This evening I am home alone with Nicknack while my husband attends his 20th high school reunion! I am not tagging along because... well... I don't want to go. And Penn doesn't mind, so that works out. Hanging out with a bunch of people I don't know for five hours, hearing (potential unflattering) stories about my husband doesn't sound like fun.
What makes it sound especially unpleasant is the fact that the friends Penn has kept in touch with since high school are not attending. Penn was in one of those "too cool for school" crowds. You know, the ones who skip a lot of school, have a secret place on campus for smoking, and throw the wildest parties. Not one of them was curious enough to shell out $100 to attend the Clover Park class of 1987 soiree. Except for Penn. He decided to go at the very last minute (last night) because he thought it would be "interesting." He loves to people watch. So he is actually showing up at this reunion all alone. To me, this sounds uncomfortable and awkward... at best. To Penn, not so much.
He isn't the slightest bit nervous. I have been anxious for him all day.
Me: What if no one talks to you?
Penn: So what?
Me: What if no one remembers you?
Penn: They will.
Me: What if they don't?
Penn: Who cares?
Me: What if that one guy who you got into a fight with in high school is there and he challenges you to another fight! DON'T FIGHT HIM!
Penn: Honey! What do you take me for?
Me: Oh yeah. Okay, what if he says something mean to you?
Penn: He won't.
Me: What if he DOES?
Penn: I'll walk away from him, dear.
Me: What if there is dancing?
Penn: I'll dance.
Me: By yourself!?
Penn: Or I won't dance. Whatever.
Me: What are you going to wear?
Penn: Whatever you say I should.
Me: Okay. Just have fun. And be yourself.
And so on. I feel like I'm sending him off to his first day of school.
I'm so thankful that he doesn't mind me staying home because I would be hyperventilating with anxiety right about now. Penn is unflappable. He really doesn't care very much what people think of him. And he's not really a joiner.
I care very much what other people think of me, and I usually assume they are thinking the worst. I never feel like anyone likes me. Even if they are nice to me I figure they are just being polite. I'm insecure. It's annoying. No wonder no one likes me. :)
Which is why I've signed up for and attended the Seattle Junior League orientation twice, then chickened out and not joined. But I am going to muster up my courage and join MOPS this fall.
By the way, I did not attend my own tenth high school reunion a few years ago. I never even entertained the idea. Now if there was a middle school reunion, I might make an appearance. I was at the top of my game in middle school. A cheerleader. Tons of good friends. Lots of great memories. Then we moved and it took me a little while, but I made up a lot of ground (socially). Then we moved again. This high school was a bad fit for me. I latched on to the first group of kids who reached out to me. Which turned out to be a crowd that was way too fast and cool and rebellious for yours truly. I got in serious trouble (Saturday detention!) for the first time in my life. So finally I ended up at my alma mater, where I spent two and a half fairly happy years. I was way past the point of trying to fit in. I eventually made some decent friends and life was pretty good. But it just wasn't the kind of experience that meant that much to me. I have only kept in touch with one friend from high school, and we're hardly what you would call close. I barely remember high school. I wish my classmates well. And that's that.
We visited with Penn's family today and I dropped him off at the swanky reunion location on the way home. Boy was I relieved to pull away as he strode confidently across the street toward the building entrance. I wonder what he's doing right now. I'm picturing the scene from Pretty in Pink. Same music, same decor. But full of middle aged, "dressy casual" partiers. I hope everyone remembers him and everyone talks to him and there are no awkard moments or fistfights. I can't wait until he comes home late late tonight so I can hear all the details.