Tuesday, March 4, 2008

You've got mail

I have learned that retrieving one's mail from the mailbox can sometimes be an emotional experience. The year was 1987, and NBC had just taken Remington Steele off the air. I wrote them a letter to express my sheer horror over the disruption of my Tuesday nights, and they wrote me back. (Still haven't written my Congressman about cracking down on internet predators, but NBC knows when they've let me down. I have nothing if not priorities.) I stood still at the mailbox as I read that they were sorry to be the ones to tell me that the world did not in fact revolve around me. I was 17, so this came as a surprise. Very disappointing.

Disappointing, but not quite as horrifying as getting the letter from the IRS at the ripe age of 20, notifying me that I was being audited for the tax return filed after my tenure as a waitress. Note to self: next time you work as a waitress, keep very good track of your tips. Like somewhere other than a post-it note you left on your dresser. And next time, be sure you tell your mother how much you appreciate her getting you out of that mess. (How DID you get me out of that mess?)

Then there were the days when Cory and I had just begun dating. I went back to California for the summer, but he stayed at school to continue making out with other women just to be sure I was still the best kisser working. Before the days of email, cell phones, and text messaging and somewhere in between pulling shenanigans with his roommates and shuttling workshop attendees up to Sundance, he found time to write me a few letters. Complete with references to the most recent MacGyver episodes and hidden messages written for me under the stamp, those letters were a highlight over those months.

The face of good mail days has changed over the past couple of decades. With the exception of December, a good mail day anymore might include a baby announcement, wedding invitation, pizza coupons or 20% off my total purchase at Bed Bath & Beyond. Or if I'm especially lucky, I might get an eye cream sample or a free diaper.

As for the bad mail days, I married an accountant so I only hear from the IRS when they are issuing us a refund. And the bills continue to arrive regularly, but I'm used to that. But one thing that I hadn't experienced until recently is that a piece of mail not only has the capacity to ruin my afternoon, but the ability to transport me back in time.
I got a letter, you see.
A blue postcard, actually.
From my high school.
They're telling me it's been quite a while since I left.
More like 20 years.
Twenty. Freakin'. Years.
And they want to have a party.
Looks like I'm invited, as are the other 527 of us with diplomas from 1988.
I consider that licking hot wax sounds less torturous.

The power that this little blue postcard has over me in this moment is a little surprising. I suddenly feel as if I'm standing in the hallway of my former high school wearing braces, leg warmers and blue mascara feeling awestruck by the moves of Michael Jackson who is, incidentally, still black at the time. The thing is, I don't like that girl very much and so I'd kind of like to keep her there. Let her stand there and be needy and insecure and captured in color in her yearbook on Nerd Day and leave her there in 1988. I have no desire to resurrect that girl and bring her to the Hard Rock Cafe in San Diego. I try to imagine if there are any circumstances under which traveling to this party might sound like fun. Maybe if Pierce were there. I wonder if he'd be interested? I should ask him. Maybe I'll write him a letter.

14 comments:

Paige said...

Oh, Girl--the High school reunion could be fun! Mine was a blast, but then again, I still see my friends from high school, so I knew there would always be people to talk to.

And I remember letters. Ryan used to write me the best letters (with decorated envelopes even ) when I was on my mission. There we had no bills, no announcements, no email, so all post was good post. I realized that in Germany, they don't really mark off the postmark, so I could throw the same postcard back in the mail over and over. It was a little game we played to get more mail.

Mega Mom said...

At least you got an invite to your 20th. Mine was last year, and they didn't find me. Truthfully, even though we were invited to Tim's we didn't go. Sometimes it can serve as an excuse to think back on those days, but as far as paying lots of money to see people who we haven't thought about for 20years, well, we didn't go. 'nough said.

JustRandi said...

I haven't been to any of my reunions. Not as a statement or anything, it just conflicted with different reunions or whatever.
It's a little nerve wracking to think about though...

Heather said...

Wow, you are only 10 years ahead of me.... my ten year is this year. I'm debating not going because of the expense and the fact that I will be grotesqly huge with a baby.

Playful Professional said...

The worst mail I've gotten recently is for a speeding ticket from a stupid DC camera. What was better was that it was a letter informing me of a fine for not paying the initial speeding ticket that I never received. Now sure how I could pay a ticket I never got, but it made me dread the mail.

Ria said...

Amen to that. To go to my high school reunion would be like going back to hell. I've finally stopped having nightmares. Amy and Chad had dinner with Pierce last year at Sundance. Well, he was sitting at the next table and they had a couple of conversations with him. Between that and Alison and Dee meeting him at Del Mar and your sighting in London you and him have only a couple of degrees of separation between you two.

ganelle said...

Blue mascara! I had TOTALLY forgotten about blue mascara! Electric blue, if I'm not mistaken.

Love Slave has his #20 this year too. He actually wants to attend. Go figure. Of course, I think he still sorta thinks of himself as "Skywalker" the Variety Basketball Star. Should be interesting. Maybe I should wear blue masacra to the reunion???

Anonymous said...

I had looked forward to my 1o year reunion since the day I graduated high school. And do you know when it was??? Two days after I gave birth to my third child!!! I was so bummed. My friend said all the people I would have wanted to see were there. I can't wait for my
20th. I know I'm a little insane. Travis on the other hand has no desire to go to his.
Boliver

Kerri said...

Well, for my 20th, 11 people showed up. I thought it was a sign since I'd graduated 11th in my class. Sounds good, huh? But there were only 32 of us, soooo....not so great.

I went because my best friend still lives there and begged me to. Then she didn't show up!

Jes said...

Dearest Kristy....
How I enjoyed talking to you today. And how glad I am to have obtained the address of your blog. I intend to read it during my boring class tomorrow. Ah....laptops...
I just wanted to share with you a website I think you will find most hilarious. www.gofugyourself.com After exploring at your own whim, please go to the Grammy link on the side and read the Beyonce and her sister post. Perhaps when I come home in June I will share with you other favorites.

Love,
Jes

Pauly said...

A few random thoughts:

1. Own the fact that you are 38.

2. Unless you were a serious party girl in High School and feel you won't be able to uphold your reputation, you really should consider going.

3. I went to my 10 in 98 and went with She-Ra to her 20 last year, and have decided that 10 years are all about who you were and trying to impress your old friends, whereas 20 years are more about who you are now. Again, unless you're ashamed of who you are, you should consider going.

Besides, wasn't it you lamenting the lack of palm trees now that you're back in exile?

"Vern" said...

pauly: you make some compelling arguments, but please don't add years to my life prematurely. I just turned 37, and it's going to be the best year ever, starting with NOT going to my 20 year reunion.

Sherise said...

Oh come ON, woman, it's been 20 years! Get over yourself, go to the party, and have fun! I only keep in touch with 2 friends from HS, and neither of them were at my 20 year reunion. (Should I even mention the fact that I'm 50--50!!--pounds heavier than I was 20 years ago?) But I still had an absolute blast. If nothing else, look at it as an opportunity to show those $#%%^&s how far you've come since Nerd Day.

Mad Madame Mim said...

I was born in 1988. Just thought I'd rub that in.