They all appeared happy. Which is probably the reason I am disinclined to join. The motives of the people participating are genuine I think, and based on an actual curiosity about where their erstwhile classmates ended up. I suspect there’s a lot of ‘best face forward’ going on however. There won’t be any tales of infertility, or alcoholism, or domestic abuse, or erectile dysfunction, or delinquent spawn, or extra-marital affairs with an ex-wife’s sister in this group. Tales of bankruptcy and breakdowns won’t be shared. Not that this is a bad thing per se, it’s just seems less than honest.
I know that this maybe reveals more about me than it does about them, but reading about the perfect lives of relative strangers makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to dwell on personal misery, but neither am I interested in reading about skin-deep, perfect lives.
What would I say to them if I joined?
‘Hi folks. Back in Ireland for the last five years, after fifteen wild years in Amsterdam. I’ve smoked a lot of weed – bushels of it in fact. I’ve written and produced a few plays, and published a few stories. I’ve made some good friends. I’m working a reasonably, well-paid yet largely uninspiring job. Single. Still diabetic. Still a raging homosexual – so props to anyone in the group who pointed this out to me loudly when I was a teenager, in case I wasn’t aware of it.’ That’s not what the group wants to hear is it? Maybe it is? Perhaps the old cliques could regroup remotely and gossip, just like the olden days.
One of the posts asked what music would have played in the nightclub where our graduation party was meant to have taken place. Apparently a deposit had been paid to said establishment but on the night in question a parent of one of the pupils had rang the club to tell it, that as the partygoers were underage, the soiree would be illegal were it to proceed in a licensed venue. I had no idea of this as I was not allowed to go on that night long ago. Instead – as a consolation prize – I went to the Savoy Cinema in Limerick to see Julia Roberts be terrorised by Patrick Bergin in ‘Sleeping with the enemy’ with my mother. In retrospect my evening was preferable. Pretending to be a sixteen year old heterosexual was never a pleasant task. At the time however I was furious at my mother’s refusal to allow me to attend. Her logic makes sense to me now that I am at the age that she was back then. My leaving cert started in a week. That was more important than a drunken night out with people from a life chapter that was closing. I can see that now.
Overall the tone of the posts within the group seem nostalgic for the past. I don’t share that nostalgia though. My secondary school years weren’t happy. They were grim. I texted my sister – who at exactly twelve months older than me, makes her my Irish twin. She replied saying that secondary school for her was cycling to school in the cold rain, and eating boiled bacon and cabbage at lunch. This is my recollection too. Secondary school was a holding pen for when life could finally begin. I don’t want to revisit that time.
So I will wish them all well mentally and hit the ‘Decline’ button. Not for a few weeks though. I want to see who else appears first.