I grew up in the quintessential New England town – wealthy, snobby, and boring. My high school experience was essentially a combination of Mean Girls, Dawson’s Creek, and Gossip Girl, except I never, ever had sex with Chuck Bass, so I’m still dealing with that. Much like the other members of my graduating class, I immediately fled the state and found myself at a large state school with a powerhouse athletic program and an incredible Greek life scene, conveniently located more than 1,000 miles from my hometown.
Don’t get me wrong, high school was great, but it had an expiration date: graduation. I was literally over high school before my first day of Freshman year started. I had more minions than Blair Waldorf and more homecoming tiaras than I knew what to do with. Yes, I had a great group of girlfriends, but we all went our separate ways when it came to our college choices. We keep in touch, and meet up for drinks when we’re home, but it’s obvious that all of our college friends/sorority sisters have made a more lasting impression on us, which is fine. However, I’ve come to realize that my involvement in the Greek system allowed me to completely forget about my hometown friends while I was at school – as soon as Bid Day happened, my Skype dates with my hometown friends dwindled because ALL of my time was consumed by my sisters. This was totally fine, even once I had graduated and moved to a new city to avoid the “real world” by attending something called “grad school.” I talk to my college besties literally EVERY day, and our Skype dates are still tres frequent. Also, nothing has been more fun than visiting my sisters on long weekends at their respective law schools/med schools/job locations.
While all of this may be great, I was hit with a harsh reality recently: my hometown still exists. I came home to visit my family and visit this new little infant creature one of my friends popped out. I had a realization: the only good thing about my hometown is its proximity to larger cities in which my sisters work, hence, cities worth visiting. I also had another realization: I literally know none of the people I graduated with because I cut them all off. The other night, my mother (love her this week) and I decided to grab drinks/order a salad and barely touch it/drink wine at the local watering hole in my hometown. I was sitting at the bar, staring at the leafy green scenario on the plate in front of me and sipping my 3rd (4th? 5th? Unclear) glass of overpriced Chardonnay when the rudest thing happened…someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and looked directly into a face of a boy who looked vaguely familiar. “Pearls!” the face spoke. “How are you!”
Okay, one, way too enthusiastic for someone whose name I couldn’t place. Two, how the hell was I supposed to respond? I did what any bewildered person would do: I smiled, said hello, and introduced my mother, which elicited the response I needed: a name to call this stranger. Apparently, we graduated together, and apparently he’s still living in our hometown. I almost felt sorry for him, but I needed another glass of wine, so instead I just signaled the bartender. He took that as a cue to exit, which was cute, because I honestly had nothing to say to the kid. That was when it hit me: hometown visits are so depressing yet such great self-esteem boosters. Well, they would be depressing if I shared compassion for people. Mostly they’re such great self -esteem boosters, because essentially, if you did a “Where are they Now?” of people you went to high school with, they will fall into 5 Categories:
This one’s my favorite. I love when anyone gets fat, because I have literally weighed the same number since I was 16, and trust me, it’s a great number. I also love that this term is so universally applicable. It’s great for that kid that was mildly attractive and mediocre at sports in high school, but has since let himself go and has allowed the extent of any workout he does to include lifting an empty keg and replacing it with a new one. It’s also fantastic to use it on that one girl that was kind of your friend but you secretly hated, but you ended up having her in your prom limo anyway. Trust me. Nothing is more rewarding than knowing this bitch probably spent the equivalent of her college tuition replacing her wadrobe with clothes that better fit her HUGE frame. So fun.
According to my research, which is infallible, the kids who got married super early out of high school were the total weirdos…you know, the couple that decided to save themselves for marriage, or the girl who met her husband while playing some online video game. Well, they’re still weirdos, and they have this weird effect on me, because for the briefest moment, I have a feeling of despair that if THESE people have found someone to share their lives with, something must be seriously wrong with me aside from my crazy eyes and tendency to over-stalk. Once I realize that these people had ZERO personality, I remember that they’re way jealous of the crazy, fun, single life I live, and move on.
3. So Skinny it’s Insane
I love a good weight loss scandal, but these ones are never by natural causes. Like, there’s that ONE girl that didn’t know when to lay off the nose candy and now she’s Kate Moss’s thinspiration. Or, there’s that one girl that I mercilessly called fat throughout high school until she got bulimia. But like, she’s so skinny now, so she should probably thank me, anyway. Whatever.
Unclear as to how it happens, but some portion of every high school class will become the least accomplished portion of the population, regardless of who their parents are or how much money their trust funds hold. These cases are great for your self-esteem, because nothing makes you feel better about yourself than hearing the girl you sat next to in Geometry has been in and out of rehab 8 TIMES. These people are still hanging around your hometown area, and are basically a performance art piece of every parents nightmare for their children.
5. Actually Doing Something with Their Lives
I would like to put myself in this category, but I know there are some who are far more deserving. These are the people who you NEVER hear about going out, because their lives are full of career commitments. These people aren’t too bad to run into, because chances are good they’re just back in town to visit as you are. These are the people you almost feel bad about ignoring during your four years at undergrad, because they weren’t bad people during your time in high school. But then again, they’re so boring/not fun/not receptive of drinking at 2:00 in the afternoon that you remember why you loved your sisters so much more.
Bottom line? Hometown visits are great, but they’re also way ridiculous when you realize that almost NONE of your best friends live there. And as for the people that still do? Trust me, you’re not missing much.