One (Slightly) Awkward Reunion

Oh god, ouch. You guyyys! I have to tell you about my college reunion! The other weekend I was down in Baltimore celebrating 5 years since graduation and now, approximately 216 hours later (but who’s counting?) (yes, I used a calculator) my hangover seems officially, finally gone. College is over, folks, and as I draw rapidly closer to legal subscription to AARP: The Magazine it has become all too apparent that I can no longer hang. Not that I ever could hang all that much, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves. Maybe some of us were never meant to hang, maybe we were built to stay in, eat oreos and debate the pros & cons of various American Girl Dolls (Samantha = snobby, but gorgeous hair & pinnafores, Molly = spunky & spirited but who wants glasses?) before tucking in for a decent 10 PM bedtime. The reunion bled into a crazybusy work week - Book Expo America, the largest annual publishing conference in the Western Hemisphere (toootally made that up) was in NYC all last week. I won’t bore you with the details but to give you a sense of what we were dealing with, I’ll quote 2011 presenter and one of my good personal friends Mindy Kaling: “There’s more tote bags here than in Terry Gross’s attic...It actually looks like a high-school reunion where all the jocks died in a plane crash on the way to regionals, and the plane crash killed all the minorities too."

So yeah, that was exhausting. And just to prove how very little I have changed since leaving college, the only industry #swag I took home from the conference was a stack of flyers from the American Girl Corporation teasing the release of their newest historical doll, Caroline. They have yet to reveal any deets but girl needs to work if she wants to be anywhere close to Felicity or Kirsten (pronounced Keer-sten!) level amazingness.

I need so much help.

Anyway! The reunion! I don’t know how to say this without bragging so I’m just going to come out with it: I am extremely popular. So SO many of my former classmates revealed themselves as fans of my esteemed writing, I am a major internet celebrity. We’re talking like, Charlie Bit My Finger...that kid who questions life after getting gassed by the dentist...One Awkward Year. That’s it. That’s all you need to know about the internet and the world. Done and done.

I am only slightly exaggerating! People really did approach me from all angles --ALL ANGLES! -- and confess to reading the blog, despite having limited contact since college and I obviously loved every goddamn second of it. Everyone kept saying “oh! I’m sure this reunion will make for an awkward blog!” (so demanding, my fans are) and it did, kind of, but not in the ways I thought it would. There were some run-ins with old foes, I guess, and some small talk and a lot lot LOT of that thing where you see someone and don’t know if you should like, hug them or air-kiss or high five or whatever so you kind of just like, half wrap your arm around one side of their body and pat them on the upper back while trying not to spill the giant gin & tonic you’re holding in your other hand, but for the most part, the awkwardness came not from catching up with long-lost acquaintances but from trying to suppress just how much I’ve been keeping tabs on said acquaintances in the past five years.

I know a billion words have been written on The Facebook and its role in the socializing of the youth or whatever, I don’t really read much not about celebrities and/or food, and as a member of the social media generation, I have no idea what reunions were like before the interwebz took over our lives. All I know is that I walked into a room of people I hadn’t seen in half a decade and I knew every. single. thing. they’d allll been up to. Everything! I knew who got married, who got fat, who got thin, who came out, and who questionably still wasn’t out but like, come on, dude, really? I knew it ALL!

Every conversation was a struggle for me not to reveal how truly creepy I am. “I like your hair that length!” was totally a cover for:  “I like your hair that length! So glad you got rid of the bangs. Remember how badly the reacted in the humidity when you took that trip to Puerto Rico for your parents’ 30th wedding anniversary? The one you went to right before your sister had her baby! He is so cute, by the way! I love the name Jack too, though it’s getting a little trendy, but at least it’s not Aiden, am I right? How’s your boyfriend? How many tattoos does he have, like 12? Is he enjoying his new job, at the courthouse? How do I know what he does for a living? Oh, because I’m a terrifying stalker, bye!”

It was so hard to play it cool! But I’m so clearly not the only one. So many people admitted to the same behavior. But instead of feeling solidarity with them, I mostly denied my true nature. Sometimes, especially after someone would out themselves as a fan of the blog, I would pretend to have no idea what they were up to so as to appear cool and aloof and above it all which: haha nope! Sorry, just kidding, I know everything and thanks for reading!

I actually only had one particularly awkward moment related to this cultural phenomenon, in the ladies room during the Dinner Dance/Late Night portion of the evening (there was a martini bar involved, god I love you, LoCo) when I asked a mild acquaintance about her little girl and she asked “How did you know I had a daughter?” and I replied “Ummmm, read it on the internet.” And then her friend, possibly even best friend, a girl who perennially wears magenta bandage dresses and has Barbie bangs announced to the entire room (bathroom!) that her friend’s baby was unplanned and reminded us all to take our birth control. Calling out your bestie on her illegitimate child in the middle of the college reunion? Ouch, way harsh, Tai.

  But that was it! I Went To My Five Year Reunion And All I Got Was This Lousy Story About Facebook Stalking and Bathroom Conversations. I truly, truly wish that I could have had better stories for you, especially those fellow graduates who revealed themselves as fans...and fellow creeps. Would that I could have fallen on the dance floor (again!) or accidentally made out with a former professor or pooped my dress or just, something, anything at all. Alas, I kept it classy.

I suppose there is always the Ten Year! See you there, friends. I promise to cause a scene!


And now, because I am vain and I read somewhere that people like blogs with pictures, here are some choice photos from the weekend. I’m so demure!

We have to go back, Kate! We have to go back!

One Awkward Lunch Break: Stalking Paul Rudd!

Have you ever been out on the street, just walking, a bit pigeon-toed, schlubby in your worn hoodie and leather coat, idly scrolling through your blackberry, enjoying the surprising warmth of the sun on a chilly January day, when suddenly you begin to sense that someone is following you, frantically, at a very close range? Not too close to be fully detected but still very clearly there? If so, you might be Paul Rudd.


Two fun facts:

1. I have no game (especially when it comes to celebrities, remember this? Yikes.)

2. I loves me some PAUL RUDD. And errrrybody knows it.

This afternoon, just moments ago, I was sitting at my desk working hard as I always do because I am a powerful Book Publicist, when a few colleagues popped into my doorway.

"Liz. Paul Rudd. At Pret. Right next to the garbage can."

I flung my computer mouse into the air (literally), threw on my coat and ran, RAN for the elevators. This Pret of which they speak is Pret A Manger which is a popular takeout restaurant. The name means Sandwiches For The Stars in Francais, so it's really very little surprise that The Ruddster had chosen there for his Tuesday lunch.

I entered the crowded restaurant and there he was, as promised, alone next to the trash cans. I wavered in the doorway, considering my next move. Say hello? Not while he was eating. Stand and stare, awkwardly? Already doing that. Accidentally trip and pour soup all over him? Solid plan, but the soup line was far too long.

I decided the best option was to buy a pre-made sandwich from the cases near to the door. I was not hungry, but the activity would allow me to buy some time to think while Ruddmasta finished his lunch.

And then, as I stood there, ham sammie in hand, the Love Of My Life walked out of the door - and my life - forever.

"How fleeting life is!" I thought to myself. "How swiftly these beautiful moments pass us by. If only I could look upon that shining face for just one moment more!" I threw caution to the wind, tossed my sandwich back on the shelf and raced out the door behind him.

He was a few paces ahead of me, but my legs are longer, my passion more powerful so I quickly fell into step a few paces behind him. We walked one block, we walked two, we walked a third. What a tableau! The charming, every-man actor walking down Hudson Street, enjoying the day while a gangly, frizzy stalker crept up from behind. So beautiful! So inspiring!

So, so, SO weird.

At this point  I'd tailed the Ruddski for four blocks, literally, like an amateur spy (I was even wearing a trench coat!!). We'd walked past my office and any other place I may need to be. We were reaching the point of no return. As we approached a natural stopping point, a red light, I weighed my options.  I still held a burning desire just to say "hi!" but from where I stood, three feet behind him, the task seemed impossible.

  1. I could race ahead, and cut him off at the pass.
  2. I could speed up and bust out my patented Accidental-Bump-And-Apologize move (you ain't the only man for that, Ron Livingston.)
  3. I could yell out, "Hi Paul! Paul, Hi!"
  4. I could reach out and tap him on the shoulder, grab his arm...pinch his butt!
  5. Or I could turn around and head back to whence I came.

I chose the final option. Chicken, perhaps, but what did I lose, in the end? What was my ultimate goal in this stalking expedition (in everything, really) besides a good story? There is, of course, the very likely chance that he would have invited me back to his loft apartment, made me a grilled cheese sandwich and made tender, passionate love upon me but he is married and I don't roll like that. And there is the equally likely chance he'd immediately notice my sparkling wit and talent and invite me to star in his next film but if we're all being honest here, and I do think this is a space for honesty, the life of a celebrity seems all too invasive for me. I don't need freaks chasing me around the West Village on their lunch breaks.

So yeah, I'd say it was a success. Who have you stalked today?!