Monday, July 10, 2006

radius of the loop

so i wasn't exactly planning on being in las cruces this weekend. on saturday i got an email from my old church friend, maggie, telling me that she was in charge of cassie's bachelorette party and that i HAD to come. this really floored me, because while cassie was one of my best friends four years ago, i haven't heard from her in a while and i had no idea that she was even engaged, let alone getting married in a week. sure enough, when my dad came up to watch the ringo concert with me, he brought me an invitation to cassie and cory's wedding. who's cory? i hadn't even met this guy!

of course i made the trip, and thursday night i found myself at cassie's house for a racy girlie party, along with several of our old friends from church and a lot of cassie's aunts. okay, the aunts were freaky enough, since most of them are ladies i've known from church since i was a little kid and they were all getting tipsy and talking about "sex! hee hee hee hee hee hee!" and insisting that i call them by their first names. talk about weird flashbacks to childhood.

it didn't help that maggie had made us all t-shirts and had written "i'm the smart one" across the front of mine. so all the tipsy ladies kept saying, "COME ON, you're the SMART one! say something smart! you go to a tech school! IS THAT WHY YOU HAVE GLASSES?" no pressure or anything. i think i'd much rather have a shirt that says, "i'm the dumb one," so i can impress people instead of letting them down every time i ask a question.

then there were the friends. maggie, thankfully, is the same. it helps that i've kept up with her a bit. mo is engaged to another guy i don't know and is getting hitched in september. cassie had two days to go until her big day. sharon, cassie's little sister, is quite pregnant and apparently engaged also, which i wasn't prepared for at all since she and my sister are the same age. speaking of which, liz, maggie's little sister, is tall and gorgeous and dating ben, another little church kid that's even younger than her! all i could think about him was that he used to throw ice cubes at me at aggie games, little brat. but katrina took the out-of-touch gold medal. she is not only married with a kid, but actually had the kid in tow and was answering all the ladies' questions about how long he sleeps and if he smiles yet. yikes.

weird, weird, weird! i had no idea that 150 miles would put me so far out of the loop. and of course no one has really heard from me either, so everyone's favorite question was, "so holly, is there anyone special in your life?" (insert alcohol-induced eyelash flutter). i dodged that question like a question-dodgeball pro. lying ex-boyfriend/sneaky roommate romances are bitter and uncomfortable and are not meant for bridal parties.

on to the wedding. i went with my sister (thank god). we loved cassie's choice of dj and totally awesome dress (think beauty and the beast, only white), decided that we heartily approve of cory, and joked about flirting with the caterers. tracy was quite taken with the long-haired salad-server. the salad wasn't bad either, so there was absolutely no reason not to go back for seconds. we sat with liz and ben, and, well... were more or less ignored by everyone else. people i grew up with. it stung. trace and i were determined to have fun, however, so we danced with each other and each forced a dance on liz's little brother and made fun of the country songs... and we had fun.

but it wasn't a great feeling, being snubbed by my old buds. i get that enough from my old high school crowd, but i thought i was a lot tighter with the old church crowd. as the evening wore on trace and i were sending more and more longing looks over to the "crowd table," where liz and ben had eventually ended up, chatting with isaac, jordon, fuzz, joshie, grace, you know... everyone. now, cassie the bride and maggie the maid of honor are both off the hook here considering the circumstances, but i watched mo and lonnie and jos circle the crowd and mingle and walk right past. a lot. at one point, tracy and i wondered out loud exactly which of our shared qualities makes us so un-fun.

i thought ahead to mo's upcoming wedding. would i even be invited? would the church crowd get together and decide to take a picture of "the old youth group at mo's wedding" and forget about me? would i watch from the side or rush over to take a picture of my old friends with my own camera? it was seriously depressing. i thought again about how different they all were and how out-of-touch we had become.

and then i had a little revelation that really should have crossed my mind earlier. i was the one out of touch, not them. apparently the proverbial "loop" that people talk about doesn't reach all the way to socorro. when i went away for school i knew i would be lonely for a while and that i'd have to work hard to make new friends, but it never occurred to me that i'd lose the old ones. i didn't mind losing some school "friends", i'd counted on it in fact, but not my church friends. i never dreamed we'd be so distant.

about that time lonnie came and asked me to dance, which made me feel a lot better. i didn't even dodge his inevitable Question and gave him the reader's digest version of the sob story, and he yelled, "what an @$$hole!!!" i love when people do that. but soon after that we were cheering for a departing bride and groom and the night was over and tracy and i went home, finally giving our unpopularity the bemoaning it deserved.

i'm out of the loop. it just doesn't reach 150 miles. i've made good friends and bad friends here in socorro, and i'm glad i came, but apparently i've lost some friends, too. good ones. and really, it's my fault. i was the one who moved away to a tech school for college instead of going to NMSU like everybody else.

it's funny, the other girls at the bachelorette party had several things written on their shirts, most of them dealing with their position in the wedding or interesting relationship status. i had "i'm the smart one." and that's it. because that's what i am now. the smart girl who left.

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