So, Saturday was my high school reunion. Aside from a general feeling of “Oh God, when did I get so old?” I was looking forward to the event, as I was interested to see how the last ten years had treated people and what they had been up to in that time period.
First of all, I want to say that I was over optimistic. I imagined a nice, laid-back atmosphere where I’d have long conversations with people and I would come off as stunningly witty or something along those lines, and my former classmates would leave me thinking, “Man, she’s done well for herself.”
Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking either.
Saturday I found myself getting anxious. What was I going to tell people? I’m a writer, which some people don’t consider a real job. It doesn’t pay that much, it’s not terribly glamorous. But I sucked it up, grabbed my business cards (got to justify their existence somehow, right?), and dragged my husband along.
It was…not what expected. It was hot. Ungodly hot. Makes-you-sweat hot, which is just not impressive to anyone. And it was loud, so you had to shout to be heard, which is not conducive to catching up with anyone. And apparently I don’t actually remember names that well, or faces, for that matter, which was embarrassing and awkward. What do you do when someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, remember me?” when you honestly don’t? Do you say no and hurt their feelings, or yes, and hope you can play it off successfully?
By far the most common question of the night was “So, what’s new with you?” It was a bad question, and we all knew it was a bad question, and yet we all asked it anyway. It’d been ten years. No one really expected anyone else to say “Yes, well, I went to college, and here’s what happened there, and I got this degree and then moved to this state for this job, and then I decided I hated that job, so now I raise alpaca. Oh, and I got married, and then divorced, and then married again and had 15 children,” so then there’d be an awkward pause while the answerer debated the best thing to mention.
Smarter people asked about specifics, such as relationships or work, and I experimented between answering writer or author to see the different reactions. “Writer” made people think nonfic or technical documents, whereas “author” would then get questions about genre and what was available. I plied my business cards liberally which, for me, is, like, five.
After all, networking is the game, right? I may not see these people for another ten years, but if they pull out that card and think of me (and hopefully my stories) between then and now, it will have accomplished something. In theory.