My high school reunion is this weekend. In honor of the occasion, my face broke out. Perfect. Now I’ll be completely recognizable. Plus the zits can draw attention away from my growing collection of gray hairs.
My subconscious has joined in the fun by producing several anxiety dreams either set in the halls of my high school or featuring classmates I haven’t seen in twenty years as characters in bizarre plots. I have yet to do anything heroic or amazing in these dreams, confirming my innermost fear that I am still one of the uncool kids.
When I first told Peter about the weekend’s events, Mr. Antisocial immediately said, “I’m not going.” This was not a surprise, but I startled him with my response.
“Are you kidding? I’m not taking you! You already have plenty of fodder for mocking me.”
Since I’m not forcing Peter to join me on Saturday night, he’s going to a tractor pull. That leaves me in charge of Philip.
I’m not sure what to do with him.
When my mom heard about our plans for this weekend, she volunteered to watch Philip. I haven’t decided whether to take her up on the offer. We’ve been invited to bring our families to Saturday night’s catered picnic. It’s being held at a private campground, so there would be room for Philip to play and nature for him to explore.
On the other hand, if I send Philip to grandma’s house, I won’t have to worry about keeping an eye on him or rushing home when it’s time for his bath and bed. Or rushing home because he is miserable. I’d be able to eat without him climbing up on my lap or having to abandon my plate to give chase if he wanders off.
I was asking Peter’s opinion this morning. He voiced one of the advantages of taking Philip that has been lingering in my mind.
“You know, if you take him, you’ll have an excuse to leave.”
Indeed. If it turns out I have nothing to say to these people, Philip serves as the perfect reason to cut my losses and run.
I haven’t always been so strategic when it comes to escaping awkward social situations. While I was in college, I became that pathetic girl who lingered at parties. Despite the fact that I didn’t drink or smoke, I was afraid to leave the party too soon lest I miss that funny incident destined to become legend, an inside joke that I, having left early, would never be allowed to share. I stayed when I was bored. I stayed even though I was never sure of the right things to say. I stayed even though I still didn’t feel like I belonged.
I worry that, if I go to my reunion without Philip, I’ll only repeat this pattern. Sure, with age I am learning to accept myself for who I am and learning to focus less on thinking about what others may or may not be thinking about me. Yet, I worry that being around people who “knew me when” will trigger all my insecurities. I fear that, in a quest to fit in, I’ll stay too long, try too hard and revert back to that person that I hoped that I’d outgrown.
Unless the weather takes a turn for the worse, I think I will take Philip with me. Since he has been a catalyst for so much of my self-reflection, self-improvement and changes for the better, it makes sense to bring him along. Who wouldn’t want to be accompanied to a potentially awkward social situation by a person who brings out the best in her?
It’s never awkward over at the Yeah Write Weekend Moonshine Grid. Stop by any time after 6:00 pm EDT Friday to drink up some great stories.