The reunion


Here is video of me and Chris at my high school reunion. Guess which one is Chris.
Chris: "I wish I had his moves! He's awesome!"
Dana: "I'm glad you don't! I never would've slept with you!"

Alternative titles: Watching this is what drunk feels like.

So I purchased new bling for the reunion, namely another gaudy necklace. How I love gaudy.

Here's a photo of me and my high school best friend Shelley:

We were both jocks; she played soccer and softball and I ran track and cross country. We lost touch sometime during our early years in college. She went to school in another state and I stayed behind to attend a prestigiously snooty fine arts university. I literally stumbled upon her at the reunion after we abandoned our first table when we discovered that it was already claimed by a small, feral group of drunk stoners who were the same drunk stoners from ten years ago, just now with less hair. Some things hadn't changed.

When we saw each other we engaged in the human female custom of Girl Screaming with All the Hugging and stuck to each other for the rest of the night. Shelley and I never really belonged to any proverbial "cliques;" we each bounced between groups of friends. It seemed more fun that way.

Really, I had a great time. I didn't think I would say that because I honestly wondered if ten years was sufficient enough of a buffer between now and then. I think the same groups existed, if only because everyone tended to drift towards the ties they maintained while in school as a safety net. When we first arrived, the surrealism of the event hung like mist in the air. We didn't talk to anyone for the first five minutes; we stood there and stared at everyone. When I finally did start working the room, I noticed that many had memorized minute-long speeches compromising their ten-year journey, current profession, romantic and family life. It was hysterical and I was totally sober. I did not have a speech memorized, thus was ill prepared to briefly explain just what on earth a "professional blogger" is so I stuck with recognizable keywords like "writer," "columnist," and "Post-Dispatch." A lot of them already read the column.

In many ways it felt like being transported back to high school times, except now we were married and had kids. What really shocked me was how the majority of my high school class had married each other. When we all grouped together for this painful shot below:

I noticed that the number of husband/wife stragglers left in the back were surprisingly small. Literally - the homecoming king and queen married each other, the class president and secretary married each other (no jokes, they're nice); plus a frillion other people in my 500+ person class married each other. Isn't that like, an affront to nature when that many in the same class marry one another? I've never heard of such a thing. It felt kind of like Pleasantville.

The people who I was most curious about were no-shows. I wondered about a friend of mine who told me when I last saw him several years ago that he wanted to become a chef; which Shelley told me he achieved. I wondered about the peroxide-psycho who lost her junk when she projected that I signed my name too close to that of her boyfriend's on our senior class t-shirt which spawned a semester-long JELUS-fest that I wasn't aware of until the end of the year. (Notch that as another reason to NOT have a daughter: my word THE DRAMA.) I wondered about the small group of friends that I hung out with during high school summers and partway through college. We met to play pool nearly every night, or swim at another's house. We took road trips together, spent holidays together, consoled each other, visited each other at out-of-town universities, and were there to steady those first feeble steps into total independence - moving out - for a few. They gave me some of the best memories of my youth. I wondered about another best friend that left to join the navy in special ops and disappeared. Our calls became infrequent and we met less and less until all contact dried up like a puddle on a sunny day. I think about her now and then and hope her life turned out like she wanted. I noticed in our new class directory that she had a new last name but they never found an address for her.

In the end, I'm glad I went. I think some of us feel that high school was a lot worse than it really was. Just like the fish in the fisherman's story gets bigger with every telling, so do our years in school get magnified by the years. I was glad to reconnect with people, one of whom I felt was always a kindred spirit-of-sorts, an intimacy yet unmatched with my adult friendships. I'm glad Chris was my booty-candy. He talks to people so easily, it's a wonder he wasn't kidnapped as a child. Plus, he KNOWS EVERYONE. He used to hang out with the homecoming king's older sister. It's further proof that I cannot take my husband anywhere without him knowing someone. For instance, I have to tack on an extra thirty minutes when we take him to the grocery store because he'll run into at least three people that he knows/went to school with/ blah blah. I balk, but it's a great ice breaker.

We would've taken more photos, but that meant that I would've actually had to set my drink down. So enjoy looking at me and Shelley (center, just look for the black-and-white Where's Waldo stripes) yapping while the class picture was organized:

You can also clicky here and check out proofs from the photog who snapped shots at the reunion (*UPDATE: enter 26162765 if prompted for a pass). Chris and I make an accosted-looking appearance on the third page, second row. Shelley and I show up at the end of the third row on the fourth page; on the seventh page I'm doing a sassy can-you-tell-I've-had-vodka pose with Chris and the homecoming queen; Shelley and her husband, also-named-Chris, join us and the high school royalty; and Shelley and I are there again on the ninth page. I am fully aware that my hair has a mental problem. I love this about it.

*ADDENDUM: I forgot to say thanks to everyone who commented, e-mailed and otherwise shared their stories/2c. IF ONLY I could ask the internet what I should do for every occasion. Thanks.

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"