It suddenly occurs to me that I forgot to mention the non-dinner-prep/eating portions of the Cloverhole leg of our trip to CA in November. I can pretty much always count running into someone I know, knew, and/or haven’t seen in ages and dayson when making a trip to the grocery store or Long’s drugs.
This trip was no exception. First, at the fish counter in the market was my first swim coach from junior high – still with the same long blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, maybe a few more pounds and wrinkles, but the same mannerisms and voice. She didn’t see me during the salmon-ordering process but we later ran into one another in the canned veggie section and started talking – she even remembered me, lo these many years later. Her oldest kid, whom I remember being a wee bump in her belly, is a teenager, and she’s got two others. We chitchatted a bit until one of my friends from high school/college (he was best friends with College Boyfriend’s brother), who I haven’t seen in over a year, passed down the same aisle with his mom. I said farewell and good luck to Swim Coach and gave The Irish German an enormous hug. He was also in town for family obligations, and since neither of us were going to stay more than a day or so, we were unable to make our schedules align to spend any time together. But I got his number, and heard updates on College Boyfriend (his roommate and coowner of the house they’re renovating in Oakland), College Boyfriend’s onagain/offagain relationship of *counts fingers* over six years (latest update: on again), and tales of our other friends from college.
I call him the Irish German because he’s about the most Aryan looking guy you’ll ever meet, tall and blond and blue-eyed, fair skin, and his last name leaves no doubt about his heritage. But he spent over four years living and working in Dublin after college, coming home once a year at Christmas and always managing to come over to a party and/or hang out when he was back in the states. He’s been back for nearly 2 years now, but he’s still got a bit of the Irish lilt he seems to have picked up, and I hope it never goes away.
So he and his mom had to run, and I met back up with my mom and sister and we got out of dodge. Then I remembered I needed something in Longs, so I ran in quickly, asked the manager for directions to the item in question (cheesecloth), and got in the shortest line. And waited for a few minutes trying to place the cashier. She looked so familiar, but not familiar enough for me to remember her name. But when I saw her name tag, I realized who it was – the psycho hose beast ex girlfriend of Joey! Holy caca! I’d previously only met her a few times, one of which was a party a few years ago at Joey’s house, after she’d gotten multiple tattoos, been in the military and discharged, and been married with kid and then divorced. To say this girl has issues is an understatement. Anyhow, the reason it was so difficult to recognize her was that she’s gained at least 50 pounds since I saw her at the party, making me feel kind of sorry for her. Man, that couple of minutes of conversation while she rang up my cheesecloth was kind of awkward, after we’d each established who the other was.
Going back to Cloverhole is weird. In a way, it’s kind of cool to run into and see people I never see – but in a way, it’s also kind of sad. One of the drawbacks to being from a small town is that you’re intimately more involved with the lives of people in town than you might be in a big city, and while you’ve moved away or moved on, they’re in the same place doing the same things. For some people, I’m sure that’s happiness, but I know I would have been miserable.