Fast Times at Farmington High

This weekend is my thirtieth high school reunion. I can’t attend, as I’ll be bringing the beloved monster home from camp. Can’t wait to give him a big hug. I just hope he’s showered this week.

As the geek-in-residence of my year (or at least one of the top contenders for the title) reunions evoke memories of my most cringe-worthy self. It was, however, a time when my friends were family and I spent countless hours with some of the most wonderful people I’ll ever know. You know who you are. You also know what I’m up to.  This is for everyone else.

Since I can’t be there in person, let me take a few moments to answer the inevitable questions that arise at occasions like these. It’s just like being there, without the plane fare, the banquet hall food, or having to listen to unnamed people sing. It also allows me to edit.

After high school, I did what most people expected. I went to college and kicked butt.  After that came a whole lot of working and some more school, and then a whole lot more working. Probably sounds familiar. It’s what we all did.  After twenty years of doing what people expected, I decided it was time to do what I wanted. According to LinkedIn, I’m a writer at Self Employed, Inc., where the salary sucks but the benefits are unmatched. Ms. Pieron would be proud. Mrs. Gearhart, not so much. My grammar is still awful and I use passive voice all of the time.

I’ll have you know that I didn’t marry an English professor. My husband’s PhD is in Computer Science. We have a teenage son who is a popular, extroverted, jock-student. I know. It surprises the heck out of me, too.  We have a habit of moving every five years, strategically selecting cities with a high cost of living, perpetual gridlock and an overinflated housing market. At the moment, we live outside of D.C., which elevates gridlock to a whole new level and adds humidity. I don’t have to shovel snow or wear hats in the winter. That makes up for a lot. If only the Nationals didn’t suck.

I still wear glasses, but I’m guessing a lot of you do too. I run miles every day, and not because anyone is chasing me with a snowball. I still play violin.  Adults call this creative expression and view it as a enviable character trait, not a “kick me” sign. But I’m not cynical or anything. Believe it or not, I have very few regrets about things I did in high school (save for powder blue eye shadow, questionable fashion choices and a few idiots I pined over). Most of my regrets are things that I didn’t do, pieces of myself that I hid, thinking they were too fragile to stand up to the scrutiny of others.  I was wrong.

I kept my snarky mouth shut, but filed my best lines in memory. Now, I use them to eviscerate imaginary antagonists.  If by any chance, you read one of my stories where a character meets a gruesome and painful end, any resemblance is purely coincidental.

All in all, I’m sorry to miss the event. There are a few people I’d really love to see, a couple of long-overdue apologies and explanations that will remain unsaid, and a few secrets I’ll take to my grave, because saying so  makes them sound so much more interesting than they really are.  So, to those gathering at El Nibble Nook on Friday, I recommend the Burro Verde. When the guitarist plays “You Belong to my Heart,” it’s from me to you.