200 Stories ….

Staring out at his old schoolmates, Raphael recalled all the strange feelings he experienced in his high school days.

Feelings of insecurities over his looks.

Worrying about how to ask out the girl sitting in front of him.

Fears about his grades and struggling to cope with his emotions

Discovering what it meant to be a target for a bully and then getting into a fight with said bully.

Wishing he was older, wiser, richer and more adult.

But that was 10 years ago. Raphael had changed and left all those things behind. However, just like memories, those feelings were so potent, that they echoed louder when surrounded by evidence.

Evidence like the attractive crush who had only grown lovelier over the years.

Proof like the maternity bump on one of the most popular girls.

Clues like the wrinkles one of his friends that had helped him in the fight with the bully.

Signs likes the smiles that everyone had on, right now, as they listened to a transformed Raphael deliver his speech.

Hello, Hello, Hello!

Welcome to the 2011 Class, 10 Year Reunion!

It’s great to see you all again. How have you all been? It’s been ages since we’ve all last seen each other hasn’t it?

What is it like? Catching up with people you knew when we were all teens, we’ve all changed so much haven’t we?

Just look around! There are 200 of us here. That’s 200 unique stories that we can all discover here tonight. 200 different choices, lifestyles, life-paths and unique circumstances. Isn’t that incredible?

We spent 6 years together. Six! Imagine that … I can barely scrape through a relationship in 6 months!

But seriously, I wanted to thank you all for attending tonight. It might have been 10 years, but I can already see that, time is irrelevant when it comes to close friendships. We’re all vibing together and it’s awesome to see.

Tonight though, isn’t just about you meeting with your old friends. It’s an opportunity for us to check up on those friends who we left behind when we went to uni or got a job fresh out of high school. It’s also an chance for us to open up to people we wished we got to know better.

That’s right, I’m talking to all of you who had a crush on each other. Now’s the chance to open up and tell them, sorry I got a boyfriend or girlfriend now, but we can hang out sometime?

I’m joking of course. But we’ve all changed so much in 10 years! We’re 28 now … so close to 30! Isn’t that insane? I mean, look at you, you’ve got a baby bump. How about you man! You look like you’re a lawyer now!

I mean, you guys all remember me as the weird kid who had a funny lisp and *ahem* allegedly bought a knife to school. True, by the way, but look at me now!

I like to think I’m not as shy, a bit funnier and a lot more confident, even though I work part time in retail and am trying to branch into events, like the one you are attending right now!

Everyone’s story here is going to be exciting. Take your time tonight to find out. See how much people have or haven’t changed in 10 years!

That is what tonight is all about. Listening to everyone’s story.

No, I’m not going to crown some stupid homecoming queen or grant some award for hottest couple. Or even acknowledge people who have changed the most or … look exactly the same.

We left that shit behind. Come on … we’re not Americans! Why bring up that sort of toxic shit? So relax everyone, we won’t be doing any silly voting and none of us are going to be any more special than each other. We’re nearly 30 for God’s sake … we’ve outgrown the need for that reassurance.

We don’t want to revert back to our high school state do we?

No. Tonight, the only thing you are going to see on that big projector screen behind me, are interesting facts about us ’93 babies. We’ve seen some stuff from 1993 to 2021. I’ll be showing you all interesting historical facts that happened during our lifetime so far, things that we’ve all experienced growing up.

It’ll spark some memories for us all and give us a chance to reflect.

But enough from me! Tonight is about us and having great conversations.

Find those 200 stories everyone!

Our DJ will be playing nothing but nostalgia on her discs. All the classic hits we would have known during high school. Big shout out to Monki!

The bar over there is open for business and so if you need some liquid encouragement to confess to someone here about your crush, let loose! Let’s hear it for John and Jess for their drinks!

Our awesome catering team will be bringing out so much canapes that you’ll think it’s a full meal! Let’s thank Melbourne’s Catering for their food and service tonight!

So eat, drink and be merry! Catch up and exchange some gossip! Talk, laugh and enjoy yourself! Stay here till the sun comes up!

DJ! Spin that shit!

Author’s Note:

Obviously this is pretty autobiographical. A lot of this actually comes from the unique phenomenon known as shower thoughts in which I have a terrible habit of pretending I am in interviews or create speeches to imaginary crowds.

For some odd reason, during and post showers, I tend to be quite eloquent, so I thought it would be fun to write this one down and pretend that I organised a 10 Year High School Reunion.

The opportunity has actually already passed (mine was last year) but I did do a lot of reflecting on what might have happened if someone did organise it (or perhaps someone did and I wasn’t invited) and how I would react to seeing everyone again. Would I be nervous and revert back to my high school attitude and personality? Or would I overcome it, much like Raphael does, and be my true self, the man that I am today?

I often think back to my high school days with a mixture of bemusement and fondness. I usually treat the memories as a reminder of how far I’ve come as a person, how much I’ve changed and how I’ve learnt to embrace every aspect of me.

I don’t see them as my glory days, far from it. In many ways they weren’t that great, just happily average. I definitely do not cling onto them like some do, as the pinnacle of their life.

That’s for when I’m 30+ thanks and got full-time employment in events, am racing every weekend and can sail on a yacht at a whim.

After all, it’s quite sad to think that you’ve hit a peak so early in your life. Goals should be moved and new heights should always be set one you’ve broke them.

But I’m babbling now. This was just a fun speech that I would have delivered, had I been the one to organise a high school reunion, 10 years from our graduation.

For the record, the theme of the night would have been Clueless.

~ Damocles

Dialogue Practice 1

when-harry-met-sally-when-harry-met-sally-2681185-1600-900

When Harry Met Sally (1989). Meg Ryan (left) and Billy Crystal (Right) as the titular characters in the famous deli scene. There’s even a table dedicated to them at the Katz’s Delicatessen in NYC.

Context: A couple, in their 30s, out on a date for the first time together. Having recently plucked up the courage to ask out his coworker, John is nervous but keen to make a first impression. Mary on the other hand, used to being asked out, is relaxed and confident, however she is secretly pleased John had asked her out, as she has always had her eye on him in the office. They are having a candle-lit dinner, in a private booth, of a recently trending Japanese bar in Melbourne.

John: Just so, I don’t make this mistake of talking too much about work, do you prefer us to talk about something else?

Mary: I’m relaxed. I don’t mind talking about work, but …

John: Yeah fair enough, we talk to each other enough there anyway. Umm … do you have any siblings?

Mary: (laughing lightly) Yes, I do. I have two younger sisters. Ashleigh and Jane. They’re 27 and 25. Both are about to get married soon.

John: Really?

Mary: Yeah. I’m sort of the black sheep in the family. I’ve come close a lot of times, but it’s just never really panned out.

John: Do you mind if I ask why?

Mary: Yeah I do actually. Sorry.

An awkward silence descends ….

John: Sorry. I shouldn’t have tried to ask. I’m just nervous.

Mary: Its OK.

John: Dates are difficult for me. I never really quite know what to ask.

Mary: Well, you could try asking about things that aren’t related to my exes for one.

John reflexively coughs in disbelief. But when he sees Mary smile, he feels a bit better.

John: OK. Let me try again. What do you like to do after work?

Mary: Well … aside from going out on dates with awkward men, I like to watch Netflix, going to my Pilates class and learn new languages.

John: Wow. What are learning at the moment?

Mary: French. I know … I know … its cliched. But I spent a semester abroad there in high school, and I ended up falling in love with French culture.

John: avoir bonne mine

Mary: Wow. Merci beaucoup. That was impressive.

John: Just a bit of high school French. Its about the only thing I remember.

Mary: How about yourself John? What do you like to do after work?

John: I’m kind of the same. I like to unwind with Netflix. But I like taking up a lot of new classes. I’m not learning any new languages, but I do some self – defence classes, and recently I took up some textiles classes.

Mary: textiles? Like sewing and knitting?

John: Yep. What? …. I just one day realized that I can’t actually repair my clothes and instead of spending 80 dollars to get them repaired, why not do it myself? See this tie?

Mary: Don’t tell me, you made that ….

John: I did! It took me about a week. But I was really happy with the way how it turned out.

Mary: Can I?

John: Sure.

Mary: Wow Is this silk?

John: Yep. I had it imported.

Mary: Is this your first attempt?

John: Yeah ….. nah I’m just kidding. I’ve been doing textiles classes for at least 2 months now. So its not that recent. But I made my first tie about a month ago. So now I’ve been doing socks, ties, and I’m about to make my own shirt.

Mary: That’s amazing. I should take up a class like that.

John: Well if you are keen, I’m happy to take you to one of mine!

Mary: I’d like that.

John: Care for dessert?

Mary: We always have room for dessert.

John signals the waiter and orders matcha ice-cream with red bean topping. His body language is relaxed, confident and this is reflected in his more casual posture. He isn’t standing to attention as much, and Mary seems to let her guard down more.

The date is a success.

Personal Analysis:

I still think its a bit clunky. I think I struggle the most with getting into other people’s head. I am so wrapped up in my own, its difficult to imagine a different style of talking, with realistic pauses, word use and just sounding different to me.

This probably represents my best attempt. I tried to make John sound more confident as the conversation went along, whilst Mary, with her experience, was just allowing John to take the reins.

A bit of an improvement over my old ways of talking.

But ….

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Damocles.