Monday, November 21, 2011

Reunions and Thanksgiving meet ups

The end of November not only signals a giant turkey dinner with lots of family, but also the time when people return to their home towns and attend their high school's grudge match football game.

If your high school had a football team and you are in to that.

Well, my school did have a team and I would love to attend the DS-Medfield game on Thanksgiving morning--like I did for 4 years in HS as a cheerleader--but a few things stand in my way. One being a road race I'm running, the next the giant meal I have to help prepared for 21 people coming to my house, and the fact that I'm a good 45 minutes away from my old school. But mostly it's because I really don't care that much. I'll be excited for my son when he begins to have games each season, but life goes on.

The first few years out of high school the night before Thanksgiving was a big night meeting up with people. In the town I live in now it's known as Orange and Black night (school colors) and the many bars spill over onto the street. But that does happen often. I'd be more likely to go to Black and Orange night than whatever it's called in my old town (Blue and White night? Warrior night? Big Blue eve?) All over New England (I can't say the US, as I have no idea) Thanksgiving brings together people who spent the better part of their tumultuous teen years back together. But now we are self assured adults. Mostly.

But this year is my 15th high school reunion. It's the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Boston, and I'm debating on whether or not I should go. I want to because it's at a Legals , but I'm leaning towards no. With Facebook these days, I know what most of my classmates are up to without having the awkward conversation with them in a loud bar with overpriced drinks. Plus, I would have to get a babysitter, which I don't want to do at this time because I want to go out the weekend after for my birthday. Lastly, most of these people didn't really speak to me in high school, what should I say to them now? I have no part of me that requires validation. In fact, if I go I run the risk of ruining the nice self image I've built for myself. What if I turn out to be a Liz Lemon?

I do have to say I went to my 10th reunion, which was at Felt in Boston. It was OK. I ended up being cornered by the girl who tried to steal my boyfriend senior year as she cried (really, she cried) about how her life sucked (no vindication there...I seriously worried about her state of mind), then caught up with a two girls I was friends with in the 10th grade. But mostly drank some beer and saw how the personalities of people developed in the previous 10 years. There weren't too many surprises. No one was horribly bitchy or overly mean. No one was excessively nice or apologetic. No man walked up and professed his hidden love for me (I do have a funny story about that from my freshman year in college, but it really just made me feel like an ass.) It was like high school on Prozac. Although had I taken Prozac in high school I may have had a much nicer experience and been able to hold a decent conversation.

Don't get me wrong, there are still one or two people I want to know what happened to, but they probably aren't going. And while I would love to walk up to and smack a few others, 15 years is a pretty long time, and I wouldn't be smacking the person I wanted. They are just scratched out photos in a tossed aside year book. I need a time machine for that satisfaction.

Unless I provoked them into showing hostility towards me. Hmmm. No, no. Then I would be the bitch.

All in all, I'm not going. Instead, I will....OK, I have no plans, but at my age I don't need them. I just don't want to go.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Things you tell strangers

The people have spoken!

I was thinking about this blog on my drive to the train station this morning, and how I kind of don't want to write down what I tell strangers, as my friends and family read this blog. Which is the whole point of telling strangers your biz-nuss I guess. They don't know you.

This came about during my last half marathon, the Lowell Sun one Sunday in October. First off, I usually run alone. It lessens the risk of being embarrassed when people want to speed up, I like to get lost in my head, and I particularly enjoy the silence of running. I knew the race had some scenic portions (Yes, even in Lowell there is nice scenery) and I lined up by myself at the start line ready to have a 2 hour sojourn into the workings of my head while my body beat itself up running.

However, I heard someone call my name. It was Miss Debbie, Dylan's music teacher. I knew she was running the race, but not being friends, we had made no plans to meet up for it. In class we had said figured we wouldn't run into each other. To clarify, Miss Debbie (sorry, I have trouble calling her just "Debbie" as she is a teacher) is Dylan's Music Together teacher. For 12 weeks or so we meet with her for 45 minutes a week and sing songs like Teeny Weenie Spider, Shoo Fly, and jam on little tambourines. Basically she gets to see me act like an idiot trying to keep my 18 month old engaged in the class. However, the class is over in two weeks and I'm pretty sure I wont see her again. Unless we take her again in the spring.

We exchanged hellos and the race began. And...we were running together. Now, I can turn into a Chatty Cathy if I am in the mood and I guess that day all my usual running habits were gone as someone was running next to me who was pleasant and was working a lot harder than I was. So we began to chat. At first I wanted to distract her from her laborious breathing, but then I got on a roll.

And the floodgate opened.

Around mile 6 I realized I was in the middle of telling her about my bad reaction to anesthesia during my last surgery. It was like I snapped back in my body as the words "shot of epinephrine and Jon looked over the screen at my stomach." Not only was I telling her of how my heart kept wanting to stop or blood pressure bottomed was the story of my c-section and labor.

To be fair (and reassuring to myself) she seemed fine with it. Not only was she probably not listening because she was trying to breathe, but she was a mother 2 times over, and I think (THINK) she had started the labor conversation.

However, when you run races you are often not alone. Runners keep to packs for timing purposes even if they don't acknowledge you. I took a quick look around and sure enough, three men were running right behind us. And they all looked at me very strangely. One, I realized, had been coughing lightly...most likely to alert me to the fact that he was there. Miss Debbie just kept nodding and then told me about how her daughter was also a c-section. Here we were, two women who barely knew each other, speaking in public about operations and labor.

This is just one example of my lack of filter. Or failure to use it. Now, if someone I know asks me about my labor, I say it was long and ended in a c-section. That's it. I don't get into the gritty details. But this woman (and the men behind me) know things that most of my friends don't. So what is it about strangers? True, you'll never see them again. But that just leaves room for more...

Another example of something I have told strangers is the common one: lies. This one dates back to college, when it was considered safe to make up a fake name. That way if the strange men you got to buy you drinks came up to you another night you could say that wasn't your name and be on your merry way. My friend Janet (or is that her name?!) and I used to do this at the larger Albany bars where SUNY students went. We only knew each other and the bar was ours for the taking. We could be anyone, and chose names that we could barely remember half the time. I also went through some interesting majors in those conversations (most memorable: anthropologist, with a detailed plan for my senior thesis of visiting tribes in the Amazon). However, I also carried it over after college, having fun with people and telling them wild tales of my life in Russia. Ahem, yes. I admit I have told one or two people in the world that my name is Petra and I lived in Russia for a large portion of my life. To be fair, I didn't want to be talking to them, and pretending not to speak English is very convenient to get strangers to leave you alone. It was also quite amusing. Another one of my favorites is "It's ok, I used to be..." fill in the blank. I've used waitress (That IS true), in the band (just funny really), a sound engineer (my, I'm creative when I want the music in a bar to be turned down), and a nurse.

But the biggest culprit of stranger sharing information in on public transportation. Sitting on a bus next to a friendly old woman, or being stuck on a train in a tunnel for 45 minutes makes people really talk. I've had a man tell me about his dead mother and how she haunts him. A woman who told me about her cocaine problem, and how it wasn't really a problem. Once in the street, a man told me about his three children who he had basically left with their mother and wasn't going back.

Oh, and what happened at the race? At mile 8 I realized I didn't want to bore the poor woman anymore with my stories and true confessions and I pulled ahead and finished 12 minutes in front of her. So I ran away. I actually ran away from her.

Of course I saw her the next Wednesday in class and she was back to being Miss Debbie. The happy music teacher. I think she must have blocked all of my ramblings out in her focus to finish. Or, I'm just really boring and nothing stuck with her!

Essentially, strangers are free therapists who could possible follow you home and kill you. Just like real therapists.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October ate my soul

I really meant to write more in October. I even kept a running list of topics to blog about. But I got side tracked. We redid our roof, had the driveway redone, I went to Albany, ran a half marathon, prepped and attended a major conference for work, banged out articles for the paper, attended a 5 hour long town meeting, made Halloween costumes, got snowed on, was nearly killed by a tree (ok, it COULD have killed us but didn't so that is good), now have a giant tree resting on the roof and garage, and whoops, that was October.

My schedule left little time for writing outside of work mandated things. By the end I was mainlining coffee and writing articles in my sleep. However, here is the list of stuff I wanted to write about for this blog, which is my fun writing.

1. How rain wrecks things.
2. What Friendly's means to me (and why Im sad the one near me closed)
3. Music and children
4. Ski mountains
5. Allergies and aging
6. Things you tell strangers
7. Visiting your college 10+ years after graduating
8. I found another Friendly's near me!
9. Why am I presenting this data at 9:30 PM on a Wednesday?
10. Reasons to not like the government...I think I'm a Libertarian
11. Ladybug wins 2nd place
12. BOOM. Or how I did not die.

I making November my clean slate for chaos and also ushering in a favorite project of mine, NaNoWriMo, which is a challenge to write a 50,000 word story in a month (1667 words per day). I have a vague outline and am just going to write up a story I've had in my head all year called In the Year of the Bunnies.

However, in an effort to not ignore this blog, pick a topic from above and post it in the comments and I will write it!