well I would write 500 entries, and I would write 500 more
Here's the problem with writing a 1000th diary entry: IT IS WAY TOO MUCH FREAKING PRESSURE. And babies, I'm tired! Between Friday morning and Monday night, I slept 12 hours. Twelve hours in three days is far, FAR less sleep than I'm used to, but when I tell you the reunion was absolutely, 100% worth being exhausted, flying about 13 hours round trip, and spending all that money on the plane ticket, car rental, and beer, you will know I mean it. I'm giving up on the idea of making my 1000th entry into some big star-spangled hootenanny, because I don't have the strength for that right now and I want to tell you guys about the reunion: It was really, Really great--better than I could have imagined. Here is the rundown of reunion events [many of you will want to skim this entry--I'm giving you fair warning]:
Friday night, 7:00 pm: Met up with some former classmates at the Round Up Tavern [which had, disappointingly, been renovated so it wasn't a dump]. I arrived at the same time as Mitch (I'll be using real names but leaving off last names, btw--not that anyone cares), and we were the first. Mitch is a great guy--very fun and very easy to be around--so I was relieved to see him. We got beers and shot the shit for about ten minutes until some other people came in. I had thought only the reunion planners were meeting that night, but some other people showed up too, and that was great because they were people I liked a lot. One of them, Mike, is someone I hardly knew before the reunion, because in HS he'd hung out with a couple of guys who delighted in tormenting me, so I'd stayed clear of all 3 of them. Turns out he's fantastic and one of the funniest people ever--who knew? Everyone but me, that's who, but better late than never, right? We got a table and talked talked talked (drank drank drank) and then another guy showed up--someone I was surprised to see because I thought he hated us. I found out later he Did hate at least some of us (not sure if I was included) and that he'd showed up to the reunion in an attempt to rid himself of some of his bitterness about the past. He succeeded, I guess---he said coming to the reunion was the best thing he'd ever done. Anyway, so with him there were 7 of us, and at some point Brenda was hungry and wanted to go to another bar because it had a restaurant, so we went. Talk talk talk, drink drink drink--you know the drill--but unfortunately for Brenda, the restaurant was closed, so she had to make do with chips, peanuts, and maraschino cherries. She coped. At about 12:30 our class president, Greg, showed up and I think at that point it became an official Free For All, complete with rowdy 80s music from the jukebox, the rapid ingestion of peanuts, and the asking and answering of Very Personal Questions. It was Awesome. All too soon the last call came and went, and all too soon after that we were asked to leave because it was 2:45 and the bar lady wanted to go HOME already. I will state for the record that this was the first time in my life I ever helped close down a bar--mores the pity. I was fine to drive (I'd only had 4 beers during all those bar hours) so I drove back to my parents' house, let myself in with the key they'd given me, and went to bed. I had trouble falling asleep and didn't manage it until after 4:00--woke up promptly at 7:00 and couldn't go back to sleep [damn you, internal clock!! *shakes fist*].
Saturday, Noon: I showed up at the town park with the plates and napkins my mother had insisted on buying for me while I gimped around the house that morning (I was going to go myself but she is forceful) and helped Greg set up chairs and stuff. People started showing up and I won't attempt to chronicle the happenings and conversations, because they are numerous and not very interesting to others, but I will just say I enjoyed seeing people, and there were a couplethree guys I could not recognize at All until someone told me who they were. Also, there were a number of children there and watching them interact and play was funny. My former next-door neighbor classmate has 7 kids, and the second youngest is so cute--at one point I was walking past and he wanted to feed me a chip, so I let him [consciously refusing to speculate on where that chip had been] and he smiled angelically. I thought about making an offer on that child, (because hello, do they really Need 7? selfish....) but I didn't. Around 4:30 most people had left and we'd cleaned everything up, and the remaining few of us decided to go look at our old school. It's so much nicer than it was when we were there, but then again the population of the town has roughly doubled, so I guess they have more tax money with which to fix stuff up. The town's looking pretty good, actually, except for the huge, new housing developments that have been added. I HATE those huge new houses. After we saw the high school, I took Mitch to his parents' (he was carless) and went home to get ready for the night event.
Saturday, 6:10: Picked Mitch up from his parents' ["Can Mitch come out and play?"] and drove to the Round Up--we couldn't get enough of the place. Met up with Scott (our class's best redneck), Mike, Zena, and Tim--they ordered drinks but I ordered water so I could wash my antibiotic down with it. We stayed there way too long because one of our former classmate's dads was there and wanted to talk to us and buy us a round. We then tried to find and say hello to someone who used to work at the school and who was rumored to be working at a fireworks stand in town but wasn't, and then we had to fetch Brenda, who we love but who could not be on time if there was a gun to her head--blah blah blah, the upshot is, we were 45 minutes late to the 7:00 thing. We had not missed much--the evening thing was pretty fun but never quite hit its stride. Some people did karaoke, but I didn't because I was consciously going easy on the alcohol that night, since I had committed to be the designated driver for Zena and Mitch. I think you'll agree with me that most people can only be Either a designated driver Or do karaoke--not both. Before the karaoke there was a slideshow of pictures of us from high school, and after the karaoke came the trivia questions and incomprehensible recounting of various football games [most people weren't striving to be designated drivers]. Once that was done, only Then did the drunk dancing start, but by then we'd lost steam so it was only sort of fun. I think it was about 1:30 when we all left, and I ended up only being Zena's driver, because Mitch and some others went to bar #2 from Friday night to continue festivities. Got back to my parents' and into bed around 2:30--woke up at 7:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. [*both fists shaking*] I am not proud to report I was tired enough at that point to have a small, self-pity induced meltdown, which consisted of a good bit of silent weeping and some plaintive, "I'm so tired!"s. Fortunately, after I had a little coffee and breakfast, my dad got worked up over events in Iraq and we had a tiny, but bracing, argument. It was exactly what I needed, and I am not even kidding. It was a case of him making a statement I was so viscerally opposed to that it immediately made me remember who I am, and that I am strong enough to overcome a spot of sleep-deprivation. I showered joyfully.
Sunday, 1:15: Arrived at Greg's parents' house with a 12 pack of beer I'd stopped to get (no one drank any, and I wonder if it was a faux pas to show up with it, but whatever) and I was one of the first to arrive. Greg's wife was happy to see me because a very socially awkward guy from our class was so far the only one there and she wanted someone else to talk to him. That went about as well as you'd expect, but fortunately some other people showed up soon and the situation was out of my hands. I want to say a few words about Greg's wife, because I really like her and I liked her at the ten year reunion too, except she hated me then. It was because she'd overheard me and my best friend from school talking and saying, basically, that we were scared to see everyone, except since she didn't know us what she thought we were saying was, "this reunion sucks". I don't blame her for hating me last time, but I'm Extremely glad I was wiped from her memory banks; I got a second chance and made a much better impression. Some people in our class don't appreciate her boisterous personality the way I do, but I think those people tend to lack imagination. I think mainly they're surprised Greg would marry someone so different from himself, but it just makes me like him all the more. Anyway, the backyard hangout was a lot of fun. I was sort of trailing Mike around, trying to be subtle about it, because he (as I mentioned) is one of the funniest people in the world and I (as you know) love to laugh. The most fun thing from that day was listening to Mike and some other guys (who were all friends since kindergarten) talk about the stupid things they did as kids. They really got into the reminiscing--acting out various stunts and etc--and at one point the whole group of people standing there was bent over double, gasping and in pain from the laughing. It was beautiful. The backyard thing started to wind down and I said goodbye to everyone (unwillingly--I was tired and wanted to leave, but I also wanted everyone to come with me) and went back to my parents where I attempted to nap but couldn't sleep. I lied and told my mom I'd slept because she and my dad were worried about me having to drive up to Portland when I was so tired and were threatening to follow me in their car. My mom made me dinner (she's so good to me) and I ate it and packed my stuff and got ready to leave.
I left around 8:40, got gas, and then I was on my way north. I had a hell of a lot of trouble finding a gas station near the airport but I persisted because I wasn't going to let the car rental place charge me $4.50/gallon. I also had to pee very badly because I'd drank some coffee on the drive up, but I did not pee my pants, so getting myself back to the airport was an unmitigated success. I had to wait about half an hour before my plane started boarding, and during that time I had the pleasure of observing Mexicana Airlines boarding a flight to Guadalajara. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary until the end when they called for the unaccompanied minors to come forward--there was a great surge of people, which took me by surprise. I think there were about a dozen kids, but each kid had at least one adult putting them on the plane, so it was kind of a lot of people. My flight took off at 1:00 and I managed to sleep a couple of hours, cumulatively, and then I got on another flight (in Minneapolis) and slept a couple of hours on that one too, except on that one I kept waking myself up because I would become aware that my mouth was hanging open. Not attractive. Oh, but something I thought of, as I was schlepping across the entire freaking Minneapolis airport to get to my next gate, is that when you take a redeye flight, you get all grungy and walking around the airport is almost like The Walk of Shame. I was passing all these perfectly groomed women, and there I was in my rumpled clothing, plane hair, and glasses. Pretty. My plane landed in Raleigh right on time (10:30-ish) and Prof and Sharky were waiting for me. I was So Glad to see them. They took me home where I ate, showered, unpacked, read, and tried to stay awake. I managed, with a herculean effort, to stay up until 6:30 and then I passed out. Fireworks woke me up around 9:30, so I got up and had some water, but then it was right back to bed until 7:00 yesterday. I could have slept for hours longer.
Last week, before the reunion, I had a good time with my parents and I saw my brother a couple of times. He and I even made a little trip to the cemetery in our old town; he'd never been there before and it's one of my favorite places anywhere. It's up on a hill out of town and is very quiet, plus many of the graves are old and interesting. I want to be cremated, but if I was going to be buried, that cemetery is where I'd want to be. Also, I was really struck by how beautiful that part of Oregon is--when I was growing up I took it completely for granted, but oh my mom, it's Amazing. I sort of want to go live there again. On Friday afternoon before the reunion, I thought it would be fun to buy everyone I'd see that night a Homie, but the only Latino market in Eugene didn't have them. When I was leaving the market though, I was vigorously hit on by a guy on a bike who told me I should be a model. I was thinking, plus-sized model? And also thinking that it's nice some men appreciate a big ass. He was trying to get me to go to the Saturday Market the next day, because he'd be working there, but I told him I couldn't and maybe some other time. Let me tell you, it's been awhile since anyone hit on me, and I LOVED it.
I'm going to wrap this up now even though I'm sure I could think of a couple more things to say. Whoever made it this far is a true friend, and I thank you. This, Interweb, is my 1000th entry, and though it is not everything I had envisioned it would be, last week when I was better rested, it is true and, more importantly, it's the best I can do right now. I will make the 2000th entry much better--you'll see. The End.
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