Wednesday, August 25, 2004

High on High School

my high school was a funny place. it was this sort of experimental magnet school, grades 4th-12th, where "gifted" kids were mixed in with average retards in the hope that the former would somehow elevate the latter. though a lofty goal, kids were kept segregated in either remedial, normal or honors classes, so the mixing stayed minimal. well over half the student body was nonwhite and bussed in from all over los angeles. it was a public school -- never a fee to attend -- but the waiting list was long and admission was awarded through a lottery system. so we had a mini melting pot of races, socioeconomic backgrounds, IQ levels and ages. it probably sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it worked out well.

i began that school in the 6th grade, attended it seven years and graduated from it three times before finally leaving. when i left i had been there longer than most of the administrators. imagine my surprise when i began UCLA in fall 1994 and found myself as the little fish in big pond when i had been just the opposite for so long. in any case, high school wasn't that traumatic. i did all the stuff one is supposed to do -- cram for exams, play hooky, smoke pot, attend prom, lose my virginity (the week before prom!), sign yearbooks, pass notes in class and so forth. normal american stuff.

my graduating class must have been around 130 kids, and we all knew each other. there was a real sense of unity among us, the Eccentrics of 1994. they say college is the time when you make your friends for life, but i'm more tight with my high-school peeps. after all, we went through all our 'growing pains' together, saw each other through the awkward 'wonder years,' went through divorces, custody battles and pep rallies together. they are my true homies and the loyalty runs deep.

so with this in mind, i had been looking forward to my 10-year reunion. we had all kept tabs on each other somewhat through the years, so it was less a curiousity of what everyone was up to now and more about getting people together in the same room. in a nutshell: It was great, really great. that school spirit was palpable, with everyone seeming genuinely pleased to see one another, hug and catch up. what's interesting is that people looked damn good. all the girls must have gone on a reunion crash diet or something, cus they were looking hot. and the boys -- thinning hair and all -- looked beefier in a good way; all the skinny stragglers had finally hit puberty.

the food tasted yummy, the wine glasses seemed to refill themselves, and the party felt right. to see photos of smiling fools you don't know (unless you're my high-school homey), click here, click here! although we did plenty of mingling, parts of the evening felt cliquish -- just like high school. during dinner, there was a black table, latino table, russian table, honors kids table and an everyone else table. i'm only bummed more people didn't turn out. and i'm bummed i didn't get to stay longer. i found out the next day that someone had rented a hotel room nearby, where i'm sure people played seven minutes in heaven.

i bailed out at about 11pm to attend the birthday party of one juanito de la plancha. (happy birthday, juancho.) but yes, overall it was a blast, and i can't wait until the next one.

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