Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

Back to where it all began / August 8, 2004

My butt has a dent in it roughly the shape and size of a set of keys. This is what happens when you send about 2 days sitting on your ass, riding up and down the east coast.
And I now know Pennsylvania never receives any sun.
I went back to my high school reunion. Eleven years. We’re too lazy and the teachers are too bitter, to do it on a regular schedule.
Since shortly after I graduated, I’ve been saying I wanted to go back and rub it in the face of a lot of people — how well I did and how badly their life sucks. No… this is not an enlightened view. Fuck off, I’m not Ghandi. I was very much a geek back in school, and hated nearly every minute of it. A couple of good moments my senior year… but that’s about it.
But I left these people behind. I went to a good school. Made it through all 4 years. Lots of friends. Got a real degree. Moved to the big city. Got a job with a real company. You have no fucking idea what a rush it was when I got my first set of business cards. All those dickheads back in Geneva could kiss my hairy pink ass the next time we met.
Yeah, I guess I did leave those people behind. Aside from one or two… I tried briefly in college to keep in touch with some of the people I cared about. It lasted a good two months. By then I was in a whole new world. You can hardly mourn the loss of people who only remind you of the worst time in your life, when you’re suddenly having the best.
So Liz planned a reunion. It’s been 7 years since that first set of business cards. Now I have to buy my own. And they really don’t mean that much to me anymore.
Yes, I’ll go, I’ll go. The town itself is nothing imposing to me. I go back 3 or 4 times a year. Never see anyone I know, though. Niff, who was the other person who had keychain-shaped dents in her butt… she was taking it differently. She had her own reasons for hating that town and every aspect of it. So the further north we got, the more tense she became. I could understand and sympathize with the trauma behind it… but it’s still kinda funny to watch.
Until we were driving past the American Legion, on the edge of town. Right then and there, I was ready to turn around and go back to DC and never think about these people again. These people, I realized, are something special. Suuuuuure. I’m a totally different person now, than I was back then. But these are the people that know the “back then”. Many of these people have been a part of my life as far back as my memory goes. They know what lurks beneath the fresh coat of paint on your life.
Niff thought I was joking, so we stayed in town.
I was kind of shocked the first night, how much night life Geneva now has. It’s tenuous at best, but it’s there. My main memory, that describes how Geneva once was, when I was younger, involves a cop. I was walking home, a block away, from The Lunchbox, when an officer on foot patrol told me it was getting late and I shouldn’t be in that neighborhood.
The cops are still there. And the ambulance. And the entire official establishment of downtown seems to be on edge. Praying this is a renewal for Geneva and not just a blip.
We went to four different bars, and saw a handful more people we knew, locals mostly. In a scene doomed to repeat itself many times that weekend, I was greeted by the bartender at Parkers’ with a big hug and a warm greeting, despite the fact I couldn’t tell you who it was. (I did eventually realize it was a girl I’ve known for probably 25 years.)
I’m trying to figure out how to say what I want. A lot of people, especially those who stayed local… they just… live very simple lives. Probably most of the class do. Some going the family route. Some not wanting to be adults yet. Some not going any route… just going along. I’m just finding it hard to talk about this, because I don’t want to sound condescending. While it’s shocking to see people who so intimidated you at one time, now living a life that would drive you insane with boredom… at the same time, it’s great. Just about everyone who showed up, no matter what they’re doing in life, seemed incredibly happy. Simplicity is God… I just also think it’s relative to each person’s life. Kira, who stays at home with her kids and sells stuff on eBay, seems to have the same peace of mind as Kate, who flies cargo planes for the Air Force, in Japan.
We won’t mention AJ, who is just an adrenaline freak, high on life.
A reunion is a reunion, and filled with the obligatory “What are you doing now” questions. Look at all the big hair and sad fashion choices in those pictures. I had more fun afterward, having dinner at Uncle Joe’s and bar-crawling again. People were more relaxed, and just talking, rather than trying to catch up on way too many years.
I don’t think I renewed any connections that will lead to anything. No life lessons learned. Not even just a hook-up with a long lost crush. But I had fun. And that’s the first time I’ve ever said that about anything to do with those people.
Sara: You owe me… I was overdressed.

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