Sunday, August 28, 2005

High school foolishness, bowling, bugs

So, that Hurricane Katrina. That sure looks like it’s going to suck a whole lot for a whole lot of people.

Okay. The reunion.

The reunion was fun. For the first two or so hours of it, it was terribly awkward. I was there with my friend K, who was socializing with a whole bunch of people I didn’t really know that well. The constantly recurring question was, as I expected, “So, what do you do now?” closely followed by, “Do you still talk to so-and-so?” Uh, I’m a proofreader geek, and I haven’t talked to anyone from our class except K, dudes. I felt like the smile I glued onto my face to handle the evening was going to be stuck there forever; my cheeks were turning into plastic.

I resisted drinking, because I thought for $45 a head there would be an open bar, but it was a cash bar and they were charging outrageous amounts for shitty beer. Eventually, however, it became too awkward and weird and I felt like my eyes were going to bounce out of my skull and I just had to have something to drink. So I did. Then I loosened up and things were fun. We wound up sitting at a table with a bunch of people I knew, kids from the theatre crowd in high school, big geeks like me who only fit in theatre, nowhere else really. The girl sitting next to me felt pretty out of place too, so we commiserated in a superficial way. There was some dinner that wasn’t too bad, and then there was a slide show of the major events of the past ten years, and then there was some dancing. I drank, and then I danced, and that’s when the party started. These girls I wound up dancing with were all, Oh. My. God. Where did you learn to dance like that.

I guess I was a little more restrained in high school. Plus I didn’t drink at school functions in high school. Plus I hadn’t yet learned to shake my booty gay-club style.

I probably looked like an idiot, looking back on it, but it was fun. There was this one girl there who was quiet in high school, I hardly remember anything about her even though we went to elementary school together and she lived less than a block away from me, but she turned gorgeous. I kept looking at her. She exuded this irresistible-to-me confidence, this calmness. Some guy I don’t remember at all asked me if I was gay. I gave out my email address to a lot of people. We’ll see if anyone writes. There was a lot of stupid reminiscing—about that foreign exchange student from Russia, about the guy who was voted “most talkative,” about the time I got knocked out at a school dance, about theatre, about bad classes and people who weren’t there and former teachers.

After all that started to wind down, K and some other kids and I went bowling. It seemed like the thing to do, I don’t know. That was better than the reunion. The bowling alley is one of those ones they’ve tried to sex up by adding dance-floor lights and techno dance music on Friday and Saturday nights, which renders bowling all but impossible. I bowled something like…I don’t know, a 72 or something. But I was a little drunk, so I’m sure that wasn’t helping matters any. It’s hard to roll a fourteen-pound ball down an alley at a bunch of pins when there are strobe lights and disco ball reflections all over the joint. We closed the place down at one a.m. and all headed our separate ways to fall into drunken slumber.

All in all, what can I say about it. People looked better than I thought they would. The most common excuse it seems people gave for not coming was that they weren’t happy with where they were in life, were dissatisfied with their lack-of-job or their transientness or their weight. I thought there would be more people there; from our class of 500-ish, there were maybe…forty-five or so. I think I knew about ten of them. I did meet new people, as I’d hoped to, but I didn’t really connect with anyone. However, I do hope the small group I went bowling with can get together again; they were the people with whom I felt most comfortable. I could joke with them and it was okay when I bowled a gutterball and tripped on my shoelace and made a spectacle of myself trying to find an eight-pound pink bowling ball while drunk, which was about a disorganized-enough operation to bring down entire civilizations. I could see hanging out with them some more. But half of them live…in Virginia or someplace, I don’t know.I’m kind of sore today, in weird places. It’s been a while since I got my booty-shake on. Lame. I played it pretty low-key today, recovering. It seemed a lot to cram into my brain, last night. This is the uber-light take on it; my mind is still turning over small nuances of conversation, things I half-heard, things I don’t remember clearly. Trying to put the pieces of people I saw last night together with the pieces of them in my memory. I’m glad I went. I’m also glad this sort of thing only rolls around once a decade or so.

I took some pictures of bugs today. They’re up on Flickr with some other bug pics I’ve taken recently. Go check ‘em out. Taking pictures of bugs today felt right. You go to your class reunion, and then you take pictures of bugs. Yeah. That’s what you do.


At August 28, 2005 6:51 PM, Blogger The Great Saphenous said...

Yeah, you know those named storms, always breakin' shit.

High school reunions, inebriation, bowling...all good things.

I think people have a tendency to forget that there are billions of tiny little creatures flying/crawling/jumping around everywhere that are just as dynamic as we humans. Maybe that's why people get so freaked out whenever they see one.

At August 28, 2005 8:35 PM, Anonymous E said...

I like the bug pics...the first reunion paragraph...that is the reason I've skipped all of my reunions. I hate that shit. Not my idea of fun, but I'm glad you had a good time!

At August 28, 2005 8:43 PM, Anonymous atpanda said...

Oh man. I've got a reunion next year and I'm really anti. I didn't ever even like those people. I was one of those people on the total outside of everything so I'm sure I'd show up and no one would have a clue who I was. But on the other hand, I could show up looking hot and people would say, "Who is THAT girl... *drool*" Ah yes, to dream.

At August 28, 2005 8:55 PM, Anonymous Suley said...

Funky as you wanna be, J.

So you got knocked out at a school dance? Do tell. I never went to school dances. I was at home reciting lines from Monty Python.

Nice bug photos, regular National Geographic material.


At August 28, 2005 11:29 PM, Anonymous Allan said...

Reading your earlier post about the upcoming reunion inspired me to sign up at

It turns out that out of 475 students in my graduating class, only about 20 have signed up there. And I only know about 3 of them.

But thanks for sharing your experience at your reunion.

Maybe I will attend one some day.

At August 29, 2005 1:56 AM, Blogger Raehan said...

Amazing bug photos and very entertaining reunion post. I'm glad you had a good time in the end. I have never been motivated to go to mine. My 20th reunion was this year.

At August 29, 2005 2:28 AM, Blogger Sangroncito said...

Just wait...a lot more people will show up at the 20th and 30th year reunions. You're still at an age when people aren't nostalgic yet and are still forming their lives. Later on the reminiscing really begins and people want to reconnect.

At August 29, 2005 4:58 AM, Blogger Sorted Lives said...

Great photos!! I felt the exact same way at my 10-year. 20, by far, was much better. You will see a HUGH change, trust me...

At August 29, 2005 1:06 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

The bowling trip sounds like fun; at least the whole evening wasn't an awkward bust. Actually, as reunion stories I've heard go, yours sounds fairly harmless. I doubt I'll ever go to any reunions. I switched high schools my senior year, and had one class at the school I went to so I never knew anybody I graduated with. I don't feel like I'm missing out on that much. :)

Great bugs! Aside from the fact that I don't like to get any closer to them than in pictures... they're fascinating little creatures. You got some amazing pictures!

At August 29, 2005 2:50 PM, Anonymous M said...

I skipped my five year reunion last year because I was doing a 12-hour endurance mountain bike race. That was a satisfying tidbit to send back with the friends who went... as I used to be a pushing-200 theatre geek, it made me feel good that that was where I was at. So, I doubt anyone asked after me, but I don't care.
Kudos on the humping grasshoppers!

At August 29, 2005 4:31 PM, Blogger Mr. H.K. said...

Sounds like you're glad you went...

Great bugs!

Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's

And I Quote Blog

At August 29, 2005 11:30 PM, Blogger deputyswife said...

Oh, I wish I had alcohol at my 15 year reunion. I was knocked up (again) and couldn't drink. So I got stuck with clean up and driving people home. My 20 year I am gonna git shit faced.


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