You Again


Ah, summer.  I have to say that mine has been pretty good so far, mostly because I’m still coming down off the high of being in Missoula for two weeks.  I went back for my high school reunion.  Don’t roll your eyes.  High school reunions rock.  Mine do anyway.

I graduated from Sentinel High School and, as I was able to scientifically prove in a previous blog, it was the high school of awesomeness.  My classmates clearly agree with me because we had an amazing turnout – so many people that, in two whole nights, I still didn’t have a chance to chat up everyone.  And some of the people I did talk to were kids I never spoke a single word to in school.  Back then they were just too cool for me.  Too popular.  Too intimidating.  Some of that awe still remains to this day.  Case in point…

Friday night I’m standing there looking into the eyes of the person who I still believe is the cutest boy in the world and I’m thinking, “Son of a bitch, I have food in my teeth, don’t I?  I shouldn’t have eaten that broccoli.  No, he’s staring at my double chin.  Oh god, I’m so mortified.  What am I doing here and why have I stopped breathing?”

At some point I realize that my inner conversation is way louder than the actual conversation I’m having with him and that I’ve probably mumbled incoherently throughout all three minutes of it.  I had to flee to the bathroom when it was over to inspect the damage.  No broccoli in the teeth, but I did discover the department store sticker still clinging to the shirt I bought a few days ago.  So now he knows I’m socially inept and a size medium … which, you know, might come in handy someday, if he ever wants to buy me clothes.

Other people weren’t quite so intimidating though.  Luckily, the playing field seems to have leveled out over the years.  Reality is a great equalizer.  That’s not a famous quote.  I just made that up right now, and it’s true.  The girl who was going to own the world is now working in a cubicle somewhere and living in a cheap apartment with her two kids.  And even the guy who did accomplish what he set out to do has a divorce under his belt – or two – and he’s on anti-depressants and so on, and so on.

Here’s the thing though, we’re willing to share that with others now.  It’s like old soldiers sitting around telling war stories.  You all went through it, different battlefields, but the same war.  You’re more likely to be met with an empathetic nod than judgment.  And even if you are showing some of the physical battle scars, we’re not going to say anything, because we’re all grown up now and we know it’s not nice to talk about people behind their backs.  That’s what your gay friends are for.

Gay dudes still get to be catty and wickedly sarcastic, it’s their birthright.  Once same sex marriage becomes legal in all 50 states, then they’re going to have to be politically correct like the rest of us, but until then, please continue to seat me at the gay table.

Why do we have high school reunions anyway?  Why is it, 20, 40, 60 years later we still want to reconnect with a bunch of kids we only knew for four years?  You know what I think it is?  Hormones.  When we were teenagers, hormones made us crazy and dramatic and delusional.  They put us in denial about what huge nerds we were.  “I wasn’t a nerd.  I was cool.  Why, I remember this one time at band camp…”

Those years are so powerful because back then we were beings of pure potential, full of fire.  We could dream as big as we wanted and the real world couldn’t touch us. In a way, even at our worst, we really were at our best.  Coming together again reignites that spark, even if it’s only for two nights.  Then you gotta go home and mow the lawn.

I was on facebook the other day and read a comment from some girl who wasn’t planning to go to her 10 year reunion.  “Social media has made them unnecessary,” she wrote.  I just want to say to that girl — honey, you can’t hug anyone over Twitter.  You can’t sit down and look them in the eye and say, “I’m sorry for what I did to you 30 years ago, and I hope you’ll forgive me and be my friend again because you have no idea how much I’ve missed you.”

Also, there is food and a limited number of free drinks.  If you pass that up, you’re just stupid.

I want to give a special shout out to Michelle Kinzle Martin and Laurie Mullen Crouser (photo right) who came up to me on Saturday and said, “Someone asked us who we were the most excited to see at this reunion and we both said Carol Chrest.”

“Really?” I sighed, “You really said that?”

They go, “No, not really.  We’re just trying to find a way to get you to put our names in your blog.”

I’m cool with that.

Thanks Missoula for a great vacation!  Still missing you.

CC the Trained Monkey

Photos:  Top, Sentinel Class of 1981, Top Left:  Carol Chrest and Paul Schiedermeyer, Bottom Right:  Lauri Mullen-Crouser and Michelle Kinzle-Martin


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BIO:  Carol Chrest is a bitter old spinster living in Los Angeles. When she’s not working ridiculous hours at her cruddy day job, she writes screenplays.  She drinks.