Reunion Awkwardness

Reunions make me cringe.

During winter and summer breaks, my classmates “back in the days” always try to arrange reunions. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of these people and we could well be friends for life.

As you grow up, it is likely that your peers would grow apart because people make so many different life choices. I went to my elementary school class reunion last summer, and I’ve decided that would be the last time I go. That class, for example, currently comprises an insurance salesman, two Uber drivers, an entrance level government worker, a manager of his own family business in Los Angeles, a lot of soon-to-be low-level college graduates, and a handful of “good students”.

The foci of people’s lives are very interesting to look at, and it is obvious that a stratification started just by the time we were in elementary school. People divide and cluster, not by discrimination, only because of the comfort to speak to like-minded people. What happens when two very different people talk — one of them would go back to the deepest of his/her memory to find something to talk about and to remember this relationship by, while another would cringe and silently beg the other person to stop.

One girl in the same class used to sit close by, and I often borrow ball pens from her. Ever since graduation every time she saw me in a reunion, or even in the group chat of the class, she would tirelessly remind me that I have not returned some of her pens.

Get a life, woman. Can I buy you a whole bulk of ball pens just so you could please shut up about this?

During some occasions when the teachers showed up, it could be even more awkward — they are still in the same place, doing the same job, while you have already moved on on so many levels. All you have in common is that you shared some time, not necessarily but definitely not voluntarily, together in the same classroom. I feel this way because although I behaved, I was always the kid that knew when teachers were wrong. I had no faith in their credibility and I did not follow many of their suggestions. When they told me not to join too many student organizations, or when they graded my paper wrong while I was the only one that got it right, I knew they were full of bullshit and I can’t wait to grow up and rub it in their faces.

I am not a teacher-hater, though. Stupidity and blind confidence are what I hate. I had great relationships with a lot of teachers in my past, and hopefully I will become a teacher one day. What do these good teachers have in common? Knowing their place, being supportive while not interfering, giving advice based on what’s best for you, not because it would be easier for them. These people respect their students as an equal individual and they know they are only a few years ahead of us. They know the weight of their words and actions so that they do not abuse them.

Back to reunions. I usually have fun during my middle and high schools’ reunions because those people are more similar to me. Most of my classmates go into grad schools or get a pretty good job after college. They are smarter, know what they want, and will be somewhere because they are up for the challenge. It’s always nice to talk to people passionate about what they do, and witness their progress of getting there one reunion after another.

So yeah, not all of them are awkward, but when you feel that way, just stop going. You don’t owe those idiots anything.

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