Last month I went home in time for my hometown’s eggstravaganza. Yep. A celebration of eggs. It was really an excuse to go see my favorite three-year-old nephew and baby niece (I also have a favorite one-year-old nephew). It’s the perfect opportunity to pump him full of ice cream and candy and set him loose on a muddy playground (the niece isn’t quite ready for that kind of sugar rush). Normally, going home is solely tied to family. None of my friends from high school stayed behind.
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of people from my class who still live there, but we never made it a real point to interact in high school, which makes things weird. I legitimately have no idea how to respond to them outside the context of high school. It’s been 13 years.
This annual festival is about the only time that I actually see these individuals. Any other visit home I go straight to the farm or hang out at my brother’s house. Not a high chance of running into old classmates at either locale. This makes it even weirder when I do see them. Though, they probably have no idea how weird it is. Because I never bother to say so much as “hi.” And I am not sure they even recognize me.
I just feel strange. Kind of snobby. But going out of my way to have awkward conversation with someone I have even less in common with than I did 13 years ago, feels disingenuous. Some were perfectly lovely people I just never really spent time with. Some were outright bitches, but most teenage girls are. They probably have the same thought about me. Can you really hold someone’s adolescent personality flaws against them? Probably not. But, are you expected to force conversation just because you were educated in the same airspace?
What is the protocol for interacting with people you were thrown together with by geography? Sure, I’ll make small talk with a former coworker I lunched with on a regular basis if I run into them at Target. But if that person was just someone who happened to office in the same building I worked in, I probably wouldn’t bother.
I might not struggle with these questions if my graduating class was larger than 96. Or if my parents didn’t settle down in the same town they grew up in. Or if my grandparents hadn’t done the same. Wanderers, my family are not. My extended family is spread far and wide and when they’re in town, they make it a point to get together with one or two former classmates, but I never understood it. Class reunions are baffling to me.
Every close friend I’ve had from high school either lives in Minneapolis, visits Minneapolis or lives somewhere fun enough to justify a trip once every five years. We used to make more of an effort to get together when everyone was home for holidays, but now time is spread thin and festivities are split between other friends and significant others. I do need to be better about calling those individuals more frequently, but a class reunion wouldn’t remedy that. It would just be more time wasted forcing conversation about jobs I don’t understand, kids I’ll never meet and dreams I’ll never relate to.
The older I get. The more selective I’ve become about how I spend my time. It’s not about being a snob or cliquey. It’s just understanding you can’t please everyone and you don’t have to be friends with everyone. There are people in your life who fill you up and galvanize you. As life gets increasingly complicated and hectic, these are the people you need to spend your time with. Anything else is a squandered opportunity to spend the time deepening authentic relationships or working toward building a future for the person you’ve become rather than the teenager you were.
Also, there is a lot of great T.V. you could be watching.
I’m a bad person.