One of the pervasive myths in our society is that high school is the pinnacle of social fun, surpassed only, of course, by college. I hate it when people talk about the “good old days” when they were 17 and the world was their oyster. They were in school and popular and apparently it doesn’t get any better than that.
High school social life? Please. I am soooo happy my kids won’t have to deal with all the nonsense that goes on in high school. When you are that age and you are in it, it seems like everything. Trying to impress some cute boy, trying to fit in, and trying to be an individual. No pressure.
Whenever someone asks me if I worry about my kids’ social life (which is what they really mean when they talk about socialization) I think of the following two stories.
The first comes from high school, the second from college.
In high school, one of the most sought after boys was Kevin S. (I am not changing, only shortening names. If you’ve known me since high school this shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. Due to the nature of the story I feel no need to protect the identity of those involved.) He was a swimmer – a diver to be exact – and we all thought he was adorable. One of my friends, Samantha, dated him for most of our Junior and part of our Senior year. The school we attended was non-traditional, and we didn’t have classes all day. During our free “mods” as they were called, we could spend time on an open resource floor, studying (or not studying, as was often the case). Kevin, Samantha, another friend Alicia and I all had the same free mod at the end of the day, and would sit at a table together in Science resource. Every other day for an entire year.
Remember that. It’s important.
Cut to a few years ago, when the website classmates.com made a splash. Someone in our high school class sent me the link, and I signed up. A few days later I got an email, and I saw that the name of the sender was Kevin S.! Pretty cool, I thought. I opened it up and the message read something like this:
“Hi Amy, I saw that you joined the East Class of ’85 on classmates.com, but I have no idea who you are, even after looking you up in the yearbook. Regards, Kevin S.”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Luckily he caught me in a good mood, and I laughed and wrote him back, asking did he remember Samantha? Well I was one of her friends. You sat at a table across from me for an entire year…?
So much for the importance of high school socialization.
The second story comes out of college. My Freshman year our theater company put on a production of Tartuffe. I played Marianne, and a girl named Lori P. played Elmire, Marianne’s mother. Now, anyone who has ever been in theater knows that casts tend to get to know each other pretty well. Hours of rehearsal, hours of staging, hours of performances. Lori and I also did a Mask Improvisation class together. We saw each other every day – she had a crush on my boyfriend at the time and we used to joke about it in the dressing room.
Then, a few years after Joshua and I got married, we were living on 21st St. in Chelsea. I was walking home from our store one day and there, at a pizza place on 7th Avenue, sat Lori at a table with 3 other people. I went in and approached them:
She looked up at me and her expression was blank.
“It’s Amy Brougher. You and I acted together in Tartuffe?”
She broke out into a big smile, stood and hugged me, then pulled me down to sit on her lap. (It was a very Lori kind of thing to do. Very touchy feely.) Then she turned to her friends and said:
“You guys, this is Amy. She is the daughter of my very first acting teacher! We practically grew up together!”
Ummm, what? WHAT? I was so astonished that I froze, smile on my face, sitting on her lap. And said nothing.
The definition of awkward.
In lieu of any witty or clever way out of the situation due to the fact that my brain had basically stopped functioning, I made some quick small talk and got out of there. I wonder how long it took before it hit her who I really was.
It’s so great for your ego when people you spent hours and hours with have absolutely no memory of you a few years later. Thank goodness for high school and college social life!
Truth be told I am in regular contact with no one from college – not one person – which I know is probably unusual. I have two Facebook “friends” who were in college with me so I kind of know what’s going on with them, but we don’t see each other or talk (I don’t count Facebook updates as actual communication).
As for high school? There are 4 people I talk to on a regular basis. There were 731 people in my graduating class.
So am I concerned that my unschooled children will lack proper socialization? Hardly. There is an entire world full of people out there.
I’m sure we’ll find a few we like, even without school.