Ever had that nightmare when you’re trapped in a room surrounded by people that look vaguely familiar?
You stress because you cannot remember their names, and then relax because it’s OK – you don’t know them.
Only this time you do. And they know you too, plus things about yourself you’ve happily forgotten.
Welcome to the school reunion.
This weekend it was the ‘The Class of 82’ from St Paul’s Secondary in Addlestone (reinvented twice in the 34 years since we graced its halls and classrooms), known these days as Jubilee School.
Reunions seem a no-win situation. If you were an outsider at school, why on earth would you want to see these people again? If you were cool or sporty why destroy that image (unless you still are)?
Our classmates shape our first identities and even now, as adults, any insecurity from those days still lurks in our consciousness ready to remind us. So don’t be a numpty and prod it.
But psychologists say we cannot resist seeing how the story ends. We know the beginning. We were there. We expect the end is going to be naff but we’d kick ourselves if we missed it.
To say I was nervous was an understatement. I’d been undecided all day if I would actually attend, and right up until the moment I walked in it was still touch and go.
About 50 of us hauled our ageing backsides from near and far across the globe for a chinwag, some tipples, and a creaky joints boogie aided and abetted with questionable dance moves and hilarious party disguises.
Names badges avoided undue embarrassments, and everyone looked like themselves if you ignored all that horrible shape/face/hair shifting shit the ageing process inflicts on you.
Mingling and memory cells rebooting, connections sparked again and the decades peeled away. 1982 and 2016 were folded together. We had a ball. Sheer joy at being together again was on all our faces.
What struck me was how little and how much we’d all changed. We’d blossomed into pretty awesome adults, and I wish our teenage selves could have had a premonition of this. It would have saved a lot of pubescent angst. Old demons were slain and even new friendships formed.
I’m glad I didn’t let nerves get the better of me. I had a blast and relished every moment, but alas the clock struck twelve far too soon. It was then I realised I’d missed this lot, and will now remember my schooldays far more fondly.
To the Class of 82 – including those who couldn’t come and those no longer with us – I’m honoured we went to school together and I couldn’t be prouder of you all. Now bugger off; go back out there and keep kicking the bollocks out of life.