Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Remembering Silliness, Remembering Me

Not long ago, I received a call on a humdrum Saturday evening. I was terribly, terribly sick, and was in a bit of a fog, having just taken a much needed dose of cough syrup with codeine. So when the caller told me her name, I thought, for a moment, that I was having an auditory hallucination.

"B.A.? This is Gidget. Gidget Lawrence? From High School?"

I croaked something like..."Who-wha?"

She repeated herself, and her identity finally sunk in. We had been close friends once. Best friends. Inseparable.

I still remember the day we met, when she came skating backwards down my street. Her behind shimmied and the hearts embroidered on the pockets of designer jeans danced to and fro. She was snapping her fingers and cracking her gum, lost to some internal groove. Her long blonde hair clung in fine silken strands to her heavily smackered lips.

She stopped and stared, perhaps as surprised at the sight of me as I was at the sight of her. She plucked the hair from her glossy mouth and grinned.

From that moment on, we were peas in a pod. My adventures with Gidget make up a HUGE part of my childhood memories. Some good (like the time we both got our first kiss in the same week) some bad, (when she tearfully confided to that her Dad sometimes hit her and her siblings with a belt)...but all of them precious to me.

In seventh grade, we tried out for the cheerleading squad together. I'm pretty sure that was her idea, but I didn't object. We both made it. I still remember her squeal of joy when my name was called.

But after a while, I realized that being a cheerleader wasn't for me. As I said in another post, I'm really not good at playing all the games that women play, and I certainly wasn't good at playing all the games that teenaged girls play. I realized I would never be sufficiently aloof or elitist to suit their standards. I realized I didn't want to.

So I quit.

Gidget took it as a personal betrayal and we never spoke to one another again.

For the rest of our school years, Gidget ran with the popular crowd. She wore the right clothes, she dated the right boys, she said the right things and she scorned the right people. She did whatever was necessary to maintain her place in the glittering high school hierarchy.

It disgusted me as much as the fact that I wouldn't do it disgusted her.

So I was taken aback by her phone call. And I was even more taken aback when she proceeded to talk to me as if our friendship was still as rock solid as it had been in 1978. As if we had never turned our backs on one another.

She was calling because our 20th High School reunion is taking place this year, (6 days from now to be exact) and of course, she is on the planning committee. She wanted to know if I was going to attend. She knows my parents still live in the town where we grew up, and had, in fact, talked to them for quite some time when she called trying to locate me. She knows that I visit once or twice a year.

While I hemmed and hawed, she told me all about the lives of people I had never been friends with; people who had disregarded me as easily as she had discarded me. She spoke as if I would be interested. As if I should be interested.

It was all very bizarre.

See...when I left that small midwestern town at 18, I never looked back. I moved 900 miles away and started over. And when I moved to a large and sparkling city, my life became large and sparkling too. I didn't miss her. I didn't miss anyone. And in the 20 years between now and then, I have not spoken to or laid eyes on one single person from high school, with one exception. (I'll tell you about it tomorrow.)

Why would she think that I would want to I attend a reunion for a class of people to which I never belonged? To which I was never permitted to belong? Why would she even ask? Why would she think that I would care at all?

I realized that it was because she didn't know. She didn't know that I hated high school and all the people in it. She didn't know that I found them all very ignoble and sad. She didn't know because she was too busy cultivating the popularity and the acceptance that she so desperately needed, to notice anybody who wasn't. She lived a small life with small people; a life that she still lives and assumes that others live too.

I thought about telling her. But in the end, I simply thanked her for calling. I told her that I would be unable to attend but that I would be there in spirit.

I said good-bye and hung up, and it was only then that I realized that although my boys had been whooping and hollering in the background, she had never asked about them.

I understood then that it wasn't the Gidget of my childhood that I had spoken to. The one who had sighed and dreamed with me on sultry summer nights, with Helen Reddy playing on the turntable. She had ceased to exist in 7th grade. I don't understand why and I probably never will. But I will always wonder what happened to her.

And I sometimes wonder if the girl I used to be still exists. It seems almost impossible that she does.

And yet, estranged though we were, I think I would have asked her about her children.

And I would have asked her if she still remembers that day we sat on that enormous craggy rock in the blinding July sun, with towels on our heads, chanting an imaginary prayer to a made-up Goddess. It was the height of silliness. It was the height of happiness. Boys and clothes and cliques had not yet entered our sphere of consciousness. We were innocent, carefree...as yet untroubled by the turmoil of adolescence.

Sometimes, in the chaos and calamity of motherhood, I long for that kind of peace. I want, for just a few moments, to shed my responsibilities like layers of skin grown too small and emerge as that stupendously naive 9 year old girl.

I wonder how she could have forgotten that. But then I realize...maybe...she didn't let herself remember.

16 Comments:

  • At 9:57 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    What's so strange about these popular girls is that they all seem to have NO IDEA that anyone ever felt excluded thanks to their behavior.

    But how can that be? Could they all be in such extreme denial?

    People remember things the way they want to. I guess that's it. But it's really disappointing, I have to say.

    Thought-provoking, BA!

     
  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger jen said…

    this is really achy in the best sort of way. i can relate to so much of this including the leaving at 18 and never looking back.

    it's like a twisted time warp, a reverberation of what was and what wasn't completely real.

     
  • At 10:48 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    Ouch. That was so painful to read it almost hurt. High school. It's like the junior blogosphere, only with better clothes. Hated it then, hate it now. I left my home town behind at 18 too, and never looked back. They FOUND me last year and contacted me for our 35th (gasp) reunion. I was very very busy that weekend, but I did end up putting my info on their web site. I get hits every once in a while, and they go to my blog, but honestly, I never ever want to talk to any of them ever again.

    Sad thing is. I was popular. And my nickname was Gidget. REALLY!

     
  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger Doodaddy said…

    I have no pet peeve that burns like people who tell you all about themselves but don't ask about you... like they'd never gotten out of junior high...

     
  • At 12:36 AM, Blogger flutter said…

    Ooof.

    The sad thing? She missed out on someone so interesting, and so enthralling by way of just not asking a question.

     
  • At 3:57 AM, Blogger jchevais said…

    My goodness. My best friend did the same thing to me in 7th grade, moving into the popular crowd while I pulled back into a sort of anonymity.

    I've seen her a few times since then, the last time when my dad passed away. Thankfully, she did what Gidget did not: she expressed remorse. She apologized. She wanted to know all about my children. It was bizarre but it was so good to hear.

     
  • At 6:42 AM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    I just had a very vivid dream about a high school reunion (and by "just" I mean, I woke up from it less than an hour ago). At one point in the dream, I looked around the room and realized that only the outsiders had attended, those who were on the fringes of popularity. I figured that we were the only ones still searching for closure - all the popular kids had moved on.

    Real life, I guess, suggests otherwise.

     
  • At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Kvetch said…

    I have a somewhat similar tale to tell - with a different chronology but a reunion at its epicenter. Reunions make people really go back. Either to show off, or because they have so little now.

     
  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Once again you're in my head. I've had some hit or miss correspondence with an old friend and though it's gone better than yours it's still discouraging.

    Wonderful post, BA.

    (btw, I didn't go to my 10th year reunion. I'm not sure if I'll attend my 20th in three years.)

     
  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger Tami Boesiger said…

    Why didn't you ask the questions you "would've asked"?

     
  • At 11:38 AM, Anonymous midlife mommy said…

    I wish that someone would have told me back then that high school does end, because when it doesn't go well, it seems like it will go on into eternity. High school was hard for me, because I wasn't really very popular (though I had a popular boyfriend when I was in 12th grade).

    I usually go to the reunions, and what I've seen is that the formerly popular people really haven't accomplished a whole lot in life. In any event, I just go to talk with people and find out how their lives have turned out. Everyone seems to be an equal now, I think.

     
  • At 11:58 AM, Blogger Jenn said…

    It's so odd; how we can share the same moments with others, but not the same memories.

    How a day in our life may be seared into our very beings and that same day with that same person, a haze of "did that happen"?

    Lovely, lovely post.

     
  • At 12:39 PM, Blogger the only daughter said…

    My best friend from then and I both passed on our 30th held a few weeks ago.

    I don't know about her, but I am but one click away from labeling all emails from the committee as spam.

    Our big city HS experience didn't seem that different from your small town one.

     
  • At 1:31 PM, Blogger WI Mommy said…

    It always seems to me that these types are so anxious to relive their high school experiences because it was their peak in life. Must be sad to realize that you hit your prime at 16.

     
  • At 7:57 PM, Anonymous mcewen said…

    Funny how we still drag that stuff around with us.
    Best wishes

     
  • At 7:30 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    You made the right choice. I attended my 20th reunion and regretted it instantly. I had been on the 'edge' with some very popular friends but was never 'in' like they were. Going to the reunion just felt like I was back in high school, a place I had tried very hard to escape in my adult life.

    I'm sorry your friend couldn't see what a wonderful person she was leaving behind in her quest to be popular. But, you may be so much the better for it.

     

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