High school had its high points and low points. Reconnecting with old classmates that you’ve not seen in decades is certainly a high point. I have Facebook to thank for that and two of my dear high school mates – Gay and Elena – who keep the high school spirit alive with their regular postings of old photos including an old libretto of a production we had three decades ago where I played an evening breeze flower plus announcements of good tidings and passing of dear ones. This is one aspect of post-high school life that I don’t want to gloss over. But the universe has to be balanced and the high point comes with a low point. That low point is what I’ve labelled “high school drama”.
There’s no high school drama with my old school mates. In fact, we’re all on a pleasant cruise mode. It’s that annoying generic high school drama that positions itself in the adult world, which drags you on stage to share the limelight. I thought I’ve escaped high school drama and the drama mamas, but I, lamentably, haven’t. Like a bad day that never announces itself, I became an unwitting cast, along with another innocent victim, in a drama called A Meltdown (again) where the lead actor was acting out the part of an angst-filled thirty-something at the crossroads of his life. Without any preamble, he played out his perceived loneliness, pressing need for me-time and constant shunning of his co-actors while seeking the pleasurable company of others. As if governed by the rising and setting of the sun, before others (read: colleagues and fair-weather friends), he flitted about like a social butterfly, a smile hugging his masked face, dispensing a kind word and touch of solidarity to the audience, but nary a word to his co-actors unless a bevy of onlookers were nearby. The impromptu staging of A Meltdown (again) was a full-on high school drama rife with platitudes, its storyline a pastiche of sappy Korean soap operas that soap opera fans watched to discern the answers to the vicissitudes of life.
It was one big messy plot: he was lonely but wouldn’t have anything to do with his co-actors, hiding his disdain for the two under a pasted on smile. He celebrated with other people who under the sun and other intimate gatherings. His aloofness to his co-actors, he rationalised, was not because of their presence but it was just he couldn’t verbalise his churning emotions to them because they would never ever understand being women who are, in his mind, prone to blow things out of proportion. He only wanted a hug and a smile – his assurances that all was well with the world – from the two and nothing else. They only needed to respond when he addressed them with, as two saw it, a smile thick with falsity. He knew there was something amiss with his puzzling behaviour but was too lazy to place the cards on the table and sort things out.
I was never one to sit still and be contented to be a sounding board (unless I was down with the flu or rhinitis). I never liked the idea of being seen and not heard either, to smile like an idiot not knowing why, to be subjected to someone’s vagaries and particularly have my intelligence and gender belittled.
My old high school – good old JASMS – had taught me that ranting will never work with a puerile drama queen nor will sitting down for a mature discussion. There’s only one way for the curtain to go down on this misplaced high school drama. I’ll definitely do it with panache and in my nice heels too – count on that.