My high school is about to celebrate 50 years of being a high school. It’s weird to think the school was so “young” when I attended. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it then. I went to school with the school namesake’s grandkids, for goodness sake!
Anyway, there are all sorts of reunion parties happening this month. There’s a party before the big football game, a pre-party before the party before the gala, speeches about how awesome everyone was/is/wished they were, walks down that fuzzy memory lane, teachers being honored, blah, blah, blah. The school is going all out to celebrate fifty years of teaching and whatever. And then, as if that's not enough tripping down lanes, next month my class is having an informal reunion thing too.
I’m not going to any of them. It's not that I'm protesting or boycotting or anything. I live too far away right now to just fly in for the weekend. That being said, I’m not sure I would attend all the parties and pre parties and whatnots if I were there. I wasn’t much of a joiner of things in high school. I was more of a watcher and wisher. I’m not sure that will work as well at a reunion the way it works wonderfully on Facebook and Twitter and the like.
Take for example my fabulous Facebook friends, Bill and Ted.
Bill and Ted and I went to high school together. Bill and Ted and I might even have gone to middle school together. I know Bill and I did but I can’t vouch for Ted attending that trauma trap period of time. Bill dated my best friend on seventh grade for the average two-week middle school dating period before she cheated on him. I don’t remember him speaking to me after that other than to ask me why she dumped him. Boys were always asking me why she did things. That’s the only reason they talked to me, to ask “Why???” Bill and Ted never spoke to me in high school, that I remember - maybe because I’d wised up and stopped being friends with the cheater girl. Or perhaps because I was so terrified anyone would speak to me that I kept my head down and tried not to be seen. All I know is that Bill and Ted weren’t part of my life until Facebook.
Bill and Ted are not their real names, by the way. From what I remember about the movie ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ I thought Bill and Ted were a nice name match for my two Facebook buddies. Of course it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie. I could be insulting them or giving them way more credit in awesomeness than they deserve. Initially, I was going to go with Tom and Jerry or Rocky and Bullwinkle or Bevies and Butthead but my friends are both wicked smart, only one of them is overly hairy and, as far as I know, neither one is a total ass so Bill and Ted they have become.
Our Facebook friendship started with our twentieth high school reunion a few years back. Bill spent quite some time chatting with me and not getting the least offended by anything Husband said and was generally very awesome to be around. Somehow we ended up friends on Facebook. I don’t know who asked whom. Suddenly we were friends and it was good. At some point soon after, Ted and I were Facebook friends too. I don’t know who asked whom. I feel like I should remember this important detail but I don’t.
And thus a romance like no other began. I would post some absurd remark and the back and forth banter between Bill and Ted would begin. A snarky response here, a witty retort there and I was laughing. Sometimes I felt like I was just watching the tennis match of barbs they threw at each other. Sometimes I was the little sister being teased relentlessly by two older brothers. Most times they were one inappropriate sexual innuendo away from being banned by Husband from being my friends. They made my life interesting. I would get a little thrill each time my notifications said either Bill or Ted had commented on a post because no matter how inane my comment, the comeback was sure to be relentless and hysterical.
And those awesome exchanges are one of the reasons I’m not going to the fiftieth celebration of the school. High school was a mess of awkward for me and there are few people who don’t make all those memories wash up over me and bring on the tears and the doubt and the darkness. Bill and Ted might be two of those people.
But how could I know? I’ve never spent time with them in a room face to face. In real life, their snarky comments might not be tempered by the salve of a computer screen. In real life, face-to-face, their remarks might make me bleed, just like all those barbs that people threw at me back in the day. Heck, we all bled then, some more than others. I’d like to think, my skin is stronger, my self more secure and yet, I think that Bill and Ted are some of the few folk that could still bring me low.
Because of that dark possibility, I don’t think Bill or Ted and I could ever hang out together in a real live space. The fact that I’ve never had real face time with Ted is likely part of it. The fact that Ted is a high mucky muck in the Army and teacher of young minds and Bill is a practitioner of Chinese arts and chef of all things healthy and my favorite exercise is lifting potato chips and ice cream into my face while spelling things incorrectly might have something to do with it. The fact that both of them were high school football players, the ones who didn’t speak to the drama geeks like me and that we sure as hell never hung out at any social event ever doesn’t help.
But mostly, it’s because I like who I am and who they are right now, in this virtual space, and I would be devastated to find out we were not the same people face to face.
Who needs that kind of crushing disappointment? Life is hard enough without losing your imaginary friends.
I haven’t written a wildlife update in a while. I’m not sure why. It’s not that they aren’t out there doing their wildlife things, or that I’m not watching them do their wildlife thing. They are. We have to check the yard for deer before opening the door to let Tigger the Dog out. I have often been late leaving the house because the big ten-point buck is hanging out in the yard and I can’t stop watching him. The other day, I stomped outside to watch/encourage/beg TTD go to the bathroom because stupid Husband has trained her to wait until she has an audience and got to see a hawk hunting in the sky above my grumpy self.
It is a major improvement from watching the roof rats scurry across the electricity wires in our tiny yard in California. The roof rats Husband tried to convince himself were squirrels. They were not.
Not only are the hawks and falcons fantastic to watch, the smaller birds here are gorgeous. They are so many pretty colors and shapes. I’ve got one bird feeder that I sometimes remember to fill and watching them feed is like having a prime seat in the mall where all the pretty people shop.
It’s ironic that the dang feeder gives me such joy because our awful neighbor in California had bird feeders. Lots and lots of freaking bird feeders, like crazy cat lady lots! And she made a point when moved in of fake nicely asking us if she could put one on our joint fence and when we said “sure, but please not right where we have the BBQ,” she fake nice smiled and then put one RIGHT WHERE THE BBQ WAS! And the birds would perch right above the feeder on the fence waiting for their turn to eat and shit all over our BBQ.
We were not fans of hers. In fact, our feelings about her and where she should put her bird feeders were strong ones. Even now, two years later, I could suggest a few places to her where she could shove them. And I still would like to help her get them in there…
I digress. I have birdfeeders now. But they are IN my yard and nowhere near a neighbor or a BBQ or a fence. And they are awesome. So awesome, that this young lady and her babe are fans -
These guys remind me daily that moments like this are why we are here and not still living next door to Miss Fake Nice and her pooping birds and her lying face. So what if our neighbors on to the left of us might be dead and the neighbor across the street has appointed herself Mayor of Our Street, it’s still a million times better than roof rats and a poop covered BBQ.
And that about sums up my life right now; better than roof rats and a poop covered BBQ.
Husband calls me The Questionnaire. He says I ask too many questions, questions I don't need to know the answers to. I find it funny how upset he gets about my question asking.
Or did until I met my match: my Scottish Father-in-law, FIL. FIL asks more questions than I do. Constantly. And most of the time, he asks questions so that he can tell you what the answer should be.
FIL: Why are they pronouncing the name of a car/medication/disease/word this way?
ME: Because that’s how we say the name of a car/medication/disease/word here in America.
FIL: Nooo. That is wrong. The name of a car/medication/disease/word is pronounced that way.
I find myself going into yelly defense mode over something I really don’t give a damn about, just to stop the questions. Just like when I’m in the basement with Husband and he’s asked me to hold up a thing and I ask him why I’m holding the thing and he yells that I don’t need to know why, I just need to hold it. FIL is doing to me what I do to Husband. It would be an interesting study on relationships and why we choose the partners we choose – if I weren’t currently IN the study yelling “Because that’s how we do it here!” every five seconds.
This is not word for word but here is a sample of the back and forth questioning between FIL and me yesterday. I was too busy trying to answer FIL's questions to remember the exact wording and at some point my head exploded and I might have yelled, "I don't know!" Keep in mind, everything he says sounds like Sean Connery playing a priest. It went something like this -
FIL: Is it an American thing to list ones maiden name and ones married name?
FIL: On Facebook?
ME: I don’t know. Because we do.
ME: I guess so that your high school friends, the friends who knew you before you were married could find you.
FIL: Why? Why not just list your married name?
ME: Because maybe they don’t know you got married. Maybe they just remember you from school and only remember your maiden name.
FIL: There was a picture someone posted in the Greenock (Scottish town) Facebook page of her mother and grandmother and she just put their married names.
ME: Perhaps its because they got married young and everyone knew who they were before?
ME: Perhaps it’s because the town is small and everyone knows everyone
ME: Did she have links to their names?
FIL: Nooo. They’re all dead.
ME: Well, perhaps because by the time they died, people only knew their married names.
And this went on forever in this vain until Husband actually said -
HUSBAND: You guys need to go to a hospital ward and talk to coma patients. They'll be all “I'm awake. I’m awake. Shut up! Please stop talking!”
Neither of us did.
And adding to the list of things I shouldn't say to one’s Father-in-law, this gem might be on the list.
ME: I think your art supplies are in the top of the closet, next to the porn magazines we found in the attic.
Husband looked at me in horror, shook his head, and pretended he was no longer in the car with us. Hard to do as the driver.
See when we removed the old nasty animal infested insulation from the attic last spring, we found these old Playboy magazines along with several bullets and RC cola cans. The magazines were chewed up and nasty from the mice using them as nesting material but I kept them in a bag along with the cards and report cards we found when we removed the bookshelf. Maybe someday, the kid who lived here will stop by and I’ll be able to give them part of their childhood back.
When we found the magazines, Husband laughed and said –
HUSBAND: Good thing it was a playboy from the 70's. The mice had plenty of nesting material.
I was confused until I noticed the rather un-groomed model and her “nesting material,” that he was indicating the mice would enjoy.
Husband is funny. He can say this kind of stuff in front of everyone – my mother included and yet, when I just blurt out that there are 70’s porn magazines stored in the closet of the room FIL is occupying, he just shakes his head as if I am nuts. There is nothing like the look on Husband’s face during an awkward naked woman story I’m telling FIL to get me giggling. I’m sure it matches the look on mine when Husband says something thoroughly un-PC. We’ve been married for ages. You’d think he’d be getting used to the blurt disease that seems to overcome me around FIL.
We apparently are a matched set.
And that is why the battle for Most Awkward Story Told To Your In-Law will continue. It is almost as intense as the epic battle for the title of The Questionnaire. Though, based on the last few days, I’m going to be the one losing both titles - along with my patience.
A while back a few friends and I sat about and discussed random things like fistulas and camping and how there is more e-coli on your lemon slices in your innocent glass of water at the bar that you’d care to know. It’s fascinating to reflect on how we grow up and go from eating mud pies to freaking out if we don’t get to wash our hands before dinner or if the waiter put the slice of lemon in our water. And that little things like what you think about the lemons in your free water can affect your day.
Take for example Husband; Husband is a wickedly smart, logical guy and yet Husband has issues eating in other people’s houses. He can’t. He has issues swallowing apples. He will chew them for days and can never swallow. He freaks out if you flush the toilet with the lid up. And yet, as my dear friend pointed out to me, he takes his iPad into the bathroom with him for his “board meetings” as Husband calls his time in there.
A quick search of all things gross that could be on your phone and I came up with this quiz - How many germs live on your cell phone? Try it. A few simple clicks and it says I have 1,258,320 germs on my phone right now. Exciting.
And I don’t even take it into the bathroom and have a two-hour “board meeting” like Husband is wont to do. So this perfectly logical and insanely smart guy can’t eat in other peoples home and yet germs on his iPad don’t seem to be a problem for him – well, until now. If he reads it, all bets are off. He’s likely to have to get a bathroom iPad to solve the cooties problem. Damn, what have I done?
Anyway, I find Husband really is a study in what your brain chooses to handle and what your brain chooses to freak out about.
For example, Husband can’t fly. He can fly. He didn’t make it to America by boat. But he hates to fly, is terrified to the point where he can’t sleep for days before a flight and turns into a rat bastard of the mightiest proportions. He can tell you what brought down every plane in every major plane accident. And he will. Over and over again.
He can tell you the statistics on plane crashes due to faulty maintenance service or manufacturing gone wrong. And he will. Over and over again. He can tell you the odds of dying in a plane crash are lower than dying in a car crash and yet still he won’t get on a plane unless he has to. Husband hates to fly.
For my birthday one year, he wanted to take me to Hawaii but the thought of flying there had him looking for alternate routes. He decided a cruise was the way to go – an eight-day-at-sea cruise.
We’d been on a cruise before, for our honeymoon, a lovely surprise gift from Brother. We were on that ship for eight days and spoke to one person who was not on the ship’s staff. One single person! We’d been married for four months at that point so it had nothing to do with locking ourselves in our cabin to make the love. We just don’t do small talk with strangers very well at all. Eight days is a long time to not speak to anyone but your Husband. And that was on a cruise that had stops at various islands. The thought of eight days at sea with just him and me and five thousand other folks we were not speaking to? Not appealing in the least.
I insisted on a trial run cruise to see if we’d improved our social skills and could manage to smile and talk to others. We did a two-day trial run from Vancouver to San Francisco. We weren’t much better. We spoke to one person who, it turns out, was randomly was connected to a parent who had caused me major grief during a school function earlier that year. Said icky parent was on board the ship with us! We spent the rest of the trip making quick forays to the buffet for endless eating and then hustling back to our room and hiding on our balcony to avoid running into her.
We drove to Vegas for my birthday.
This year were going to go to St. Thomas with friends. They have a timeshare so all we had to do was get our butts there. But you can’t drive to St. Thomas. You have to fly in. And, even though I repeatedly told Husband it wasn’t the airport where the planes fly over the beach, he was unable to get past his fear. He couldn’t get his brain to push aside all that could go wrong and focus on the beach and the bright blue sky.
We’re not going to St. Thomas. Because Husband can’t fly.
While I make fun of him and gleefully point out his issues to all we meet, I know I’m not immune. I have my own set of foibles that will send me screaming for the hills. Trying to shop in Costco on a Saturday is likely to make me ram people with my cart while screaming obscenities and generally offending everyone. Poor Father-in-law was witness to that little brain-exploding episode last weekend. The thought of Christmas shopping in a mall is likely to send me into a dark hole of depression. I cannot get out of my car at the mall. I just sit there, watching folks walk in and out and cannot move. I have to drive home weep-screaming and shop online.
So, while I can tease Husband till the cows come home, I am fully aware we all have issue we cannot logically overcome. Be yours spiders or snakes or cows, may you be able to make it through today laughing about it, not curled up in a corner shrieking. We are all going to die at some point. The goal is not to die while running away from your stupid fear.
Because, while that would be very funny, it would also be sad.
Ironicllly, my post was to be about how useless I am now that I'm back on the internet and my brain is full of tiny facts and stories that mean nothing but take up too much space.
But my internet is broken or being pissy or both and I cannot post from the computer. And I'm too thumby to type on my phone so... the dog ate my homework and all that jazz.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me