Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My weekend in Iowa: by the numbers

Number of miles I was supposed to run on Saturday with my AIDS Marathon group in Chicago: 8
Number of miles my folks’ neighbor in Iowa, who is training for a different marathon, was planning on running: 11
Number of miles I ran with her instead: 11
Average temperature in Iowa when we started running at 6:15 on Saturday morning: hot, but not horrible for running

Number of hills in Chicago: 0
Number of hills in Iowa: How high can you count?

Height of the biggest hill in our run on Saturday, which was downhill in mile two but cruelly uphill in mile 10: approximately eight stories over the length of two city blocks

Percent of said hill I ran without stopping: 100

Volume of my whining about said hill, in decibels: How high can you count?

Number of people in my graduating class: 434
Number who showed up at our 20th reunion on Saturday: about 125 plus spouses and random children
Percent of those people I was able to visit with: I’d say a good 75

Total number of official reunion events: 2, a picnic on Saturday from 11 to 1 and a dinner on Saturday from 5 to 10, both in a spacious lodge in a well-manicured state park

Total percent of that lodge that had air conditioning: 0
Average temperature in Iowa on Saturday: How high can you count? (Can you go any higher?)

Total homo count at the reunion, at least among the people I talked to: 4 (me, a guy I already knew was gay, one woman I’d heard was gay a few weeks ago, and one woman I didn’t really know that well in high school but who recognized a fellow queer the moment our eyes met this weekend and we became best friends)

Percent of people I recognized instantly: about 50
Number of people I felt stupid that I didn’t recognize instantly: about 5
Number of times I said “holy shit!” or something similarly vulgar when I recognized someone I had totally forgotten about but was very glad to see anyway: about 30
Number of guys I recognized because they looked like their dads did when we were in high school: 2

Number of guys I had impure thoughts about at the reunion: 2
Number of those guys I don’t really remember from high school even though they were apparently hot back then too: 2

Number of people who turned out better than probably anyone expected: many
Number of people who apparently never evolved past their drunken-high-school-student phase: 2

Number of women who commented on my looks and/or felt me up: 7
Number of guys who commented on my looks but didn’t feel me up but that was actually pretty OK: 4
Number of people who commented on my looks with a backhanded compliment about how unattractive I was in high school: 2
Percent of this attention I found offensive, insulting or somehow unwanted: 0

Number of people who talked to me as though we were old friends though I am almost 100% certain we never exchanged more than 10 words in all of high school: about 10
Number of those people who insisted that I look them up so we can hang out some more and get caught up if I ever find myself in their current city: 2

Number of shirts I tried on before I decided I was ready to go to my reunion: 1
Number of shirts my mom and sister made me change into before they decided I was ready to go to my reunion: 3

Number of people who were clearly trying to impress everyone: a couple women who were waaaaaay overdressed for the oven we were in, and one guy who let it slide that he was wearing $500 sunglasses
Number of times I was able to work marathon training into my conversations: not nearly enough
Number of times I was able to show off my trashy new tattoo: once, but it was a total non sequitur

Number of awkward pauses after we got the what-do-you-do-where-do-you-live stuff out of the way: not nearly as many as I’d feared
Number of minutes I found myself standing alone with nobody to talk to the way I kind worried I might: maybe 1

Number of panic attacks and/or paranoid everyone-hates-me-just-like-back-in-high-school episodes I had: 0
Number of panic attacks and/or paranoid everyone-hates-me-just-like-back-in-high-school episodes I worried I might have: I was hoping for 0 but I wasn’t making any bets
Number of other people I saw who looked like they were having just such attacks and/or episodes: 6
Number of them I tried to talk to: 3
Number of those three who showed any interest or gratitude: 0

Number of people who out-and-out snubbed me: 1 (but I was just saying hi to him to see if he was still the asshole he’d been since fifth grade, and he’d grown to look like a basset hound anyway)
Number of people I intentionally snubbed: none, but I certainly didn’t go out of my way to say hi to any of the guys who were bullies to me in school

Number of people I wanted to talk to but actually ran out of time before our paths could cross: too many
Number of people I wanted to talk to more but we never got more than a few minutes together: too many

Number of weird high-school-drama-coming-back-to-life confrontations I witnessed: 2
Number of conversations reminiscing about high-school sexual encounters I was privy to: 2
Total number of my slutty classmates implicated in those two conversations: about 10

My rating of the reunion experience from 1 to 10 (10 being “it was awesome and I really enjoyed every minute of it, even though we were sweating like pigs and I didn’t get to chat with everyone I wanted to and none of my high-school crushes turned out gay”): 10

Approximate year the family farm was built in northeast Iowa: 1865
Number of generations who have farmed the land and lived in the charming old house there: 3
Number of years since a family member who lived in the house actually farmed the land: approximately 30 (family members still live there, but the farmland is rented out to other farmers now)

Frequency of family reunions on the farm today: about every other year

Average temperature in Iowa on Sunday for our reunion: How high can you count?
Average temperature under the shade trees where we all sat in a circle and ate watermelon and drank beer and pop (they say “pop” in northeast Iowa) and watched the kids play in the sprinkler: I don’t have a number, but with the breezes it was quite lovely

Average level of education and world travel and accomplishment in this branch of the family tree: How high can you count?
Average level of fear about covering topics like politics and religion among these people: none
Average level of enjoyment I get out of the lively conversations I always have with these relatives: How high can you count?

Average drive from my folks’ house to the farm: two-plus hours each way
Number of mammals in our van: five adults, two kids and one dog
Primary benefit of traveling with a dog in a crowded van: someone to blame farts on

Average height of the corn on the farm this weekend: I’m 6'1", so you do the math:

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