I had a bit of a reunion with some high school friends that I really hadn’t seen in a long time. I still hang around with Paladin and Kazuma, but it’s been forever since I’d seen Jenna, Acidwisp or Jessica. I think it kinda came up because we’ve recently been getting invitations to our high school reunion. And, y’know; fuck ’em, because we know that we were the coolest ones anyhow, so we can just do our thing whenever we want.
I was never really close with Jess, but it turns out that now she teaches at the high school that we all went to together. I guess I’d say more if I knew more but we really don’t have that much history together.
Jenna and Acidwisp though were closer to me. I guess my memory fails me a bit nowadays but I do have a few things that I can draw back on. When I used to go to high school, I was always in there early. I left super early to go to school. In part it was because I didn’t like the crowd of the bus later on. In larger part, I think I was just always a bit of a loner, because when i say early, I meant that I was usually in school a bit before 7am even though we only needed to be there for 8:30.
Usually I spent that time in the music room, practicing, since I didn’t own any drums of my own. In the early years I went in to practice every day because I wanted to get into the high school band. I remember doing the entrance exam for the band in grade 9, and at the time the test consisted of sightreading a piece of competition calibre music and playing it on the spot. There was a particular rhythm that I’d never seen before on paper, and I failed the test while one of my buddies Kal got in, and I remember that being a traumatic moment for me. But I’d go in and practice and practice and eventually, a few weeks later, the band director gave me a second shot and I got in. I’d go in and practice early and then leave before anyone else came in to practice. Usually I’d go to the third floor and there was jenna, sitting in front of her locker, trying to figure out some math homework or something.
The hallways were such that there was always sunlight coming down the east end of it, and it was blinding. The shadows of the doors stretched out along the entire length of those halls.
I’m not sure if that’s where I met Jenna or not, but she was also someone who came in to school really early all the time. Being in the same grade and having at least a few of the same teachers, we spent the mornings either doing homework or copying from eachother. I think there was one thing we had in common– we didn’t really like our parents. She didn’t talk much about that, but neither did I, and that was one thing that I think I could relate with: silence when it came to our parents. In large part, one of the reasons why I went to school so early every day and busied myself with events after school was so I wouldn’t have to go home. Ironic, since most parents sign their kids up to things so they’ll be too busy for drugs– but I signed myself onto things so I wouldn’t have to go home.
In later years, she started playing volleyball, which was something I was into as well. I played briefly on the bantam team, while she was on midget. Seeing as her team usually trained at night around the same time as band practice, she usually would hang around with Fil and I and we’d just start doing stupid things in the gym since nobody was around to stop us. I think that out of my circle of friends, she was perhaps the only who didn’t learn how to play hackey sack. But there was always volleyball. Our paths crossed on those courts pretty often because we both played mixed games when they were first becoming popular.
Acidwisp was someone who I met by chance through computer classes I think. Back in the day before easily accessible internet, online communities were on Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes). You’d dial up via modem, go on some discussion groups, maybe play some games in 16 colors of ANSI coded art– it was all quite primitive and it came at a time where things like your mice still had IRQ settings. I remember my 14.4 USRobotics modem had an IRQ conflict with my mouse, such that it would only receive data if I wove the mouse around. Strange huh?
Anyway, Acidwisp and I met through the highschool BBS or soemthing like that. Even Paladin and Zanshin were part of the BBS, and we’d organize the high school BBS to fight wars against rival BBSes. There were games like Solar Realms Elite and Barren Realms Elite that had inter-bbs capabilities, so that each BBS was like a ‘planet’ or ‘country’ and each player on each BBS was one general. It was, in a sense, the turn based, text based precursor of the modern MORPG.
In later years, Acidwisp and I would become closer friends because of hackey sack and “Prefects,” who were the school ‘police.’ I put that very loosely in quotes because we were very much like a bunch of untouchables, taking the law into our own hands, and abusing our authority for personal gain. We got to wear these burgandy vests, later upgraded to snazy black ones that look a lot like what you might see in Indigos.
We got out of classes 5 or 10 minutes earlier than anyone else because we had to do traffic duty in the cafeterias. The best part? Getting out 5 or 10 minutes early meant that you could go in, buy all the chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk, and then resell it for more expensive when the supplies eventually weren’t enough to handle demand. Man, we made a killing.
Ah, those were the days.
It’s interesting how after meeting them after all these years, they’re very much the same as I remember them. I mean, Jenna and Acidwisp. And I mean, they’re the same in the right kind of way. They’ve got jobs now, they’re part of this same generation as I am where we’re in charge of the future of mankind for some reason because we’re now (more or less) responsible members of society. That’s really a frightening thought when i really think about it, how, we are the worknig generation who are in training to be the leaders of this planet. Just a bit.
Regardless of how far they’ve come though, they’ve somehow managed to retain the same kinda energy that drew me to them when I was in high school.
It’s a bit of a cliche to say that the more things change, the more they stay the same, but I really can’t put it any other way. I suppose in many ways, looking at myself, I have changed– but there are fundamentally ways in which I haven’t. Maybe it’s just the jackets and the cover art to this ongoing biography have changed, wheras the contents thus far, lettered in ink or pixel, do not. And I think that’s in large part why I hold many high school friends in such high regard– because they were part of the formative years that, perhaps in the largest parts, influenced the direction I’m in today.
I’m going to see if I can’t hold on to them, and try to get our group together more often than just every 10 years. I’m happy to say that in meeting them again, I don’t want to just hang out with them again because it’s a good ‘maintenance’ thing to do, but because they’re connected to me in some sort of historical way that still makes sense on some sorta chemical level. The bunch of us met up at Jon’s place this yesterday and had a barbecue. Before I knew it, 5 hours had passed and I had to leave to go to work.
It’s good to have things like things like that happen. I mean, things that make you lose track of time.
I think that’s one of the major differences between me then and me now though– the sunlight thing. I really, really used to be a morning person. I’d wake up super early because I wanted to see the sun rise. I’d sit on a particular side of the bus just so that while it was coming up on the bridge, I could see it on the horizon– I took a particular bus just to see that.
Nowadays– it’s different. A year of working on a South Korean hagwon clock has gotten me used to waking up to a highnoon sun, and finishing work to moonlight. And now that I’m doing night shifts, I leave work as the sun is climbing and then go to bed before it gets any momentum– by the time I wake up, it’s already on it’s retreat. On typical days (non overnight work days) I sleep at 3 in the morning, and on overnight work days, I sleep at about 8am. I’m a night person now.
I also used to be more of a grou person. I hung out with more friends at once back in highschool. The high school band was a big thing for me. Training in Jeet Kune Do was another, because there was a class, and in a certain way there was that sorta camraderie of an event where everyone was lined up doing exactly the same thing. I might even say that in Montreal 1.0, I played badminton because of that– because I liked hanging out with the group, even though i wasn’t close with anyone.
Nowadays? I guess now although the method has changed, I haven’t changed so much. I mean, just superficially. I still prefer to meet up with people in small groups or one on one. I just don’t go through the whole process of involving myself in large things anymore. You see a gradual progression– from me participating in a band of 40 students to me just playing guitar alone or maybe with Paladin if he’s around. From me doing JKD in a class of 20, to doing semi-private lessons in a class of 4-5, to doing Numac and training one on one.
Fundamentally it’s not that anything’s changed so much, but I guess I just am more comfortable with being ‘alone’ now. I don’t feel the need to push myself to surround myself with people I don’t know.
I mean, on some level, I do– because I need to meet new people to freshen things up– but I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve come to really appreciate meaningful relationships with people, a genuine pursuit of moments where time flies.
I don’t do much social ‘charity’ work nowadays, and if there’s anything this little reunion highlights, it’s that I don’t necessarily have to; there are people out there who are just fun and who I don’t feel bored or burdened to be around.