Last weekend I went to Salem. I was tired of seeing the same old thing, in this gorgeous one horse town. And I was homesick. Salem, is not home. I will be going back to San Francisco for Passover, (in a week) but I thought a few days in a no-horse town, with Alicia H might help me stave off the homesickness that threatens to overwhelm me.
Alicia H and I graduated from Santa Clara High in 1997. And we hadn’t talked to each other since that graduation day, until our reunion last year. After the reunion, she and Anna Shamble and Prasanth came to Portland and we all ate and drank and had a slumber party.
And it was so funny and so sweet. At some point, I was in my bed, with Anna, giggling about Alicia and Prasanth giggling on my futon in the living room and I said “If you had told me ten years ago that I would have a slumber party with you guys, I would said you were crazy.” It’s not that we didn’t get along back in the day, we did. We just weren’t particularly friends.
All of the peices of my life were at odds with each other back then, none of them based on school or acheiving anything in particular. I was a Church Youth Group Leader, and my boyfriends were all in their twenties, they’d dropped out of high school to make 60K a year at Apple. I was the secretary of the Christian Club and I passed out condoms to my friends in the halls. I would play broom hockey with a Jewish Youth Group one night, and spend the next night drinking on the beach with my raver-friends. I belonged a little everywhere, and nowhere. I knew everyone’s secrets, but nobody knew mine.
At Santa Clara High in the mid-90’s, the Honors Kids ruled the school. So they were popular, and I was… well, I was well-liked, but I didn’t have time for high school kids. The Honors Kids were trying to get into Harvard, and didn’t start drinking until we were Seniors.
We had a good time when we were together, but we regarded each other as another species. I remember waking up in the middle of the afternoon, in Cupertino (2 cities away from mine) and freaking out. I roused the boy (whose name I didn’t know, even then, I think he’d picked me up at the Hallmark store I worked at the night before) sleeping next to me and said “I’ve got to get to school to make sure I’m going to graduate!” He wouldn’t wake up, and I had to walk back to school all by myself. I got to school, and my teachers looked at me puzzled. “Yeah, you’re going to graduate.” And in the moment of releif, I was suddenly conscious of my surroundings more than ever. I looked at my peers like they were real, for a minute. And I thought, “Oh, fuck, was I supposed to make friends with these people?”
Alicia and I were allies, when we were thrown together, we gravitated towards each other. We had a common point of interest. We hated the same people. Also: she went out with hot guys that I lusted after (Bellarmine Boys who were probably gay, and oh-so-gorgeous). And ten years later, she doesn’t mind me saying “I wanted your boyfriends.” But despite all of the people we hate in common, this was the first time we’ve spent so much time together.
People think that I’m a Snarky Bitch, because of my cards. And to some extent, that’s true. I do hate feelings. And I wish I could cut through other people’s shit and just deal with the truth of what they want and what they mean. But I am a sentimental mother-fucker at heart. And there is something so sweet about being friends with the people who knew me before I had the sense to front. These people were not my close friends, but they were kind to me, before I was whole, when I was still becoming myself. And it’s nice to see them again, and to watch them remember me. It means so much to me that they were kind to my younger, more vulnerable self.
So, we re-united. And it was awesome. Alicia’s boyfriend is nice, and funny, and we told each other stories about what happened to us back then, and what’s happened to us since. We had a girls day, full of shopping and gossip. A lot of this shopping took place at Cherry Redd. The sexiest store in Salem. The guy who owns the store is hot and funny, and good at helping girls find delicious things to wear. His wife does all of the modeling for their business cards, and clothes. She’s fucking hot, right?
And they took me to a few honky-tonk bars, where people went crazy over my Snarky Cards. I was a hit. I love Salem, and it loves me back!