Skylar had his 10-year high school reunion last night so we spent the evening with people who have no memory of the original Jurassic Park movie being in theaters.
I was mostly excited to go because of the Facebook drama that preceded the event. Skylar kept me updated for the three months that it all lasted. I'm probably not allowed to talk about it here but Skylar only spot checks this site so there's at least a 40% chance he won't see this anyway.
It all started when the organizer announced that tickets to this event were going to be $40. That would apparently cover the cost of the venue and food. I wasn't surprised when I heard this. Some friends of mine have attended high school reunions for more. Mine cost $20 because I live in Cheap Lake City.
But the ticket price started a conversation on the high school reunion Facebook page. And that conversation got ugly.
There was an irate post by someone who was very upset that this was going to cost anything at all.
There were responses to this post that devolved into general name-calling.
At one point a horse girl tried to helpfully explain to the original poster that if she just saved one dollar a day for 40 days, she would have $40, like this was a Sarah McLachlan animal abuse situation.
Skylar started singing "In the Arms of the Angels" when he told me about this comment.
Eventually someone started talking about an upcoming amputation. I don't know whether that was related to the ticket price conversation, and I never heard any more details about it, but I do know that there was a conversation about amputation at some point on this Facebook page.
The loop was finally closed when someone from band informed the original poster that they would have started a gofundme for her if she hadn't been such a jerk about all of this in the first place.
Skylar and I flew to Portland late Friday night. The following morning we wandered town with his family. We returned to his parents' house in the late afternoon to get ready and to watch the entirety of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. Skylar promised to walk up to a group of people he didn't know at the reunion and say "and so we meet again" in his best Romy voice.
And then we left.
There were tacos.
There were a lot of drunk people.
There was some hushed conversation about amputation.
At one point I got a text from Skylar's mother:
Mr. "I don't know why we even came; I'm not going to know anyone" seemed to know everyone, including the woman who was telling a story about a guy in their high school class who asked her out, to which Skylar thought the appropriate response was "oh, that guy? Yeah, he asked eeeeeeeeveryone out," because Skylar doesn't understand basic human communication.
The next thing I knew, we were driving to the home of a Chinese-American woman named Emma, whom Skylar knew in high school. Her parents moved back to China in 2008, right after Skylar and Emma graduated, and their home has just sat vacant, but furnished, since then. Totally untouched.
I don't have the words to describe how strange of an experience it was to walk through this place. The house was a giant time capsule. A time capsule for Skylar's history. It truly felt like I stepped into his teenage life. It was quiet, and haunting in a way.
We wandered the house, including Emma's old bedroom. It looked like the bedroom of a teen girl in 2008. There were pictures of her and Skylar together pinned to a bulletin board. Old books. Clothes from a decade ago. A sign taped to a mirror that said "Sky & Emma."
I don't know why, and it's hard to explain, but the experience felt weirdly nostalgic for me. And sad, for some reason. Even though these weren't my memories, or even, really, my era.
I have spent 24 hours now trying to figure out why it was so empty and haunting to be there, and why I so badly didn't want to leave.
Walking through that house just sort of made life feel fleeting. I pictured it. One day they were lying on the bed in a teenage girl's bedroom. She was talking about boys and he was pretending to only be interested in the conversation as a supportive friend. They were doing this between studying for a biology test.
And then the next time they stepped into that room was a decade later. Their lives look completely different. The two have traveled the world. They've grown apart. They aren't pinning notes with their names to bedroom mirrors anymore. Or even talking most months. They have slightly less optimism and substantially less energy during this visit to the house in a town where neither lives.
They'll never be in that space studying for biology while talking about boys again. The old youthful relationship can't be youthful in the same way. None of their relationships with anyone can be.
We walked around for a while, laughing at old pictures. Eventually we left. The door shut behind us. We climbed into the car, and drove away, into the evergreen forest that surrounded the quiet neighborhood.
It's making me feel weird today.
And for some reason I sort of want a baby now.
But that might just be the heartburn medication.
Please enjoy some Strangerville, including the first of four stories from our recent show:
This time in Strangerville, Meg and Eli alienate anti-vaxxers. And a woman takes the Strangerville Live stage to explain the importance of TV in her life.StoryThanks a lot, Proust, by Irene StoneProduction by Eli McCann and Preg Walter
~It Just Gets Stranger