I have no idea why I went.
Ok, I do know why I went. I'm a glutton for punishment AND needed a reference check. I got both.
Last Friday night I went to the meet and greet for my 30 year class reunion. A little background info for ya.
Beginning my sophmore year in high school I attended a small, catholic school 6 miles from my home and childhood friends. My new classmates were mainly middle classes brats... sorta like me, now that I think about it. The racial demographics were approximately 80% white, 15% hispanic, 4% black and 1% asian. The religious demographics were approximately 99% catholic and 1% protestant/other. The gender demographics were about 50/50. I really didn't like it there, but, according to my father (who knew best, of course), I'd receive a fine, college preparatory education and interact with a diverse group of students and enjoy the experience. Uh huh.
Well, it was the late 70s. Big hair and platform shoes and huge dreams. I survived the experience with my soul intact... and my sense of reality only slightly skewed. I was the "token" in the honors program. This meant I spent 99% of my high school career in classes with white males with, if I was lucky, at least one other female in the room. It also meant, except for breakfast, lunch and social/sports events, I didn't see black folk very often. Again... I didn't like it.
So... last Friday night when I did finally get up, get dressed and drive out to the pizza joint where the meet and greet was being held, I fully expected to know at least two people in the room, the host and hostess... high school sweethearts, Cy and Diane, neither of whom I ever had a class with, but both of whom knew me... because of my sister, their fellow band geek. I wasn't staying long...
I entered the joint, full of smoke and drunk white people, stepped up to the bar and asked where the reunion party was... I was directed to the back of the place and as I stood in the doorway, looking for an aged, yet familar face in the crowd, all eyes fell on me. I smiled, waved and continued to look for someone I knew. I guess I appeared to be lost to the white haired woman closest to me, so she extended her hand (I swear she did) introduced herself (I didn't recognize her maiden name, so immediately lost interest in her existence) and said hello. I told her who I was, she naturally didn't know who I was and I just smiled at her, took back my now sweaty hand and followed the waitress who was passing into the room with a large, freshly baked pizza. Let me eat something... and find some liquor... not necessarily in that order.
I weaved my way through the crowd of balding, possibly successful men and greying, housewife on sabbatical women and stopped in front of the buffet. As I gathered up some of the pizza and located the chianti, someone called my name. It was Mary (this was a catholic reunion... 90% of the girls were named Mary) who grabbed me just as I put my hands on the carafe of wine and hugged me. She then did something just... wrong. She brushed her hand across my face and announced to the anonymous man standing with her that I still had the most beautiful skin she'd ever seen in her life. Why on earth was my face so flawless (nevermind the perimenapausal acne that was causing me to become suicidal) and why did I still look like I was 18 years old? (I was 17 when we graduated, you perkly little snot.)
I smiled, made a mental note on how thin she was, thanked her and excused myself to get back to that carafe of wine. Fully armed with food and spirits, I renegotiated my way through the crowd, smiling and saying hi to these strangers and found a table. I was about to sit down when another person called my name. I recognized this one. Tanya... crazy Tanya. I noticed something that almost made me laugh. She was with several others I recognized... every single one of them non white... all standing off in a corner enjoying each other. I'd found the minority section of the room.
We laughed and talked and someone pulled out a yearbook and we attempted to identify the people in the room. Then someone said it... why do we all look the same and they look different? We all knew the answer, and it wasn't necessary to say it, but someone did anyway. "Cus they grow old way too fast." We all silently agreed with that assessment.
There wasn't an honors program graduate in the joint. I didn't have classes with ANY of these people... but I knew some of them, and made them laugh as I signed the guest book and put my email address in the column. If I get an email from any of ya'll... I'm sending it to my spam file, you've been warned.
30 damned years, and the overeducated hispanics and blacks were sitting in the corner being ignored by the "average educated" white people. They didn't care that we were teachers and psychotherapists and nurses, or engineers and authors and had our own businesses and masters degrees or working on our Ph.Ds. We still weren't important... after all this time. Most of them didn't WANT to know that we were as successful as them.. if not more so. They were there to show off what they wanted everyone to think they were. We were there to give high praise to each other for what we'd become despite being ignored.
Man on man... as I wandered out of the room with people asking why I was leaving so soon (soon, I've been here 3 hours and you ain't said shit to me) I made another mental note... don't show up at any more class reunions.. These people are assholes.
Labels: mah peoples...