You know, I wasn't expecting to go back any time soon. The last time, I called it my "farewell tour" of Oklahoma. There was a lot of very dramatic memory-packing going on. I was saying my goodbyes to a whole section of my past. It actually made for some good posts, if you're interested. So going back this time was...well, odd for me. I felt like a stranger there, again. I didn't even set foot on the college campus until late Friday night, after having driven past it for two days.
It was a weird weekend. Lots of beginnings. Meeting new friends. Watching a new marriage begin. Staying in a new house. Lots of newness. But there were lots of really unexpected memories. The fated stretch of highway that changed all my plans. Friends living in a house where enemies once lived. Meeting a long-lost friend somewhere for lunch, only to find that I'd been there before, with a mutual friend of ours. It was a constant clash of "now" and "then." It actually made me laugh. It still does. Somehow, I guess I wasn't done with all those memories. (Please forgive the intentional vagueries. No use waking up old ghosts.)
I enjoyed meeting (and re-meeting) so many people in person that I had only known online. You know who you are. Good to see old friends who I haven't seen in years. You also know who you are. I suppose it would only be fair to name-drop. But I won't. I'm peevish like that.
Friday night's bachelor activities took place at Makers, a cigar lounge in OKC. The St. Pat's revelries were going on down below, but we stayed in the upper room, breathing in the smoke. I hung back, chair against the wall. I felt disconnected from the proceedings--not in a bad way. I just felt like I should be observing. Documenting in my mind. But not to be written. I can't even remember most of what was said. (Unfortunately, I can remember some.) But I remember feeling very... I don't know. I had the impulse to leave and find women. I joked about that with a few of the guys. But I wanted to.
There was a girl that one of the guys (whose name now escapes me) was flirting with across the room, to the chagrin of her boyfriend seated next to her. There were comments made amongst the members of our party about "making me get into a fight for you tonight." However, nothing came of it. The guy walked over to the girl when her boyfriend was in the bathroom, and the girl ended up saying something to embarrass the guy, who returned to our tables, scowling. That amused me. It also reinforced a deeply-held prejudice in my mind. But I won't tell you what that is.
I had to walk outside at one point. The smoke was getting to be too much for me. My eyes were burning. I went downstairs and out to the sidewalk. I stood at the railing and watched the water of the canal rippling. The water was filthy. Kinda gross. Finally, I realized that standing at the waterfront with a pensive and somewhat lovelorn expression was just a bit too obvious. So I returned. Soon after, the lights were turned on in the establishment, and everyone ambled out to the parking lots. Being the one of only two sober people, I got to drive home. Or rather, to IHOP. Then "home."
The day of the wedding brought much needed rains onto the Sooner state. It rained all day. I transported presents in the rain. I transported musical equipment. I helped one lovely woman pack some of the couple's luggage, in the light rain. The rains came down, the mud came up. My shoes and the cuffs of my tuxedo pants were muddy, by evening's end. By the way, those holes on the sides of Converse Chuck Taylor shoes? Make the whole "keeping the feet dry" process impossible.
The wedding was nice. The waiting before the wedding is the same for every wedding, I find. The atmosphere in the "locker room" before a big game, as it were. Same for every group. I think that's cool.
I've told the story too often by now. But, in brief: I got to meet someone this weekend whom the bride has wanted me to "meet" for more than a year now. We seemed to hit it off. I enjoyed her company. Hopefully, we'll get to talk again sometime.
I don't know what else to say, really. I ate lunch at the Hamburger King one time. That's the one place that hasn't changed since I left.
Other thoughts, in bullet form:
- Jess' brother sounds like Jared Hess.
- Justin is not a 16 year old.
- Our waitress at the IHOP at 3 in the morning was named Flower. She had to have been a teenager. She did a good job.
- I saw the lovely Kara. I missed her. I miss her again.
- It was nice seeing Mike and Cara Bailey.
- It was awesome hanging out with "hot" Garrett.
- I made a point to not go to the Rainbow, because I was afraid that my best memories of it would wither and die.