Friday, November 6, 2009

Rebel Yell

This weekend marks my 10 year High School reunion and, boy, does that make me feel old as hell.

All in all, while I wouldn’t call High School the “best years of my life,” I had a hell of a great time and look back with mostly fond memories. Despite the warm fuzzies, my initial feelings about a reunion were mixed. With the advent of Social networking and whatnot, I really didn’t see a need to attend a reunion. Besides, as far as I can tell, ours was organized via Facebook anyway. I could find anyone that might be attending on Facebook – if I was that curious about their life.

The reunion was scheduled at a sports bar in St. Charles and two hours of well drinks and some pizza/bar apps were included in the $30/ticket package. I looked over the details and began to weigh my options…my thoughts went like this…

A. Wow…$30 seems like a lot for well drinks and bar food in the ‘burbs. I could see a concert with that money.
B. Ugh. I don’t really like that bar.
C. I don’t have any family left in St. Charles, so I would have to find somewhere to crash or get a hotel room.
D. Holy crap, is it really $30/person?
E. Meh, fuck it. Not going.

My decision was made. It would probably be fun to see some people, but overall, I was mostly uninterested. Not a biggie. Besides, I’d have to have someone watch my dog, and frankly, I figured a 15 or 20 year reunion would be more interesting anyway. It wasn’t that I disliked anyone that would be attending or organizing the event. Actually, quite the opposite. Those people are good people, it just wasn’t my thing.

Next thing I knew, I started seeing Facebook status updates and e-mails asking me if I would be attending the “Rebel Reunion.” Turns out, some other folks from my High School graduating class decided to throw their own party, on the same night, here in Chicago. One of the organizers owns and runs an art gallery and donated his space for the event. They were offering a four hour premium open bar with finger foods for half the price. My mind again weighed the options…

A. $15 is reasonable and I can bring the boyfriend for only $5 more. Nice.
B. I love art galleries.
C. OMG I can WALK there. If it’s lame I can WALK home.
D. Ohhh, I bet people will turn this into a thing.

Turns out, people did, indeed, turn this into a thing.

Pleading messages started to appear on discussion boards. “Why does it have to be the same night? Why can’t we all just get along?” I found these messages to be a bit strange. Why does it have to be the same night? Because, otherwise, it wouldn’t be an alternative reunion, it would just be another reunion…and people would still find a reason to be mad about it. While I recognized that some people might think that the Rebel Reunion was divisive, I looked at it differently. It simply provided an option for those who would not be attending the “official” reunion. Besides, I find it difficult to believe that the Rebel Reunion crew is poaching potential attendees of the official event.

In addition to the pleas for cohesiveness, I have also recently spotted status updates to the tune of “The Rebel Reunioners support Bin Ladin,” “The original reunion has better people going” or “The Rebel Reunion is for losers.” Really, people? Really? While these antics are all very amusing to watch from my desk chair, I am left to wonder how much we have really grown in the last 10 years. I’m also wondering if this sort of thing is precisely what attendees of the Rebel Reunion are trying to avoid.

I don’t think the organizers of the Rebel Reunion had the initial intention of upsetting anyone or rocking the boat. I also don’t think they planned their reunion with the intent to be disrespectful or cruel to the organizers of the other. I think they just wanted to attend a different kind of event. At the same time, I think they are smart enough folks to know that some people would take it the wrong way and the event might not be well received by everyone. I can’t speak for them, but I’d be willing to bet that they are ok with that.

As for me, I am looking at the Rebel Reunion as more of a party or gathering than a reunion & I actually think it will be pretty cool to attend a party in the owned gallery space of a fellow graduate. Besides, I can WALK home and that rules.