Monday, September 12, 2011

Ninety-four! Ninety-four! ...

The truth is: I loved high school. Perhaps karma decided enough-is-enough, Miss Halcyon Days, and made college wretched instead. Forced me to make payments on skating through my early-to-mid teens, a world filled with reams of purple and gold crepe school spirit, giggles, mud-caked shins packed into a sweaty-foot smelling school bus chugging home from track meets. We were, admittedly, a Disney version. Mr. Misty Freezes at Dairy Queen, gift-wrapping trees in Charmin, face paint. My biggest complaints would have been acne, curfew and unrequited love. And none of those really deserve an empathetic nod, and "I'm so sorry you had to live through that."

What's most surprising is that we didn't occasionally bust into flash mob choreography, that the story isn't categorized as a musical, downloads available for $9.99 on iTunes.

Every year my friends from high school rent a cabin near Brainerd for the weekend. The roster has subtle changes from year to year, and in fact this past weekend was only my third trip. Now I'm a lifetime member. I've known half of these people since 1982. Strange to think that I couldn't yet write in cursive, adored "The Eye of the Tiger," my prized possession was a stuffed Garfield dressed in jogging attire and I had the capacity to make friends I'd know forever. Kudos, 7-year-old Chrissy!

I get there late Friday night every year, but this year I had an excuse. My friends Radzo and QT had their wedding reception at The Depot. My friend Tuska had married them earlier in the day. I was bummed about leaving. The overlap was cruel. Regardless, the former wore a kicky white dress, red shoes, flower in her hair and the latter had a white suit. They were lovely, a a kind of glowing commercial for young love. I watched the event unfold on Facebook later and wished that thing had been invented where you could be at a wedding reception at the Depot and in Brainerd at the same time.

I was greeted at the cabin door by my friend Dong, who I hadn't seen in close to 10 years. He's the cutest: Bobby Brady face, with calves that remind me of chicken drumsticks from the Renaissance Festival. I've spent much of my life eyeing those suckers and craving BBQ.

Donger eats chips while wearing my high school track jacket, a retro piece of clothing that rides up in such a way that it looks like a halter coat. Once a year, one of the boys likes to wear it. 

Here I am with Fannie Face. 

Most people went to bed, but Fannie, Dong, J-rey and I stayed up and played Family Feud on the iPad (Instruments played on street corners? Items of clothing associated with other countries?) Then Fannie and I sat on a dock for awhile. 

"We should go skinny dipping," she said. 
"No way," I said. 
"It's not like we're going to make out," she said. 
"Just hug?" I asked. 

We stayed on the dock until we were sure the woods across the lake were filled with serial killers and wild boars; the water waist-high in snakes. 

Then we went to bed, sharing a room with my friend Polish and his wife Small Fry. I'm sure this isn't on their wish list of sleeping arrangements. But I like to think it is good practice for when they begin hosting the slumber parties they will undoubtedly be hosting shortly. 

I spent most of Saturday in a cloudy, sun-stroked beer haze. I make an exception on day drinking just this one time of the year. Outside of Gull Lake, day drinking is a piss-soaked, blood-letting, cry-fit disaster waiting to happen. At Gull Lake, it's a Salt n' Pepper remix singing, Bloody Mary chugging, sunburned delight. 

We were on a pontoon by noon, cruising around, listening to music, eating Cheez-Its and getting weird. 

Fannie and Small Fry, dressed as a 1920s movie star, bask in the sun. 

Polish always likes wearing other people's clothes. Here he is sporting Dong's tank top. 

Look at that fun-in-the-sun crew. 

This is probably when the wheels came off: Princess Linda, Fannie and Z getting dance-y. 

It was a hot day on Gull Lake. At one point everyone decided to jump into the water. I hadn't worn swim suit bottoms. I took my F in Advanced Beginners Swimming and minded the pontoon while the water baby freaks acted like they had never before been submerged in liquid. They were little bobbing heads, cackling at the hilarity of wet. 

Eventually I couldn't take it anymore, so I strapped on an orange life vest and backed slowly into the lake in a pair of Princess Linda's shorts that she very kindly allowed me borrow, knowing I would be using them as a sieve for urinations. See? Friends forever.  I dog-paddled around, face poking out of the drink. The neck-high in water terror past quickly and I could breathe again. 

 Here's Z, seemingly in the early stages of a fist bump. 
 This is my favorite photo of Princess Linda. She looks like she might fly away. 
 Ahh. This almost makes up for the time we didn't get to go on vacation. 
 Princess Linda and Donger ... I really did a bang up job framing this one. 

Fannie and I were drinking a mix of Berry Weiss and Honey Weiss in plastic cups. Dong walked past, picked a chunk of ice off the floor of the pontoon, wiped it off on his shirt and dropped it into my glass. 

We went back to the cabin, cleaned up and got ready for a night on the town. This Super Hot Dance Club in the Greater Brainerd Area. We didn't last long in that sea of bachelorette parties and Humpty Dance remixes. I went outside for a second and could not physically drag myself back into the bar. Everyone else filed out soon after. 

Readers: I was in bed before midnight on a Saturday night. 

I woke up this morning to the sound of Princess Linda and Z peeling out of the parking lot, gone before I was even awake. We all followed soon after.

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