I found a picture of you, oh-oooo-oh, those were the happiest days of my liiiife

by Kate

I love social media.   First it was Friendster (remember Friendster?) and then MySpace (eww) and now I’ve moved on to Facebook.  I know that there are some privacy rights issues, and I have never played Farmville or anything, but I love how Facebook reconnects people.  Instead of wondering what the hell so-and-so is up to these days, I can type in their name, send a friend request or message, and find out.

picture taken by Joey Shevelson

So take the picture above, which was snapped at my 10 year high school reunion.  The girl in the blue dress is me.  I’m dancing with Kersten W., and off to the right by himself is Austin L., who was my date that night.

I met Kersten in fifth grade.  And I hated her.  She was cool.  I was not cool.  She was blond and perfect and wore the right clothes and was popular and pretty… and I was dorky Kate from the sticks, who didn’t make any friends for the first three months I lived in Carmel.  All through middle and high school, if you’d asked me to name the girls in my class I liked least, Kersten’s name would be mentioned.

Sorry, Kersten.

Years later, she and I both commented on something a mutual friend said, and I realized… Kersten’s kind of awesome.  And then we chatted one night and I figured out that this person I’d decided years ago was never going to be my friend was actually smart, hilarious, and very genuine.  But I never knew, and I wouldn’t have ever known if it weren’t for Facebook.

Austin Lovell, the fetching lad to the right, is someone I met at 12 and crushed on for years.  We never went to the same school or had much contact, but whenever I ran into him, I had trouble not drooling.  He was/is that cute, and three years older, and… deliciously unattainable.  Kryptonite to an adolescent girl.  He, of course, barely knew I existed.  Until I found him on MySpace in 2008, that is.  And we became friends, talked on the phone sometimes, made vague plans to hang out if we were ever in town at the same time.  We also joked about coming up with some weird back-story and having him be my date to my reunion, but then we fell out of touch for awhile.

I was very, very poor last fall and didn’t think I was even going to get to go to my reunion, but my mom called me three days beforehand and said she’d bought me a last-minute ticket into Monterey, and that I’d land a few hours before the party began.  So I called Austin and asked him if he would still accompany me, and he was coincidentally going to be in town that weekend anyway, so he said yes, and…

God, we had so much fun.  We hadn’t seen each other in 13 years, but he somehow made me feel incredibly at-ease. He was the perfect date for my purposes, since what I really wanted was to show up with the hottest guy I knew and look fabulous and make an ass of myself.  We bought a bottle of Malibu Rum at Safeway and smuggled it into the party.  It was gone by the end of the night.  We made snarky comments about the other partiers, made out in front a table of “popular” girls (he just shoved his tongue in my mouth at the perfect time, and I did not object,) danced and chatted and ate the airplane-quality food we were served, and he helped my drunk ass back to the car when it was time to go home.  And he came home with me, and left the next morning, and… uh.  Yeah.  I basically high-fived my 12-year-old self after he left.  Because I totally hit that.

There are many other people I could give “Hey, I found you again on Facebook!” shout-outs to, but here’s justa few: Richard, who is the second boy I ever kissed and who rebuilt my computer last fall; Drew, who I hadn’t seen since I was 15 and visitied in Denver in May, which was awesome;  Todd, who I kinda-dated in 1999 and who I hung out with yesterday and am seeing again tomorrow; Sarah Adams (and the rest of the Adams family) who I’ve known since I was four; and a bunch of old friends and family members who I can easily check up on and keep in touch with.

I am glad to live in the age of social media, even with all its flaws.  It’s made moving back here a lot easier, scored me a trip to Colorado, and gotten me laid.  All you naysayers can go naysay to someone else, I’m gonna go have coffee with an old friend who I haven’t seen since Clinton was president.

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