting with the memories or issues that you thought you had dealt with in your 20's but maybe you hadn't…but my "reunion" was with my old friend karma. I was going into it for all the wrong reasons and life decided to seriously shake me out of it. No matter how together I thought I finally "had it" I got a lovely reminder that I was still drifting and my sense of who I am was far from being sorted. 

In a few weeks I will be heading back to Alabama for my 20th high school reunion…and hopefully bacon and tomato sandwiches with less crying. 

Thanks to Facebook, I have already had the chance to catch up with a few old friends that I was very bad at staying in touch with. Sorry about that. What makes me very happy is that they seem to be doing some really great things and I don't know why it surprises me that the people I called my best friends 20 years ago are finding joy now in the same things I find joy in now.

Going back for this reunion is really a chance to see people I want to see face to face rather than Facebook to Facebook and to see my folks and let my kid trash their house. Oh, and to enjoy Alabama summer. cough. 

Just in case I have booked my flight for the wrong weekend again, here is what I have been up to the last 20 years.

College wasn't the best idea right after high school and it was 8 years and 3 colleges later that I finally graduated. I moved around a lot, settled in NYC for 11 years, toured the country with my sketch comedy group, fell in love, had a baby and now enjoy canning vegetables and making some ugly quilts in Pasadena, California. There is a banjo that has been sitting in my room for 6 years taunting me to learn and one day I will. I once again have no idea what I am going to do with my life but that seems about right for a 20 year reunion.  If you didn't like me for some reason, good news, I no longer have most of my teeth. WIN!


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