The holidays. A time for reunions, for love, for friends, for the overwhelming feeling of “togetherness”. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Your mom bakes you warm cookies as you lie on the couch, one sock on, one on the floor, for no reason at all. You visit old friends, reminisce on all the magical nights you shared. The ones full of the mixed alcohol you cautiously stole from mom and dad’s liquor cabinet and the drunken prank calls that filled your pink Razor. You’ll hit all the old spots: the gym, the bagel shop, the movie theatre, even all the bars you could never get into before – But hold up, isn’t that the guy I once gave an OTPHJ in photography class when I was 17 standing in front of me at Starbucks? And grocery shopping high with mom’s credit card is all fun and games until you run into Profé Marten and have to explain your major in broken Spanish.
The small talk, intolerable. The interaction, inevitable. You’ll see them. They’re around. They see you see them and there is no avoiding it. They lurk in the shadows like the ghosts of high school past. Who are they?
The 10 people from high school you will inevitably run into this winter break:
1. The girl who has a kid: You run into her at Chipotle and make awkward small talk while you carefully stare at her child’s features because you’re sure you used a condom but also it was 2011, Trey Songz was on and you’d been saving that condom since you were 14. While your inexperienced bodies may have knocked together for one fleeting night of sexual ineptitude on the futon in her basement, you have very little else in common. This semester, while you conquered flip cup like the borderline alcoholic champ you are, she was up at the same ungodly hour, rocking her screeching urchin—I mean “gift from God”—to sleep. While you were sipping the sweet victorious juices from a beer bong, her “gift from God” was quite literally suckling the child-bearing juices from her…well…anyway…She’ll tell you how happy she is, how much she loves her kid, but you already know this because she posts 4-5 Instagrams per day of said child.
2. The aspiring rapper: You thought it was just a phase – you know the “7th graders experimenting with Garageband and circle jerking phase?” But no. It’s 4 years later and they just invited you to “like” their “group’s” Facebook page. And sure, some people have to make it big some day, so why wouldn’t it be him? Oh right. Because he is a white privileged douchebag from East Bumblef***k, Connecticut whose idea of strife would best be illustrated in a rap entitled “WiFi Down” or “New Kicks That Ma Bought Me for My Half Birthday Got A Lil Bit of Dirt On ‘Em”. Here’s to hoping the rap he wrote inspired by the repressed night you lost your virginity to him doesn’t hit the top 40 charts. “Damn that pussy turned out to be a real fox, insertion always better when you wearin’ yo socks.” Sigh. But, you know, we support you and everything! Not financially obviously and we won’t come to your shows don’t be silly but totally we get it.
3. The sorority girl: She will tower over you, ask you to take a picture immediately and call you “BAH-habe” at least 7 times all before getting distracted by somebody else (repeat x25). You’ll forget you saw her until she posts a photo of you and #HighSchoolLOL #reunited #yourschoolsloganhere. Your best bet is to stay on your game: stay linked into the social media world because she’ll likely post where she is the second she gets there. Constantly update Snapchat as she is somebody who utilizes the geotagging feature to the fullest. The fraternity brothers who she’s been giving blue balls to for 3 years will follow so remember these three rules: refresh the feed, avoid the location, and continue on with your winter break free of Greek letters and frat stars.
4. The future doctor: This kid is just as annoying as he was in high school. As you drunkenly talk about your communications degree they have it completely together. You literally watched him take 7 shots of tequila but then see him texting and know damn well he’d correct “your” to “you’re” if he came across it. He’ll probably be your doctor in ten years when you receive third degree burns from playing a game you and your friends will invent known as “Ultimate Fire Quidditch”. Don’t worry, your insurance won’t cover it. You’ll have to leave his patronizing stare and resort to Neosporin at home. He’ll call it a night around 1 am and when you call him a “pussy” he’ll explain that he has to volunteer at a hospital in the pediatric oncology department. Oh.
5. The girl who never drank in high school who now totally “parties” at a Big Ten University: If you go to the bars after 12:30 you might miss her. She’s likely already at home throwing up and/or making out with a 30-year-old man. Sweetheart, we are literally not in Kansas anymore. He is not a frat boy. He is a grown man with 2 kids and a pension plan. Do you know what a pension plan is? Do you know your fake eyelashes are stuck to his earlobe right now? I’ll take you home if you promise to tell your mother you love her.
6. The kid who you used to get high with: He wears a blanket as a coat to the bar which pairs nicely with his greasy man bun and infected eyebrow ring. You think back fondly on the times you shared, rolling blunts and awkwardly driving around for hours, but you’re glad you never did quite as much acid. Some of his stoner bros sluggishly approach and you find yourself alone amidst a plethora of “drug rug” sweatshirts and a smoky haze that seems to be brought on by their very presence. You suddenly remember D.A.R.E. and that anti-drug commercial where all of the pot-smoking friends are melting, while the sober commercial protagonist remains in her natural human state. You. You are that sober commercial protagonist. Huh, so this is what it must feel like to be a “square”. At least you’re not melting. Touche D.A.R.E Officer Rubins, touche.
7. The girl who is engaged: How the fuck did Sarah from pre-calc. get engaged and I can’t even get a guy to pay for my Uber in the morning? We are all familiar with this rare sub human species. You don’t remember a single moment in her life when she was single and you’re suspicious as to whether she has some sort of sorceress magic emanating from her vagina. The kind of single where the instant her long and meaningful relationship ends (on good terms, of course) an athletic-pre-med-British Prince Charming pops out of seemingly nowhere and kisses her hand until she vows her days to him. Her cycle of infatuated gentlemanly suitors will continue until she finally accepts a ring. And even though you won’t be invited to the wedding that’s ok, because you’d probably be dateless and fall asleep drunk with half your face in the chocolate fountain. Oh, it’s going to be a five tier red velvet cake with cream cheese filling and a salted chocolate ganache frosting, IS IT?! My hookup buddy won’t even share his chicken fingers with me at late night dining. The couple will inevitably post a beautifully made video of their barn yard wedding and you will watch it and cry into your Flavor Blasted Goldfish.
8. ?????: You have absolutely no idea who this person is but damnit she knows you and is determined to converse. Even worse, she’ll will want to talk about the memories you definitely don’t remember sharing in a surprising amount of detail. While you struggle to recall the science class you apparently took together junior year, homie over here is giving you a play-by-play of that one fire drill in the middle of March “where the grass was way more dewy than it normally is, which is weird because that year was a pretty arid Spring as I’m sure you remember. But that didn’t stop old Ferguson from yankin Mrs. Ortega’s chain amirite?!” Mrs. Ortega…? What class was this again? Who is Ferguson?? WHO ARE YOU?! Breathe baby, keep your cool (as the kid you used to get high with would remind you). Take it as a compliment. You are memorable. You obviously made an impact on ?????’s high school self. Your safest bet here is to just smile, nod, and make a general joke about your school principal. If that doesn’t work revert to the ol’ “I am suffering from a bit of amnesia after a bump on the head. Wait I shouldn’t even be drinking. I must leave at once!” Flee. Flee free, and never look back.
9. The person who took your virginity: Remember that dark, confusing night? The moon was full, your pants were off and you weren’t sure if it was his cell phone or an erection but you just went for it, you daredevil. At 3 am you went home and avoided each other for the next few months. Or maybe you had a beautiful experience. He held your hand, lit a candle and you listened to Marvin Gaye as he reminded you to “let him know if he’s going too fast”. I don’t know what’s worse. Either way, if you’re lucky he/she is fat now.
10. The one who got fit: You’ve lost 20 pounds and honestly- you look great! But nobody wants to tell you that. Do you know why? Do you? Because you post about it on social media 15 times a fucking week “Sasha”. We get it, you’re vegan now. Oh and you do Crossfit. Please enlighten me more to the wonders of Crossfit! There are not enough people spreading the word yet!!! Because “health is a way of life” #cleaneating #fitspo and “excuses don’t burn calories” #nodaysoff and “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” #blessed #progress #legday. No. Tacos. Tacos taste better than skinny feels. If only your poor motivational quote alter ego could remember the guacamole and sour cream. You would throw it all away. You know what’s more annoying than seeing the posts of your artisan kale and quinoa dinners? Hearing you tell me about it as I’m shoving pizza and beer in my mouth simultaneously at 2 am. We’re proud of you, though. “276 days clean!” Good for you! But it’s been 10 hours and I’m finally not too hungover for a bottle of wine.
While these ambiguous descriptions of ghosts of high school past have undoubtedly hit a little too close for you some reading, don’t let this discourage you from enjoying winter break. Take this time to be grateful that college has allowed you to expand your friendship horizons and learn how to socialize with these obscure characters (only when absolutely necessary and only when absolutely piss drunk). Take a shot with Big Ten University girl, give an uncomfortable nod to dude who took your virginity, and take that hit from stoner bro’s blunt. Maybe if you’re even feeling extra friendly, tell aspiring rapper that you think “he’s really going to make it” or something. Tis’ the season, right?