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Davis, California

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Tips and tricks for bumping into someone from high school

We’re talking about some scary stuff

Ay, can we get Stephen King on the line? I have a feeling this concept could really inspire his next film. 

You’re walking through CVS to pick up your prescription. Bam. You see Jake Longstein from high school. Let me give you the summary. He’s living on a houseboat with a couple of buddies and is trying to get sponsored by Red Bull (says he’s shot them a few emails from beersandbabes4dayz@gmail.com). Oh, and he wants you to know that he’s gotten really into astronomy—from a 10-minute segment on the Joe Rogan podcast where they discussed alien sightings. If that doesn’t send shivers down your spine like the Grady twins do, I don’t know what will.

Now that you’ve met Jake, let me introduce Laura, who you bumped into downtown. You and Laura played soccer together and had one weak inside joke that was carried out for way too long. But don’t you worry, Laura will carry this conversation. She wants you to know that she really “found herself” at college. She had three boyfriends throughout the school year and already has their accounts pulled up on Instagram for your viewing pleasure. They all look like they live in regularly-power-washed colonial homes with fathers in finance. She’s also going to exhaustively tell you the story of one specific night she had at college.

Chills, right? I’m covering my ears and looking away too. 

Finally, I want you to meet Maia. Your mom loves her and you took P.E. together, but unfortunately, you have nothing in common. There she is, looming at the end of Safeway’s aisle four. Between the two of you lies Lay’s new chip flavor and utter awkwardness. Considering that we all might bump into our version of Maia this summer, let me give you some tips.

I’ve developed the Kate Conversation Code (still working on trademarking it—don’t tell, but I might contact Jake for some advice on getting sponsored). My technique consists of three stages of conversation. Stage 1 is nostalgia, stage 2 is current events and stage 3 is getting personal. As you approach this high school friend, you must prepare a discussion topic that falls into the stage 1 category. If you find yourself really hitting it off, you may advance to stage 2. Once it begins to get awkward, as it most certainly will, you must activate stage 3. Come out of left field with the most personal question, but be sure to storm away before they can answer.

Allow me to demonstrate. As you approach Maia, you remember Mr. Hopson, your tenured history teacher from sophomore year. 

“Do you remember Mr. Hopson, I swear that guy had dementia.” This will last you two minutes maximum. Onto stage 2. Politics? Too soon. Celebrity drama? That’s the money move. 

“This is so random, but did you see that John Mulaney just left his wife and is now dating Olivia Munn?” Blank stares. Oh, crap. Think fast. 

“Do you still not get along with your mom?” Stage 3 has been initiated, I repeat stage 3 has been initiated. RUN!

Written by: Kate Harges — klharges@ucdavis.edu 

Disclaimer: (This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)


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