Monday, August 4, 2008

On Ten years

"I just can't wait for my ten year reunion
I'm gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You'll know what all this time was for"
- No Such Thing, John Mayer

I'm not a good liar.  That's just one of those things about me.  So when Renee asked me what I'd been up to since I moved to L.A. -- a question I didn't really want to answer -- all I could do was try to change the subject.  When that tactic failed, I was stuck with the truth.

It was December 2005, and I was back in my hometown of Erie, PA for the holidays.  I try to make this an annual trip, but had been forced to skip the previous year due to financial concerns after a recent move.  Consequently, I wanted to squeeze in as many visits with as many friends and family as possible.  One night, Jane invited a bunch of our high school classmates over to her parents' place.  While I was merely an acquaintance of most of her invitees, I'd been friends with Jane since childhood and wanted to visit with her.

After Jane and I got caught up, I was mingling with former classmates and soon found myself confronted with Renee's question.  She was already impressed to hear that I had moved to L.A. and was doing well, so I knew she'd find it all the more impressive when I told her I was working in TV.  I didn't want her to be impressed.  But when you tell people that you're the post production coordinator on "The Amazing Race," it sounds like it's a big deal.  And it's difficult to convince people that it's really not.

Post production coordinators don't win Emmys, don't go to dinner parties with famous people, aren't rich, and don't have any clout whatsoever.  Post production coordinators are one rung higher than the lowest rung on the Hollywood ladder.  You take the job with the hope that it won't be long before you're promoted above it.

But Renee was impressed, bless her.

I'm not going to lie - I want people to be impressed with me.  It makes you feel good about yourself.  Anyone who says otherwise is a liar, and not to be trusted.  But when you're a post production coordinator, you know you're a long way from actually being impressive.  So when people act impressed by it, you can either deliver the buzz-killing monologue about how unimpressive your job actually is, or you can accept the praise and feel like a fraud.  (I guess the third option is that you can believe your own hype, which makes you a fraud in denial.  That's not the type of fraud I choose to be.)

This past weekend, my high school class held its ten year reunion.

"Ten years, huh?" said my (younger) friend May over chat recently.  "How's that make you feel?"  I told her that I'm not all that worried about getting older.  I'm just worried about accomplishing goals as I age.

Also, I want younger chicks to think I'm hot.

I didn't go to the reunion, and I have plenty of excuses for that:  I'm busy with work.  The flight would be an expense I'd rather avoid.  I've already kept in touch with most of my friends from high school.

These are all legitimate points.  But they're also a cover for the biggest reason of all: I don't want to feel like a fraud.

If the point of a high school reunion is to get caught up with old friends and see how much we've changed over the years, then the simple news is that I really haven't changed much at all.  I don't have kids, I don't have a house (although I recently moved into the best dwelling of my adult life), and I'm still a few maneuvers shy of the career goals I've set for myself.  Getting closer, but not quite there yet.

But maybe I'm mistaken about what the point of a high school reunion actually is.  Maybe it's not about busting down the double doors.  (In fact, it almost certainly isn't.)  Maybe it's just about saying "Hi, how are ya" to a group of people who, even if you weren't friends with them, were an important part of your life back in the day.

Maybe we've changed a lot, or maybe we've stayed almost exactly the same.  Whatever the case, I've come to an important realization that I never would have imagined back when I was 18:  ten years is simply not that much time.  It's insane, but it's true.  You know me; I'm not a good liar.

Catch you at the 15?