My ten-year school reunion was on last weekend and I didn't go. Not being on Facebook meant that I was the last to know about it, only hearing at all because my brother happened to have been talking to a guy I was in school with. By that stage I had made plans for Saturday night anyway. Not plans that couldn't be changed, mind, but plans.
It would be easy for me to get in a huff and launch into one of my tirades against the privacy-thieving monster of a social network that dominates our lives, but I won't. "How else would they have organised it?" asked a colleague, who's really old enough to know better. "People had fucking reunions before 2006, you know," I managed not to spit back at her. In reality, though, I appreciate that posting a simple statement on a forum that no doubt 99% of my classmates are affiliated to is infinitely less hassle than tracking down current postal addresses and snailmailing every single one of them, or even emailing each person.
So no, my failure to attend was not because I was fucked off that people think that if you're not on Facebook you must be dead. It was something more intangible than that; and that troubles me. There was, perhaps, a time when I thought I might skulk into my ten-year reunion like John Cusack in Grosse Point Blank, all angsty and in need of some sort of redemption. I would confront those who were the biggest bastards to me, make a few quips and, with any luck, stab someone to death with a pen and make off with the startlingly compliant Minnie Driver.
Turns out school just didn't matter enough to me for any of that to be necessary. People weren't really bastards there, or at least to no greater degree than any teenager is. We were all just folks cooped up together for 35 hours a week in a place where we didn't particularly want to be. It was only oppressive in its mundanity, rather than its cruelty. I find it hard to think of the experience as anything beyond humdrum, and for that reason don't find celebrating with my old classmates any more of a logical thing to do than to celebrate with people I see on the bus to work most mornings. I'm still in touch with the ones I want to be in touch with, and I seem to lack the gene to make me curious about the ones I'm not.
Nostalgia? What is that? We still play video games and we still listen to The Prodigy and Radiohead. If nostalgia for people my age is pretending you liked the Spice Girls more than you did and sitting in a kip of a pub drinking until you overcome your mutual lack of interest in each others' lives then Nostalgia can fuck right off. And so can Facebook.