THIS year marks one decade since I graduated high school. That’s ten years, one tenth of a century, or one something of a millennial. Sorry, I used to be better at maths. Ahh, who am I kidding, no I wasn’t. I may have been in the top maths class but the only thing I ever excelled at was distracting the smart kids and finding numbers that vaguely resembled sexual positions (and I wasn’t even great at that). But the question I’m left pondering now, on the proverbial eve of my ten-year-reunion is... am I still a dick?
For those who don’t know, let me introduce you to teenage Leah. Aka ‘old Leah’. She was a loud, obnoxious, self-absorbed, party-girl drunk. Her ambitions always far exceed her capability (and by capability I mean the amount of work she was willing to put into something) and her pool of knowledge was akin to one of those yahoo answer forums – lots of content, not a lot of substance, and mostly just the uniformed opinions of jackasses who should have kept their mouths shut.
I like to think present Leah is a little more down-to-earth, hard-working and humble. But who knows, maybe in ten years time future Leah will write a blog about how much of an incompetent fool present Leah is. I mean, just last week that bitch tied two jumpers to her feet with hair-bands because she couldn’t find her slippers. And then put plastic bags over the top of those foot-jumpers to go outside because it ‘would be easier’ than putting on shoes. Honestly. And she wonders why she is still single. (I don’t wonder).
But analysing one's self and one's actions is always far easier with the benefit of hindsight. Like that time I tried to convince my friends tying a bunch of sheets together and using them to abseil out of the second story window was a good idea. With the benefit of hindsight, it was a really, really bad idea. But at the time... well, it was still a really, really bad idea, but I suppose I thought it may have been fun or something. In retrospect, it’s kind of amazing I’m still alive for my ten year reunion. Moving on.
There always seems to be a lot of apprehension around reunions. I must admit when I first heard my former peers mention the R word I got a little nervous. Imagine standing in a room full of people who are sizing up what you have achieved in the past decade only for them to find you have failed. At life. But then I remembered the type of people I went to high school with. And I smiled. Because the only thing those drunks will be sizing up at a reunion are the kegs behind the bar. Indeed, we can be sure the only pissing contest that will take place at our reunion will not be a metaphorical one of superiority. No. It will be a literal pissing contest against a brick wall in a a dimly lit back alley somewhere.
So being judged is probably not going to be an issue. But will I have anything in common with these people? These scattered humans I haven’t seen in a decade….?
I think so. Because no matter what happens, no matter how much time passes, we will always have our stories and the psychological and emotional (and some physical) scars to remember them by. Six years of shared experience trapped in the same dilapidated hell-hole, day after day, in a real-life Lord of the Flies type scenario. Only this group of poorly-educated, manner-devoid and mentally unbalance group of quasi-survivors could truly understand what it means to be a veteran of Lismore High School. Cold lunch-times huddled over bin fires for warmth. The stench of urine on just about every wall. And a long and detailed list of teachers, categorised by likely type of criminal history from high-range drink driving to... well... let’s just say there were a lot more teachers than there were blue cards in our school. Not all of them were Angels (inside joke).