Hi, My Name Is

Everyone should go to their high school reunion.

I'm back, and as you can see from my steady typing (or can assume), I'm emotionally stable. It was total sensory overload while I was in this room with 100 of my not-closest friends, but in retrospect, it's a must. Yes, that means you.

The night began great- I went and grabbed drinks with one of my best friends and we caught up and prepared for whatever lay ahead. Mostly this amounted to drilling each other on names and filling one another in on information we already had, so as not to waste Precious Reunion Time.

When we arrived, Ronit saw a guy she'd kept in touch with and gestured to me: "You remember Lilly?". He looked at me with the blankest of all blank faces and stuck his hand out "Hi, I'm Scott". "Um, yeah, I know." I figured it was a sign. I mean, I didn't even get an "Oh, LILLY, I didn't recognize you!" Pride stepped in and it was summarily decided that I wasn't going to go chasing after people who might not have a friggin clue who I was. I would stand my ground with a drink in hand and let myself be approached. This worked well for me. Some people had mental lists of who they wanted to see. I didn't really have that (ok, just a little bit). I just stood and sipped and watched and waited. In retrospect, that behavior alone out of me - lilly g - would be enough to confuse them as to my identity.


While I had expected to spend the time checking out an aged but still hot version of Tony (my high school crush) and catching up with my old best friends, my time was not spent this way. Partly because he didn't show and partly because my time largely devoted to people from earlier in my life -- elementary or junior high. Some of us hadn't spoken for the duration of high school, truth be told, but we'd been in Brownies together or jumped and sang to Cyndi Lauper in a basement regularly and we were thus (apparently) cemented for life.

Reunion Revelation #1: You will spend the time with old old old acquaintances because they're the faces/names that have been beaten into you for years and years. We couldn't forget each other if we WANTED to. One of these people (hi Kathy!) let me know that she had found my blog mentioning her. I really hope her mom never finds out about the Justify My Love video she owned, or we're dead meat ;)

Reunion Revelation #2: Marriage has afflicted nearly everyone. Apparently the side affects are roundness and baldness.

Reunion Revelation #3: You will revert to at least one distinct high school behavior. Some people walked into the room normal and suddenly became loud and obnoxious as they'd been in Geometry or French class. I regret that my reversion was much, much more dire. As I've mentioned, my main high school crush didn't show. But I was busy flirting with another crush/friend who I hadn't seen since we graduated. He is more gorgeous than ever and is making his way as a hotelier in Costa Rica. Did I mention he's more gorgeous than ever? We had flirty banter that went like this:

Kordan Jlow (names have been changed to project the innocent, namely, me): You look good.
Me: YOU look good (smile smile. Slight drooling)
Me: So, is this it? Like 'have a nice life'? Will I ever see you again?
Kordan: I only come to the states a couple times a year.
Me: Do you ever come to San Diego (smile smile, more drooling)?
Kordan: No, but I go to LA.
Me: (dramatic pause) WHY LA?
Kordan: Because I have family there.
Me: So. Ugh. Don't go to LA. Come to San Diego!
Kordan: Come to Costa Rica.

Apparently here, dear readers, I stepped out of my skin and someone with minimal articulateness and ZERO game stepped in. She said:

Me: Nawwwwwwwwwww... if I do, you'll just be WORKING!

Does it get worse? I mean, literally ZERO game. I'd be devastated if it weren't so fucking funny. I have emailed him to say I'd like to keep in touch (trying to do damage control), but I fear I have already made a final imprint as someone extremely socially retarded. But at least he said I looked good ;)

Reunion Revelation #4: You will hug everyone. It's weird, but you will hug the jock you never really ever spoke to. You will hug people you don't like. You will hug people you actually hate. You will hug people whose names you don't recall offhand. You may debate, but 99% of the time you will hug.

Reunion Revelation #5: You will reconnect with at least one person who really means something to you. I think we all go through this - people you lost touch with for no good reason. There aren't bad feelings (although the crowd may be peppered with folks you do have bad feelings about, that's not who we're talking about), just maybe general laziness. I found two of them. Tracy and Nicole. People I had been so so close to and we'd just dropped the ball on staying involved in each other's lives. I went for a hilarious breakfast dining experience with Tracy later in the weekend and Nicole and I watched abnormal amounts of "Breaking Bonaduce" (query as to whether there are 'normal amounts' for that). This time I will not let them go.

Reunion Revelation #6: There is never enough time. I didn't have time to tell Gershman that I haven't forgotten that he's an ass of the highest order and that every time he suffers in life, he should think of me. I didn't have time to really talk to Joey and see how he was doing after all these years. I didn't have time to tell this person or that person how great they looked. Or ask him or her what they were doing with their lives. I have all of two pictures. I guess it's all supposed to tempt you to show up for the 20th? Will we never escape high school?

And, for just a moment, DEEP THOUGHTS:
I left wondering what it all would have been like if we'd all been this nice to each other 10 years ago. But I suppose that's what it's about. Realizing how much you've grown up and smiling and just moving on forward. It's okay to peek over your shoulder, but keep it moving folks.

Walking the Plank

You can run, but you can't hide.

Whassup Highland Park High School Class of 2005 reunion? Yep, for ye who think I look barely old enough to be out of high school, the truth is that I left the land of the HPHS Giants 10 years ago. Yes, I'm that old.

What would a blog be, if not a forum to vent my innermost thoughts, fears and apprehensions about facing people who knew me at my most fluid and confused? Last night I reminisced with a friend that my first official "date" involved a maroon J crew rollneck sweater, jeans, and burgundy army boots. My, how far we've come. Too bad the aformentioned date (Aaron) didn't go to my high school, or he might note my asthetic progress.

In the end, I think reunions are somewhat of the fender-bender that we can't avoid looking at alongside the highway. You don't want to, you know it's wrong, but your curiosity simply will not let you pass with blinders on. It's the definition of a 'see and be seen' event. The folks who aren't going (as a moral choice rather than a logistical one) are probably not happy where they are. They're not ready for this adult Show n Tell session. But I ask you, does it get worse than flannels and pegged jeans and crunchy hair and braces and posters in your locker (I don't care of what) and spending inordinate amounts of time and energy on a French class video? No. So as I see it, I really have nothing to lose.

I set foot on my high school grounds earlier this year when I went as a professional speaker. That was weird, but it definitely helped me ease into the process of responding affirmatively to the reunion evite. An invite that might as well have read "Come. Drink with people who you never would have split a bottle of Zima with in 1993, and sink cocktails until one of you is sober enough to admit a crush... with the other's spouse standing by! Fun for everyone!". Because you know that's what's going to happen.

(Ps- if you guessed that I'd put on hair metal tunes to inspire this entry as I write, you are so right. You are also probably my sister. What's up WARRANT?)

I'm not quite sure why I'm going. I'm definitely not going to show off arm candy (or finger adornments) of any sort. (A few drinks and I might flash a bellyring, though...) Truth is, I'm as single as I was when I sweat through Trigonometry class trying to figure out who I'd con into going to Winter Formal with me. Except the guys I got to go to date parties with me are probably all married now. But I used to wear singleness (singularity? Can we please find a good word for this?) as a scarlet letter. Now it's more of a passing phase. It's a "Yeah, I'm a free "agent" -- ha ha, wink wink.

The nerd in me found an outlet. I got the same law degree 50% of my class probably has, but I found a job I love. I wake up every morning and love where I live. I am way more athletic than I was when the gym teachers of HPHS scared me around the field or whatever. I actually run by choice, and I have a body that need not be hidden under oversized tee shirts. I may not even look much different than I did in high school, but I feel alot better than I did then. And I guess that's part of it, right? Because all these people are going to come back fat and balding and over-made-up, and they're all going to feel better. A lot of people will have traded in better looks for a healthy dose of self confidence. Me, I took care of the Eyebrow Situation. And yes, I'm ready to fly 2000 miles to show that shit off.

I guess I'm going to my reunion because I don't hate myself anymore. Teenagedom has passed. Awkwardness is gone. And I'm looking forward to meeting people through the eyes of the real me. Ok, and I am SO ready to totally judge them through those eyes too.

I wonder what happened to the assholes from my science classes. I wonder what happened to the guy who farted on my head when I was taking books out of my locker. I wonder who has stayed friends; if the friendships that rolled four girls deep (hello Mean Girls) as they strolled the hallways have dissolved. I mean, surely they have, but I wanna SEE!

Ok, before anyone else calls me out on it, there's also a matter of a boy (there is probably more than one, but I've long since shelved my yearbooks, so who knows who will pop up?). I'd be lying if I said (and God knows I don't even try to say) that I'm not curious about him. He's definitely the (gorgeous) face I'll scan for in the crowd. Unfortunately, everyone who has known me since high school will be watching me do that scan, but whatever- you live once.

I have certain associations with people and I can't wait to see where they ended up. Did the ridiculously smart math guy end up at NASA? Probably not. But for the mere price of a $270 flight, I can find out what happened to him. The nosepicker (collected in jars, as I recall) -- is he an ENT now? The pretty pom pon girls; did they stay pretty? Do they still wear nude tights with their sneakers per Pom Pon instruction? So many answers in one small evening. And an open bar. Man, they knew how to lure me.

It's one of those things where I have no idea what I'm looking for, but I'll know when I find it.

At the very least, I'm hoping to get back on the plane to CA with total closure. Closure is selling your house. Closure is going back to Chicago to visit and not stopping through Highland Park. But I want TOTAL closure. 60035 is just a number to me now; a distant memory of a starting point far in the distance. For a night I'm going to hover over that starting line and see what lessons I can glean from the experience. Then I'm going to walk away. For real this time.

And if I end up at Cloverdale Park at 1 a.m. with a six pack of Icehouse, yes, you can say you told me so.