Friday, May 25, 2012

Old Home Week

Last weekend I attended a “high school reunion,” after a fashion. I am from a small town, where the kids from different classes had all grown up together anyway so we weren’t as divided or isolated as the kids here in the city. Most seniors here don’t even KNOW the freshmen or sophomores, whereas at home during the summer we were all just one big bunch of kids playing football in the street, or later hanging out at Sonic or Kicker Palace or Circle K. Small town life is like that.

So this gathering was basically for anyone from Pleasanton or the surrounding cities/communities who graduated in the 1980′s, or even –like me– just partied with the general population at that time. I was homeschooled, but I was present on campus a few times. In particular, I was there for driver’s ed, and I was also often there hanging with my friends during the morning smoke break behind the buildings. That was the smoking area, and we were allowed to smoke. THOSE were the days.
So I went. And although I expected the place to be crawling with guys I used to date, or worse, be married to, there was only 1. And here’s the deal. I didn’t have a major relationship with him, I had a major CRUSH on him and I made a complete ass out of myself trying to be cool enough for him to like me. I think he saw that there was a different me underneath all that and tried to get to know her, but there was just too much… drunken idiot in the way, so he gave up. Years later we went out on one real date, and I made just as much an ass out of myself as I had when I was a teenager. So when I ran into him at the reunion I was just dumbstruck. Which I suppose is better than stupidity falling out of my mouth, but I was suddenly overwhelmed by the opinion he must have of me, and then a wave of embarrassment crashed over me, drenching me in the vivid recollection of every dumbass thing I’ve done since I was about 15.

Oh, how I’d I wanted to be all relaxed and normal. But instead I was all clammed up and weird. I could not think of a single normal thing to say, so I just sat there and looked…what? Uncomfortable? Weird? Yeah. So what’s the big deal? I’ll tell you what the big deal is. I’ve realized that I want to belong back in Pleasanton again, and I don’t know how to make that happen. Or if perhaps, if I just keep attending reunions it will just happen on its own.

In San Antonio, I created a new life, and without all that shame in my face every day, I became the me I REALLY AM inside, but I am still ashamed of every drunken, loudmouth moment, and folks that’s a LOT of moments. And I don’t know how to quit feeling it, the vivid shame. It’s as much hiding the real me as the mask I used to wear made out of beer and bravado.

In any case, here are a couple of pictures snapped of me during that reunion. I think they actually look like the real me. This is my friend Dawn. You can see the outline of Michael Jess's head behind me.

Lordy, is this one good-looking fireman or what?

I took my camera, but I didn’t take ANY pictures while I was at the reunion. I told you, I was weirded out! But on the way out of town, we stopped off at the DQ for some ice cream (the grown up, family version of “one for the road,” I guess) and I did manage to take this little gem. Check out the last item being advertised…sounds yummy doesn’t it?

Peace, people!

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