13 October 2007

Whirlwind Tour

So I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. and woke up at 5:15 a.m. I really did try to sleep longer, but when I heard the clock chime 6:00 I gave up. I wonder what Freud or Lacan would say about that...

My friend's mom took me for a tour of the neighboring town/city yesterday afternoon. She showed me the new murals covering the levee wall. I'd forgotten how massive the Mississippi River was here. We went to the new park where the now-demolished old MO-IL bridge used to stand. It has a great view of the new bridge, which looks a bit like the new bridge in Boston. Twenty years ago when I lived here and looked at the old bridge, all I ever wanted to do was cross it and escape. But now, after having lived in IL a second time and leaving on my own terms, I could just admire the new bridge for the engineering marvel that it is.

The football game was fantastic. My high school has a great team, if I do say so myself. But it was COLD. I'd forgotten how much of a chill aluminum bleachers can give you. The cheerleaders were even wearing pants. Lots of people were chatting, and I was too. But after I reacted to a fumble, one of my classmates said, "Jess, you're really watching the game. You always did, though, didn't you?" (I also was the one to voluntarily crawl under the bleachers to retrieve my band-mates' lost mouthpieces and music stands.)

The band was wearing the same uniforms we wore, just different hats. Apparently they are getting new uniforms next year. It's pretty amazing to me that anything could survive 22 years of rotating teenagers! And there were so many of them. I don't remember the marching band being that big when I was in it. Besides marching and playing, they are now learning to dance. I'm not sure it works. But still, the flaming-baton twirlers were pretty cool. And our drum cadence has always been (and still is) awesome.

I think our team won. At least it was 35 to 21 when I left in the last 4 minutes. I'd already survived being squeezed into people on the bleachers - I really wasn't ready to squish-while-walking:-)

After the game, we went bowling in the old grocery store. No really, it's been converted. They had the black lights on, so our shoe-strings and neon bowling balls glowed in the dark. I, in my infinite wisdom, wore all black which meant I could go undetected if I held real still. A lot of people brought their kids. Some of them even knew how to bowl! I far prefer football+bowling in October to a picnic in July. Well done, reunion committee!

A different friend drove me "home." Her three boys were cute and quite intrigued by the fact that I live in California (especially since that's where Lightning McQueen needed to get to in "Cars"). The youngest fell asleep in his car seat next to me. When the van pulled into the driveway and I opened the door to get out, the little guy woke up slightly and asked, "Is this California?"


12 October 2007

Back in Misery...I mean Missouri

So I've flown by myself to the bootheel of Missouri for my 20 year high school reunion. After living in dry California for the last 12 years, I'm actually enjoying myself! The state actually does have a lot to offer - if you know where to look. (I'm not sure how I would feel if this reunion were taking place in July...) It's fantastic to be staying with my best high-school friend and her family instead of in a hotel room. They've always given me refuge, though, so it's a safe place to be.

I've hit several of my favorite local eating spots. This morning I walked into town - the photographic light was amazing. I forgot what dew looked like. There are very few sidewalks here, and I got lots of stares. I don't think I looked homeless, but I guess no one walks. It took me an hour to reach town while taking pictures. The return trip only took 30 minutes - the light wasn't right for more photos. (Now I know why the kids groan every time I get my camera out.) The insects are chattier here than at home. Must be the extra moisture. I can't get over how green everything is, but I've been assured everything is quite dry from this year's drought. Hmmm.

The high school has quadrupled in size. They plopped the math/science/administrative building right on top of the road we used to "drag race" on. We're supposed to get a tour tonight before the football game. My old house is gone. I heard it burned down a while ago. Now there's just a vacant lot and the garbage shed (at least that's what I had to shovel out of the shed when we moved in). All the roads have widened and the chain stores moved in. There's a lot of things the same, but a ton different.

Cheers for now,