Let's say you've been out of college a long time (okay, a really long time), and you go to this reunion (okay, it's a really big reunion. You know, the one where they hit you up for a lot of money).
Mimi Schmir: And let's say you started blogging a year or so earlier, which is a fancy way of saying, "Writing Stuff about Your Life." Except let's say you're a "Fictional Blogger." Which is a fancy way of saying, "Some of the stuff you write is made up." But that's okay, because you put it out there. You create a character and she has a different name than yours (let's say it's "Esmé"), and you start writing stuff about her life. And some of it is true (about yours) and some is not. And you are very clear about this.
But what you learn is, people want to believe you and Esmé are the same person. Okay, Esmé is more or less the same age as you, and she has more or less (okay, exactly) the same number of children, who happen to be the same age and gender as yours, and she is more or less going through a lot of the stuff you are going through too. You know, being in the middle of your life, finding rolls of skin under your bra where there never used to be any, that kind of thing.
But Esmé has a hell of a lot more fun than you do, which is maybe why people like her so much. She has an ex-husband, for starters (okay, the getting there was not fun, for her at least, but people seem to like that). She does stuff. She gets a rocking tattoo. She has a lot of sex in compromising places. She sows her wild oats. She's starting over. Which we can all relate to, at least in theory. You know, a girl can dream.
So let's say that you're at this big college reunion and somehow you have been convinced to "perform" your blog. Okay, this is unsettling, to say the least. You try to get out of this disturbing endeavor. You know there is an Entertainment Night, and you try to convince the organizers that you reading a blog is not entertaining. Guys with long hair trying to relive their youth singing rock 'n' roll is entertaining -- well, sorta. A cappella groups are entertaining (it's one of those schools). Comedians who made it big on Late Night are entertaining (okay, he's not actually in your class, but you get the picture). In any case, a girl with back fat reading from her blog, not so much.
But you are a sucker. And you used to be a "performer." In another life (this would be a college life), you were the Actress. And that is what these people think you still are -- if they even think of you. Which, of course, most of them don't. But that is neither here nor there, because you agree in the heat of the reunion moment to read your blog. Even though, while you are at the dress rehearsal, one of the a cappella guys rolls his eyes at you when he hears what you are doing. Because, you know, he is A Cappella Guy (and this is one of those schools).
So you sit down on the edge of the stage and you read your blog. This is hardly acting, though the part about the tattoo is totally made up. You have a spotlight on you like you are Judy Garland. And after it is over, A Cappella Guy comes up to you and says, "Hey, that was really good." Like he's surprised, the doofus. But you know, he's A Cappella Guy, so you give him some leeway. And then he kind of grins at you and says, "So, listen. Where's the tattoo?" And that's when you realize that he thinks the story that you read is true. And then he tells you he's divorced. And you realize, because Esmé is, that he thinks you are too.
A week or so later, you are home and you get a message in your Facebook inbox. You only ever use your inbox because you are a Facebookphobe. In the inbox is a note from
A Cappella Guy. We will call him, "The Voice." And The Voice writes how much he enjoyed your reading, and you are flattered. And then he goes on to write that he couldn't really focus on what you were saying, though he is sure it was very good, because he was focused on your mouth. "Your lips," he writes, "are very kissable."
Hmmm. You are middle-aged, right? So you are flattered. You think you are flattered. But then you decide that this is something he must have written in the heat of the post-reunion moment. And that he was very likely drunk. And because you are confused, you don't tell your husband. Well, you tell him, but it takes, like, a month.
So this is what you learn at your college reunion. You are not who you really are. You are who they want you to be. And in this instance, they want you to be a divorced mom with two kids and a tattoo that says, "I am starting over." Because if you are starting over, maybe they can too.
What you don't realize is you are starting over.
You just don't know it yet.
|Mimi Schmir is a television writer and producer. Her "Hot Flashes" blog, originally written during the 2007 Writer's Strike, is being adapted as a novel for Penguin/Putnam and she is currently developing "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" for television. She lives in Los Angeles with her Writer-Producer husband and their two young boys, the youngest of whom just started kindergarten. She fantasizes about sleeping.|