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there’s a thing that happens when you drive into boulder from the airport. you see the mountains from afar, they seem almost impossibly distant, and as you approach they dip behind hillsides in preparation for a dramatic reentry. whoever built highway 36 knew that they were creating an emotional catharsis for those who would come to boulder, making us descend into the stripmall wasteland of louisville before scaling that last hill. for as you climb, the mountains steadliy rise up out of the road in front of you, stately, imposing, dwarfing the feeble city of boulder sprawled out beneath it.

full resolution here

it’s the first time i’d seen it while the city was green in four years, and i had an unexpectedly emotional response. i wanted more than anything to have a boyfriend in the passenger seat, or someone to show this to, anyone, someone who’d never seen it before. i maybe finally appreciated the beauty i was lucky enough to have grown up around, but became immune to over the years.

friday afternoon i was a guest speaker for the diversity class at my old high school. it's so weird to look at high school kids. they seem older now than they used to. savvier. maybe it's just the high school kids in boulder, but i was amazed by how many of these kids seem so put together and comfortable in their skins. i certainly wasn't at that age.

as i walked through the hall i saw signs posted all over a bulletin board advertising a 'gay-straight alliance' meeting on monday. it was such an anachronism, something so welcoming pinned up in the hallway of a place i had once quite brilliantly repressed myself.

i spoke to the class about being an asian actor in new york city. made no mention of being gay, which thinking back i really should have. after class a chinese kid came up to me and said that he never thought acting might be a possibility for him, but that hearing me speak made him want to give it a shot. it was a very cool moment.

friday night consisted of several phone calls with old friends to ensure that none of us would arrive early, alone, in the awkward position of having to talk to people we never really liked. or maybe we all knew that it would just be absolutely too strange to experience alone.

first feeling: dread. there were probably 150 people there. nearly all of them piper perabo’s and josh charles’ – vaguely familiar faces, faces that you know you know and know you should know and brush off by telling yourself that they must have been in a movie with ben affleck five years ago. faces you might see on the street, make brief eye contact, and then two hours later say 'ohh..! that was such and such girl from geometry class. i hated her.'

oh god, there’s that other girl that we hated. with the same haircut with the bangs. and a baby.

there’s the homecoming king, who i had a huge crush on. still hot. and married. fucker.

there’s that guy who was popular and hot and now he’s looking really old and drinking too much and hitting on every girl who walks by. sad.

once in the mix of it, the crowd quickly separated into its various groups – the jocks, the theatre fags, the band fags, the choir fags. so many fag varieties! (few actual homos though, unfortunately) how could we help but separate back into our old groups? these people were our refuge ten years ago, why shouldn’t they be now? and the joy of seeing someone who was your best friend for maybe two months, or who was your co-conspirator in french class, or who you were in a play with and had a great time with but didn’t fully connect with - it was exciting to see them again, to see how good they look or don't look and to say over and over again 'what are you up to?' and to say again and again what you're up to. i must have asked and answered the question ninety times.

oh and alcohol. precious gin and tonic, you never left my hand.

at a certain point, the party had been played out. once a girl was on the floor for drinking too much, or low blood sugar or whatever, my friend sunny and i looked at each other and knew it was time to go.

to not see an entire group of people for ten years and then to throw them back together causes two things to happen – you feel in the same breath that nothing has changed, and that everything has altered.

while the party had been played out, none of us felt quite done with the evening. we were loud, raucous, time had not passed. we were right back where we had left off. where to go with a carful of drunk and rowdy high school friends in the middle of the night? taco bell.

we pulled into the parking lot, where a car of children, my god, they were children, pulled in, also clearly post-party. i was excited.

me: maybe they have some pot! hey! do you have any pot!?

the kids just kind of stared from in their car.

me: ten years, bitches! ten years and you’ll be over here yelling at kids in a parking lot!

steve: you kids are gonna be old before you know it!

jumin: yeaahh!

sunny: woo!

steve: woo!

david: woo!

one of the kids rolled down the window.

little pause.

kid: mr pilger?

and we were dumbstruck. stunned silence, frozen in mid-woo. steve is their middle school teacher. steve is mr. pilger.

steve: um. hey brian. uh. how you guys doing.

kid: ...good..


me: oh my god we are old. we are so old.

after the shock wore off we had a great laugh about it. saturday night's events and pictures to come..

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  • 5: the man of genius

  • 4: blunders & absurdities

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  • 2: what lies below

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