August 13, 2010
So, regardless of the multitude of Ozarkian, rednecky, kidnappy obstacles that were in our way, we finally made it to Missouri with one canceled credit card and flashbacks of ice bucket pee, but without any unwanted hillbilly husbands, which I consider to be signs of a successful trip. If the ice bucket pee-er had been me, this trip may have fallen into the “unsuccessful” category, but since it was only a 9-year-old boy who #1) has the proper equipment needed to comfortably and un-splashily complete an ice bucket pee, and #2) thought it was an amazingly awesome and unparalleled travel experience, it equals success in my book. Nobody died. Nobody got unwillingly hitched. I may or may not have sat in human poo…that’s up for debate. But in my book, poo or no poo, all went well.
Next event: 20th high school reunion. Thank God. After eating nothing for two days but water, almonds, cheese sticks, turkey jerky and air, Stephanie and I were dying to get on with this whole reunion business, which would culminate in an actual 4 food group representing, oven cooked, plate requiring meal on night two. AFTER we had already fit ourselves slimly into 2 night’s worth of outfits without bloated bellies or butts.
The first night of our reunion was at a bar. A smokey bar. A hot, smokey bar. I asked the bartender guy to turn up the air and he said it was up all the way, so I asked him to show me the thermostat, you know, for proof, and for some reason he said no. Did my Perry Mason, Kojaky, Columbo-y bell go off? You bet it did. Especially when someone else asked him to turn it up and he told them it was broken. Anyway, now that we’ve established that the bartender at Bruno’s Bar is a liar, I shall continue….
From the moment we arrived at the bar it was like a freaky “This Is Your Life,” which is some old-timey show that our parents or grandparents watched that I really know nothing about except for the fact that people show up to tell stuff about you that you may or may not remember and you have to try to guess who they are. This was like that. Except for the stuff they tell about you is stuff that you probably don’t remember because you were drunk, or high, or something like that. Also, alot of these people just boldly break the whole reunion name tag rule, which is really annoying, especially when you realize that maybe you retained memories of about 10% of your classmates faces, and of those 10% only about 5% still look anything remotely like they did 20 years ago. To those of you who came up to me excitedly to tell me how happy you were to see me….if you weren’t wearing a name tag, I may have faked the reciprocating excitement. Don’t take this in a bad way. I probably still liked the “Now” version of you, I just didn’t remember the “Then” version of you. Some parts of high school are foggy.
I heard stories. I heard stories of things I did that I have no memory of doing. Do I trust these stories? I’m not sure. Do I think there was a plot to convince me of things that were completely fabricated? Possibly. I am nothing if not a conspiracy theorist. Anyway, I love, love, loved seeing everyone. Whether I remembered you or not. It was more fun than I’ve had in years….drag bars included. I was told many times that I looked exactly the same as I did in high school. EXACTLY. While I suspect that most of you would consider this a good compliment after 20 years of environmental skin damage, baby having and general life stress, I don’t. Please observe:
This is me on the left, looking hot to trot in acid washed jeans, giant black earrings, and bangs taller than the Sears tower. On the right is me sweating my ass off at Bruno’s with my friends Neal and Alicia. Notice the flatter hair, smaller earrings, and you can’t see the proof, but trust me…I am not wearing acid washed jeans. Do I look EXACTLY the same? Now, I have to tell you that months ago I tried to convince Neal that we should go Good-Willing and get some 80’s clothes, do our hair up high and show up at the reunion like a blast from the past and be all like “What are you guys looking at?” and act like we just never moved on, style-wise. But Neal was more concerned with looking all handsome and stuff, which I suppose worked out well because when I was in the bathroom stall at one point that night I heard a group of girls discussing how “hot” and “beautiful” Neal was, now that he’s grown, like, a hundred feet and everything. But since I have heard no stories of anyone in the men’s room discussing how “hot” and “beautiful” I was, I’m not sure I made the right decision in following Neal’s lead in fashion. But whatever.
Even though it was hot and smokey and I only remembered a small handful of people, we had a blast. It was interesting how we found ourselves spending the most time with the people we didn’t really even know in school, and how I found myself clicking with some who I never, ever crossed paths with at all. When you’ve gotten 20 years older and all the labels and cliques have faded away, you just talk to everyone and have a good time. Then you close the bar down and cram into a loud, giant pick-up truck, driven by a tiny girl, and you go to Denny’s with a couple of ex- football players who you thought were douchebags because you pretty much thought all jocks were douchebags, and you find out that you really would have gotten along perfectly the whole time, but it’s okay because you’re having fun now, and you have 5 cups of coffee at 2 am and you laugh your brains out and have lots of fun until you finally get to bed at 3:30 am but stay wide awake until 6:30 because you’re a freaking moron to drink 5 cups of coffee at 2am because you’re not 18 anymore and you need your sleep. And while you lay there between trips to the bathroom with your tiny, old lady bladder, you still think: Who the hell were those people without the damn name tags?
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