High School Reunion

It's going to be ten years - shit, it has been ten years since I graduated high school. They're doing a reunion at the end of the summer good ol' graduating class of 2005 at Manitou Springs High School.

There were four schools in our district total: two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. So I had been in school with about a third of my graduating class since kindergarten. I've been thinking about my high school career (since the reunion thing) and how I came away with a sum total of one friend, and even she I haven't talked to in years.

What happened?

It's an astonishing failure on my part, isn't it? It wasn't that I had no friends at that stage in my life - my best friends are people who I've known since I was born. Our parents were also friends, and we knew each other through church; we just didn't go to the same school. Still, how was it possible that I spent that much time around kids in my class and yet connected with them so little?

College went much better and the places I've lived since then, as well. I've put more effort into meeting people; it's become more important to me. And there was the introduction of alcohol into my life and social circles. (If I had partied at all in high school, I feel like things would have looked a lot different.)

The other thing, on top of that, was that being an aspiring Christian girl, trying to do things right, had me only consuming Christian, church-approved media. Plus, we only got two and a half channels of TV at my house. (I want to be a television writer, now, and I've had to do a lot of catch up on my pop culture, my influences really starting probably senior year in college.)

Mitch showed me this the other day... I've started to get on something of a Jack Black kick.

Tenacious D came out with this album in 2001 - when I was a freshman in high school! (Also, Mr. Show is amazing amazing amazing.) I love this so much, and I needed it so badly as a little freshman. Something weird and funny that I could connect with other people about. I instead was spending my time being a committed but mediocre athlete, focusing on "right-living", and, you know, school. I guess I got an education.

Recently, somebody in my writing class was doing a spec episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where she was just learning to masturbate and realizing that she could have masturbated her way through her 15 years in the bunker if only she had just known about it. The angst! The regret! That's how I feel about my relationship to pop culture, comedy in particular, in high school.

I'm not going to my ten-year high school reunion. It's mostly because Mitch and I can only do so much traveling, and we'd rather go visit our friends in Chicago, but. But I have been tempted to just go see what re-meeting those people would be like, see if I can do some last-minute reclamation of relationships I failed at making for twelve years.

I suspect that going back would make me feel like my high school self, that it would be too much. That earth is salted, man.

No. I don't know. It's just this large block of my life where I think, the fuck was I doing? Subject to altered memory, of course, and hindsight bias. But anyway.


Kinky Narrow Roads

It's been awhile since I've lived inside of hard-core Christian culture, and today I've been thinking about a metaphor the church used to described Christian culture versus secular culture. (I'm sure you're familiar with it.) It said that the Christian life is like traveling on a path that is straight and narrow, while the secular path is a highway, broad and filled with people. It's probably based on a thing Jesus said:

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Good ol' cryptic Jesus.

Anyway, I was thinking about how being away from Christian culture has allowed me to seek out/investigate/consider many more ways of doing life. There's no more need to keep a running ledger on who is living incorrectly, always fearing the possibility of leaving that single narrow path.

Secular culture feels very far from the broad crowded boulevard the church described. Maybe it's due to the popularity of the internet, but it feels like there is no more monolith of culture. There aren't just five bands and ten shows that people like, anymore. It's not the church versus Elvis. It's church versus genre (horror, comedy, romance, fantasy), versus a smorgasbord of sexualities and gender identities; there's so much now for the church to be against, such variety, that the end times are surely upon us.

I forget where I heard this, but somebody was saying that, in the future, artists and creators will be making things for their rabid fanbase of 15 people. That sounds awesome to me.

Secular culture is fractured into a million possibilities; all paths are narrow, but hardly straight. They twist and turn and are full of surprises. You never know who you might meet on them or who might turn out to be your people.

If there is a remaining monolith of culture it's - ironically - probably conservative/evangelical Christianity. It's hard to fit everybody on a single path unless you make it a highway.


Family Table

The Ralph's by my work has been undergoing some construction/ remodeling. I'll go there during lunch time to get some food and to work on my writing. There's a Starbucks inside and some tables to eat at. During the remodeling the table space was greatly diminished and they threw one of those big Starbuck-sy tables in there to make up for it.

I usually try to avoid sitting next to people when I'm out in public, but because there were so few places to sit, I'd share the big table with four or five people. There were always a bunch of strangers mushed together there.

On two separate occasions, another of the table's occupants said out of nowhere that this was like a family table. That we all shared.

I said nothing and didn't break eye contact with my laptop screen.

The table make-up tended to go like this: an elderly couple (always different and always very old), a talkative Ralph's employee, a dour-looking woman in her forties, and me.

"This is like a family."

When I went in to Ralph's, today, I noticed that they had finished their remodeling. They had taken out the family table and had, instead, a bunch of little tables for two. These were all filled with well-adjusted looking professional people chatting with friends they already knew.

I kind of miss the family table, Ralph's. We shared, you know?