Live! From New York!
Weekend Report: I Got Drunk & Fell Down a Hill

I have no need for anger with intimate strangers

I really can't write the entry y'all want me to write about the reunion.

There are a million reasons: I have no anonymity among my classmates. My email address is listed in the alumni directory. I have to assume everything I write will get back to pretty much everybody.

But more than any of that, who the fuck do I think I am to judge anybody there?

That's not to say that I didn't judge the hell out of everybody. I glanced through the directory and snickered at how so few of us ventured beyond the Bucks County cornfields. I was shocked at how many babies people have, and at how very close together they've been having those babies. I was taken aback at how many pastor's wives and how few career women my class produced. I was furious when people wouldn't let me finish my sentence about quitting my job to pursue a writing career before jumping in to tell me how wonderful staying home is.

Ugh. It's a wonder anybody spoke to me at all.

As I was getting dressed, about 30 minutes before we needed to leave for the reunion, I realized I'd left all the underwear and jewelry for the trip at home, in a different suitcase. I borrowed a necklace from my mom because I realized the one I was wearing (an heirloom chain from my grandmother) was the very same one I wore every single day in high school.

(As for the underwear situation, I went commando. Top and bottom. Yes.)

The area around my school (about 25 miles away from where my parents live, 45 minutes straight on into bumblefuck) hasn't changed. At all. The farms and tiny houses are completely untouched by sprawl and new townhomes and Super Targets. It's like time has stood still.

While negotiating the directions to the reunion with Jason, I suddenly remembered a left turn we were supposed to make because it's where my friend's mom ran over a chicken one time.

I had a mini-anxiety attack as we passed the driveway where I crashed my car and started hyperventilating as we passed my school.  We sat in the parking lot of the restaurant for a few minutes while I tried to chill the fuck out. Jason offered to drive me home but I said no.

A couple people didn't speak to me. A couple others said gracious hellos and introductions but then seemed to actively ignore me all night. After I left I realized there were a few people that I'd made absolutely no effort to talk to.

I loaded a plate up with food and could barely eat a single bite. I ended up at a table with a bunch of people I'd never really been friends with.

I made a joke to a girl (someone I'd had a rocky on-again-off-again friendship with) about being drunk, and she laughed dismissively and remined me that I was the girl who gave her a hard time about watching Dirty Dancing at a sleepover.

There was something about her delivery -- or maybe something about the fact that it was HER -- that threw me back 10 years, when I was the girl who JUST WANTED THESE PEOPLE TO LIKE ME, and instead of telling her to fuck off, people GROW UP SOMETIMES, IMAGINE THAT, I just smiled and laughed and although she'd clearly turned her back on our conversation, I kept following her around.

Once again, I was just a pathetic baby chick flapping its wings, chirping "LIKE ME! LIKE ME!"

I drank too much. I swore a lot. I went into the bathroom and yelled FUUUUCK at no one in particular. I huddled in corners with a few friends as we cast nasty, bitter eyes across the room at who had gained weight, who was still a bitch, who was lecturing people about smoking cigarettes at the bar.

I didn't especially like myself by the end of the night.

When someone asked how long Jason and I have been together, I realized I'd completely forgotten that I got married when I was only 20 years old.

The only teacher who attended was our old chemistry teacher, Mr. Bauer. I thanked him for being the only teacher to realize that I had a learning disorder. I struggled with math and science my entire life, but it was okay because I was good at English and math was hard and I was a girl. Mr. Bauer figured out that  I wrote numbers backwards and upside-down. He had me take my chemistry tests using graph paper, writing each number in its own box. I took this habit with me to college, where I got straight As in my Algebra classes. I told him I'd even been a financial editor, and that now I was a writer. He hugged me and told me how happy that made him. All night it seemed like everybody was swapping stories about how Mr. Bauer changed their lives.

He was fired the year we graduated, incidentally. They said his teaching style was too "unstructured" for our school's rigorous educational criteria.

A bunch of us bonded over just how fucked up our high school really was. We joked about taking four years of Spanish instruction only to get placed in Spanish I in college. I admitted to changing my degree to a Bachelor of Science just to get out of dealing with the foreign language requirement. I made a joke about not knowing anything about evolution either, but that didn't really go over quite so well.

When I told someone else that I'm a writer now, they responded, "Of COURSE you are!"

My classmates look great. Some look better than ever. Most of them seem very happy.


I don't belong there anymore, and that makes me happy.


Teacher Lady

I'm reminded of that dopey saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." And in this case, it's true. That picture of you makes my heart hurt. You do look SO sad. I will learn from your experience and NOT go to my reunion (my 20th. Oy.) And I think the post was fine - it was very real.


I just went to my 10 year last weekend also. In high school, my hair was long and brown, now it's short and blonde. Can you believe the ONLY thing people said to me at my renunion was "Oh my God! Your hair is blonde!"

By the end of the night, I was ready to scream, "I've done more than color my hair in the past ten years!"

Needless to say, I left my reunion so glad to be out of that town and so thankful for where I am now!! And I feel no need to go through that torture again in 10 more years!

Thanks for your openness!!


Talk about a picture painting a thousand words! Don't know how you made it the whole night! I hope you told them you invented the post-it note. Wait -- never mind. I don't think they would have gotten the joke.

One of the Amy's

I did the 10 yr reunion thing while VERY pregnant with my (now 4 yr old) daughter. It wasn't horrible, but wasn't great, either. At least I had an excuse for the extra weight! How is it that you do, indeed, find yourself pining to once again have the cool girl find you funny, or want to sit at "that" table, or do you think he thinks I'm cute? God, what happens to us that we slip back into the sea of self doubt?! Anyway, you should be glad you went, if for no other reason than to say you went commando!!!


Ugh - these take-stock moments can really knock a person down. But I think you are impressive because 1. you are a very strong and funny writer 2. you hang with Andrew Shue and 3. you can go braless despite having had a baby. I don't even like to shower braless these days.


Noah looks just like you. JUST LIKE YOU.


This is why I don't want to go to my reunion. Except I'm one of the people who doesn't have a career, is overweight, and I kind of wish I still lived in my hometown. I love it there. I would just spend the whole miserable night thinking that the people like you were judging me. Just know that everyone has their hangups and insecurities. I applaud that you even went, and I liked this post.


BAH! I told you to dress up. Going commando is not nearly as fun in jeans and a sweatshirt.

My continued pleas for a shoe description or photo fall on deaf ears. Did you wear Payless? That would explain your silence.


Cheers to graduating. Some people never do.


Desiree - Almost. I wore black strappy wedges from Banana Republic. Nothing awesome, but the shoes were the only ones high enough to mean I didn't need to get my white linen pants hemmed, hence the Prada sandals stayed at home. I HATE GETTING THINGS HEMMED.

I did paint my toenails hot pink, so that was kind of fun and wild. For me. Also, if going commando in white linen isn't a walk on the wild side, I need to get out more.


You're so brave! I was the biggest dork in high school, so I always imagined at my reunion I would be super-hip and everyone would love me. Since high school I've run into a few people, and they're always pretty amazed at the change in me, but then I realise they're still snobs and I still don't like them and no one really gives a damn about the other one. I can't wait for the reunion *sigh* but I know I'll go, just because I'll be curious about everyone.


Holy Hot whores on a platter! You left the little "white linen pants" thing out of the commando scene. You win an award for bravery.

I also abhor having pants hemmed. I am very short and very curvy so finding pants that fit the booty means finding pants that are 6 (6!) or more inches too long. I just took 9 freaking inches off of a pair of work pants to wear with 4 inch heels.

I may be a munchkin. I must go check on that.


"That which does not kill us, makes us a better blog entry."--Says me.
I didn't go to a christian school, but you pretty much just wrote my 10 year reunion story for me, so next year, I'll just refer everyone over here and have them substitute yelling "fuck" really loud in the bathroom to "so, I totally just realized that dirty martinis are really a truth serum for the ages. hee."
I lurve you lots.


...and I've got nothing to hide! (LOVE the reference in the title)
Reunions - I just went to my 10 year reunion last summer and I'm still not sure why. I didn't really have friends in high school, and definitely changed a LOT in college. But I suppose I still went out of some kind of morbid curiosity - and a secret desire to see that I have become much more successful than most of the people from my po-dunk hometown...


Your pic is beautiful! I bet they were all jealous :P

Well at least you are invited to your reunion! At the hic high school in *cough* Hilo '82 Vikings thats how small 'the committee' must think. Not all of the ppl are bad though, there are few gems.


I am sure that YOU were the MOST SUCCESSFUL person in the whole restaurant!! And Jason too!

I went to my 10th only to confirm that all the snotty mean girls turned into petty fake women. I skipped the 20th...just couldn't face all those haters. Seen the movie Mean Girls?


I wouldn't attend a high school reunion for all the tea in China (although a)I have no idea how much tea, in fact, there IS in China... but I'm sure it's a lot, and b)someone who commented before me probably already said the same thing, loathing of all things high school being fairly prevalent. Hell on earth, people... HELL. ON. EARTH.), so kudos to you for giving it the old college try. Then again, if I were as successful as you (and the proud owner of one of the world's cutest babies), I might change my position. Just for the implied 'fuck you' factor...

Yeah, I'm petty.

And Amy? The 'like me! like me!' thing? Consider me your emotional twin. It's TOTALLY not just you. It's like a disease or something. They should have telethons. Fundraisers.



Going home, it's never the same. I think we live in the "woulda, coulda, shoulda's" instead of what actually was.

I'm glad you went so you could get that closure you needed. Next time, hook up with friends at your house or theirs, wearing shorts, tank baring bottles of vodka and a smile-it will be so much better than what you experienced.


I was just wondering what else you've done to help you get over the maths-dyslexia-thing... I have the same sort of thing, where I can't read numbers properly, and I get them jumbled, and all sorts of general maths-related pains.

It sucks. I might try the numbers-in-a-box thing, because most of my errors in exams come from muddling my numbers.



I am a school teacher. I am so impressed with your Mr. Bauer that I sent along the graph paper idea to my friends that are teaching summer school. Also, I will pass along this technique to my chemistry/physics teacher husband. The dyslexic children thank you and Mr. Bauer.

Amy in the Twin Cities

"I don't belong there anymore, and that makes me happy."

That is exactly what I felt after attending my ten year reunion in 1986. I will not be attending this year's 20th. I've lived at least 750 miles away from my home state for the last 16 years and each time I return I realize how out of place I feel. Brilliant post, Amy.


Ack. Despite it all, are you glad you went?

I have to say that I'm the exception here. I went to my five-year and ten-year high school reunions, as well as assorted college reunions--with my 15th just having happened. Next year is the 20th for high school, and I am really looking forward to it.

But, you know, it's all in the people, and it's all in how you felt about high school. There were a fair share of assholes in my high school, but I loved that place. (And no, I wasn't a particularly popular kid.) At my tenth, everyone remarkably seemed grown-up. I'm pretty much looking forward to stories of divorces next year. (Says she who is single!)

Anyway, I'm glad you went, not that that matters. I think there's something worthwhile in assessing how far you've come and how glad you are you didn't make certain choices. I know I've always felt that way after reunions.

And I always drink too much at them, too.


Well, you look gorgeous.

And all in all, it sounds like a perfect reunion experience, lol.

Well, a lot like most of mine, anyway.

Stephanie A.

I love this post.


I love that your title is from an Indigo Girls song because they are my FAVORITE!

Also, is that Bucks County, PA? I live in Northamptom County...not too far away!

And that's about all I have to say...


Our class recently had their 15th year reunion. Or I should say, part of our class. In our graduating class we had what was called the "6-pack," 6 pretty, big haired girls who sat at the top of the social food chain.

Recently a dear friend of mine (who I still speak to almost daily) ran into one of them and they remarked how great our reunion was.

My friend replied in surprise because she (nor I, nor most of the people we know) received word of the reunion. The girl (woman) told her that "they contacted everyone they could still find."

My friend's parents live in the same house they did when she went to high school ON THE SAME BLOCK as this girl's parents.

Some people graduate from high school, but never really leave. I'm glad you survived your reunion.


Sounds like you and I would have gotten along famously in high school. Except I couldn't help you with the "baby chick" syndrome as I was pretty much the same way. My 20th has come and gone; the only people who mattered to me in high school are still in my life.


There was the odd occasion where the conversation was effortless. The rule, generally, was a conversation that ended after the rote "What have you been up to?" had been sufficiently answered. These were people we used to spend our lives with - this overwhelming feeling of "Hey, I KNOW you... we used to be able to have a legitimate conversation...", coupled with the thought that we no longer have anything in common pervaded the entire evening.

But rum, coke and I have been known to spend a little time together. And they were there. And now I know what a vodka tonic tastes like (NOT what I ordered. Jeez.).

Anyway, of COURSE you are.



Funny that I immediately recognized your subject line as an Indigo Girls lyric - but it wasn't until the song came up on my iPod this morning that I realized the song is called "Reunion". That's awesome.

And, I'm still glad that I skipped my 10-year reunion.


Hey guys - that's not Indigo Girls! That's Dalbello's "Talk To Me"! (Oh I am dating myself, I know.)


Oops. No it's not. I'm not dating myself, I'm revealing my dwindling lyrics IQ... *sigh*

The comments to this entry are closed.