8:56 PM, Tuesday, September 8th, 2009:
I've never really talked much about my high school days. My first thought when I approach writing about it is that it's boring. Nearly everyone's high school memories fall into a handful of categories and as we all find out - it just doesn't mean that much once you're older. The only thing remotely interesting to me is that I kept a tape journal during those years and it's beyond surreal to listen to it now. As I've mentioned before, I would post it - but it's so graphic I fear I'll have to be dead and buried before that's public. Imagine "The Journey" but focusing on sex. I may find a way to edit it all one of these days... anyway, I bring all of this up because I went back to Columbus for my 15-Year Reunion and figured it was worth a "Randoms" entry...
1) We were Gyped
I hadn't stepped foot in the school for 15 years, and honestly any school for that matter. After College (last day was in April 1996 when I released my CD), I never looked or went back. So when part of this reunion included a tour of the school? I was ON that shit...
...and goddamnit kids these days are living it up. There's wi-fi throughout the school. There's 2 gyms now. And I don't mean a big gym and the throw-away one for the freshman:
I mean now our gym is the gimp gym with low ceilings and this big mofo reigns supreme. Someone asked "why do you need two?" and he explained about sports practices, etc.... like it was damn near mandatory. Well build one for every sport while you're at it. I'm totally bitter about this shit. In the corners are big-screen pull downs for projecting stuff too. But hey, I'm sure that means they have a new theater for what you cared about Adam...
2) Sports destroy Art
Hell no.
This quaint "little theater" is identical to what it was even 30 years ago except for some wood paneling. There is something kinda special about that I must admit, but priorities are clear - and in all honesty? My head gets it even if my heart is whining. Sports bring in money, theater doesn't. Also - we're talking about a Catholic School here. Sports will always destroy art and it's silly to even bemoan it. You really want an artistic experience you go to an art school. Though looking back now, I'm glad I didn't go to an art school. I benefited more from a strong, challenging academic background before I gave it all up to be a clown.
Christ, I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.
3) The Smell of the Halls
So the tour guide was thorough beyond belief and all I wanted to do was walk down the part of the school I remembered. Seriously - the place is 3 times bigger than it was before and you just feel like you're touring a different school. So I snuck out of the tour and went down the junior and senior halls:
And there's that smell. First of all, and I'm sure everyone can attest to this - how small are these hallways?!? They were a lot bigger in my memory. But the smell is just instant time-travel. I'm so glad I was able to walk through it completely alone - it was as out-of-body as you can get. Totally overwhelming.
4) When classes were everything
Listening to the audio "entry" that accompanies the video is such a glaring reminder of how focused life was during those 4 years. So much going on, so many things to juggle. I remember distinctly getting to college and thinking:  "wow, only 3 or 4 classes?" Life is never as busy as it is during those 4 years. Even if it's technically busier with work/kids/family, there's something about the breadth of areas we cover while we're in high school that is so foreign to adult-life. 8 wildly different subjects throughout the day forcing you to use some other area of your brain... then the plays or musicals for me, cross country my first 2 years, and then the melodrama of girls. It's an unbelieveable amount of mental juggling that I have to say, people in their 30s probably couldn't handle for more than a week. Since we're not searching as much, most of us have crossed "Chemistry" off our list of shit we want to do, so an hour a day back in that class would make us crazy. But then it was another hour in a whirlwind of a day. Exhausting thinking about it all. None more exhausting than this...
5) Parent-Teacher Conference
...so my first wife Burgundie and I are walking down freshman hall, both feeling uneasy. Funny how you walk slower as-if you think the floor is about to give out when nostalgia hits you like a ton of bricks. I turned to her half-way down the hall and said: "Do you realize if we had had kids? We'd be walking down this hall for a parent-teacher conference 'cause they'd be 15."
Leave it to me to make that unease turn to nausea. Her boyfriend was next to her and just kinda laughed at it. If I remember correctly, we didn't say a word after I mentioned that. Not even a funny: "Thanks for making me feel old, asshole." We just kinda kept walking -- both completely stunned by what could have been. And then it was onto the reunion...
6) We look really good
Maybe it's my own stereotyp I've created of Columbus since it's been so long since I lived there, but I was surprised at how well everyone aged. Everyone looked remarkably similar to high school. It then occured to me that anyone who didn't look similar to high school probably just stayed home. You can't help but feel a bit self-conscious when you're seeing people you haven't seen in so long. The only comparison is a yearbook picture from your teens. And that is the nice thing about getting older for sure - everyone knows who they are now. Wears what they're comfortable in, it's pretty mellow. But come on - you don't go to reunions for mellow - you want to see someone get trashed and make a fool of themselves. However, no one did. So, was there any drama?
7) Let Them Drown
A few of you made the connection from my "Let Them Drown" entry that it was someone from high school and I was certainly curious as to how that was gonna play out. I give props to both of us however, as we played "other side of the room Tango" the entire night and never had to have the awkward moment. That really was the good part about the email exchange from a couple months back. I said exactly what I needed to, I tried desperately to salvage something, and the other person was so condescending and rude that it was easy to write it off. Make a nice little song and call it a day. Rarely do situations wrap up that neatly. It's too bad, but it's also a blessing when life hands you something so black & white. No sleepless nights when you can't find grey.
8) Aaron the Amiable
The reunion marked the first time I met Burgundie's boyfriend of 7 years. I have to say, I'm very lucky to not only remain such good friends with my exes, but that their significant others have been totally cool with me - and couldn't be nicer about the awkwardness of the situation. Both Jeff (Jess) and Aaron (Burg) are guys I would actually hang out without anyway - and within a few moments we were laughing and joking about it all. I actually ended up talking to Aaron more than Burgundie as we tried to put the timeline together of how things all came to be. I mean, I guess there's no reason for there to be animosity, from his perspective he clearly "won" - and I'm hardly intimidating. Besides, in both cases, looking at "us" now, is bizarre. Like, we were actually married? Funny, Jess actually said that to me this trip. I guess in the end we weren't matches - and it's so overwhelmingly clear that the men they're with now are matches... so I just come in, shake their hands, have a beer and laugh about the insanity of it all.
Oh my goodness what an incredible story this is. I actually wonder if I should tell it in it's entirety because it's so unbelieveably damning to that person.... hmmm. Let's just say that a false rumor was spread so someone's boyfriend would beat the shit out of me. That someone's boyfriend defined the word massive. And one day when I came out of school, he confronted me on this rumor, I told him it wasn't true and he picked me up and promptly threw me across the field about 10 feet. I then noticed the girl who spread this rumor standing there and I walked right up to her and added a bit more to the story that she failed to tell him. 'Causing him to pick me up again and throw me again. Out of embarrassment really. My part of the story was, well, graphic -- and 'caused her to flee the scene. The lie has actually always bothered me and I even ran into her last year and assumed she would finally apologize for that, but never did. Maybe she forgot about it? Who knows.
At the end of the school year however, I saw the guy, Collins, at the end of an empty hall and for some reason decided to confront him. In a loud voice I yelled "Hey Collins!". He stopped and turned and headed towards me. Burgundie unbeknownst to me was actually in the hallway behind me and jumped into a side-hall and hid. LMAO. He was no longer with this girl, and I came up to him and just said:  "You do know that wasn't true, right?". "Yeah, but she was my girlfriend, and I had to stick up for her.". I nodded understandingly and that was that. Burgundie thought I was quite a badass though, because the man just wasn't tiny. And with that, I introduce this picture:
I look like I'm 1/3 his size. I'm 5'9"-5'10" and 165 pounds... so what the fuck does that make him? 'Cause I know that makes me his bitch. We never mentioned the "incident" and just talked about life, whatnot. Burgundie saw this and immediately grabbed her camera to take the picture realizing the surreality of the moment. And understand, he hasn't gotten bigger since high school (I mean technically he probably has), he was a brick shithouse back then too. Christ even his head dwarfs mine. Brother is huge.
10) The Bag
So one guy in our class, who was already an intense dude to begin with, brought a duffel bag to the reunion. And from time to time would reach in there, grab something, then zip it back up. It started out being funny, and then felt very "headlines in the paper tomorrow" because again, dude is intense. Very serious, glasses, walks with a purpose... just an intense dude. Always was. Throw in this bag, and you start wondering if you ever made fun of him 15 years ago because it felt creeeeeeeeeeepy. After asking a bunch of people, someone finally mentioned that he had made some sort of apparatus for nurses to use and he had it in the bag trying to sell it or something of that nature. Still slightly creepy, but not "Columbine" creepy. Man, can you imagine if "Columbus" entered the vernacular like "Columbine" did? "Don't go to your 15 year reunion, someone might go Columbus on you."
Thankfully, it was peaceful. And sorry to the dude this is about, but you totally freaked us out.
11) The Picnic
So we've gotten to the age where reunions are 2-day events. One for "adults" and one the next afternoon for the "kids" and families. I promised little Julia (whom I met last year - there's a facebook pic of me with a pink tiara that we made together) that I would see her there with her mommy Erin who I went to school with. Her husband is Marc. Damn, couldn't find a good way to fit that into the sentence, but it seemed wrong to leave the daddy out. LOL.
ANYWAY - my final piece of surreality was being the only single person at a picnic with families and realizing how close I had been to this life... many times. I would run around with the kids a bit, talk to the parents a bit, then sit back and just space out. It's as if it has totally passed me by. Not like I've put it off, but like it's never going to happen. And I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. At times it's a giant "whew". And then a kid does something cute and you know you'd be a great father. But it's not even about that, it's about being entrenched in a completely different lifestyle now and so far removed from family life that it seems like there's no way back. It's not even on my radar, and had been for the majority of my life. I've found happiness without it and it's like the little momentum pendulum has swung the other way. It could swing back I guess, but when will my life ever feel stable enough for that?
12) Swings are Intense
So I saw Julia swinging and figured I'd give it a go. To my surprise... you get quite a rush. Like, a couple swings into it - I was like:  "wow, was this what it felt like when I was a kid?", 'cause it really got me kind of high. It was a fucking blast is what it was. LMAO. I'm about to put one in my backyard. Great Adam, as if a single man putting a 4-Square court in his backyard wasn't creepy enough - a swingset oughta do it. (sigh) But seriously, I think something happens with your equilibrium when you get older because I don't believe swings ever effected me like that before. Oh and suddenly in the past year or so I have "sympathy pains" like crazy. Meaning, watching "America's Funniest Home Videos" is one of the more painful events of my life now. It was never like that before - but now if someone hurts themselves, my body hurts where they get hurt. It's pretty much one wince after another with that show while everyone else just laughs and laughs. Weird.
Alright - we've kinda strayed from the reunion, and I believe that's probably all the stories there are to tell. No one made a fool of themselves, no real drama, not even gossipy hookups that I could see (seemed almost everyone was with someone). No, everyone was totally nice, completely mellow and I had a really nice time. My plane is about to land, and I will enter the waiting game for yet another undetermined amount of time.
I'd rather be swinging.