Thursday, July 23, 2009

You Never Know Just How You Look Through Other People's Eyes

The religious people in Moi's life frequently tell me, "God is always listening." And the New Agey, whee-oo, spiritshul folk likewise assure me on a regular basis that, "Everything's connected." Then there are the Leviathan-esque skeptics who roll their eyes at me and assert: "Life is nothing more than random coincidence."

I haven't fully worked it out for myself yet, but on occasion, I do get these little tweaks from the universe to remind me that, nope, I really don't hold much faith in the third option. Take this long-lost friend of mine from junior high. I don't know if it works the same way today, but when I went to junior high in the late 1970s, social status was stratified into what we referred to at the time as "cliques."

This long-lost friend occupied the top clique of coolness in my school. Think: Jodi Foster in Foxes cool. She was tall, she was beautiful, she had perfectly feathered hair and a complexion unblemished by anything other than a smattering of freckles on the bridge of her nose. Her Dittos fit like a glove, and her Candies were never scuffed. She smoked cigarettes with the elan of a grown up and taught me to drink whiskey without barfing it back up.

I felt like I'd been granted one of the greatest gifts in the world, to hang out with her and her buddies. Okay, so one of her posse and I hated each other with a white hot passion (it was a boy thing), but my pal, she never judged, never took sides, and somehow managed to remain friends with both of us. She was just that cool. She was smart, too, graduating at the top of our class, and her cultural instincts were always spot on. While everyone else in our graduating class was petitioning for the ubiquitous "Free Bird" as class song, she whipped up a campaign to override the vote with David Bowie's "Changes." We stayed friends until our first year of college when we slowly drifted out of touch.

I've thought about her a few times on and off over the years, but for some reason last week, she popped into my head more strongly than usual, occupying front and center that spot in my cerebral cortex or wherever the heck fire it is that my brain stores its memories, bringing with it a flood of crystal clear reminisces of our six-year-long series of adventures. Several days later? She found me on Facebook and sent me the loveliest email about how she thinks of me on a regular basis and how our time together in school are some of her fondest memories.

And if you don't think I didn't immediately pull out the tattered and battered year book from out of the filing cabinet and have a good gully washing cry over all those fabulous memories, well, you'd be wrong.

Any of you hook up with someone long-lost recently?


Boxer said...

First, what a great story and I'm so happy you reconnected not only with an old friend, but with some old memories.

And yes. I lost a good friend through a divorce and last January found her name in my MIL's address book just after she died. I found her through Linkedin and sent her an email about our loss (she was a big fan and part of my MIL's life.) She came out from ATL for the funeral and was waiting in the Church when I arrived. WHATEVER had been said, or not said for the past 10 years was gone in an instant. We've stayed connected through Facebook and in October she's coming out to visit.

I think you have to add a fourth option: "The Internet shall provide".

(Great writing, btw.)

Pam said...

OMG yes. Check my current post! And everyone was dissing Facebook just recently too!

czar said...

Have done it more than a few times. Almost always rewarding. I don't do Facebook and have mostly tracked people down via some Internet sleuthing. What has occurred to me just now is that I don't think anyone has ever bothered to track me down, leading me to believe that I'm either an Internet stalker or incredibly lonely and bored, or maybe I was every bit as boring as I thought I was all those years. . . .

fishy said...

Just what I needed today, a great success story!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

An old school mate of mine found me on FriendsReunited a couple of months ago, but a couple of messages exchanged later, seems to have decided to disappear into the ether again!

Oh well. He only used to pull my skirt up at school anyway, so I shan't cry into my pillow too much!

Gnomeself Be True said...

What, no pictures of the cool foxy chick? ;-)

I've had two women over the years contact me to let me know how much they regretted that we'd not stayed together because they were now sure I was "the one that got away."
Of course, both of them dumped me all those years ago, so it was more like "thrown away" rather than "got away."
I'm 10 times the guy in their memory than I ever was in reality.

EmmaK said...

I tend to have very intense friendships that burn out or explode so I don't tend to stay in touch for years. I much prefer to remember people as they were when i knew them rather than as they are now.

moi said...

Boxer: It's difficult to remember Life Before the Internet, isn't it?

Pam: Facebook is nothing compared to Twitter. Shudder.

Czar: I suppose there's a line between stalking and just curious, but hell, that's no fun.

Fishy: I like revisiting memory lane. And making fun of my outfits :o)

Poet: Well, the downside to all this reconnecting is the effort it will take to keep these new friendships up. There comes a point when one must "winnow."

Gnome: Absence does tend to make the heart grow fonder, doesn't it? But I don't believe in looking back in either anger or wistfulness. Then you miss what you got RIGHT NOW.

Emma: I've found that few people change all that much. Except I did notice at my high school reunion that the women seemed to have fared much better than the men.

LaDivaCucina said...

Loved your story Moi!

Have had two episodes lately: good and bad.

Bad first: A dear old friend started a secret group site on FB for all of us from the Chicago in the '80's to share photos and memories of good times past. One "friend" blocked me and another won't allow me to see what she posted! I feel like I'm in high school again! So much for letting bygones be bygones!

The good: A long lost cousin found me on Facebook and after many intense chats we found out that PMS, gaining weight around the tummy and food obsession runs in the family! I'm reuniting with her and the rest of them soon in Detroit! Last time I saw her she was three. yay!

You can't hide on the Internets!!!

Heff said...

Currently, I feel I'll be re-establishing a relationship with my virginity.

TROLL Y2K said...

I'm not getting the "leviathan-esque" reference. Leviathan, symbolically, was a sea-monster representing chaos in the OT. Also used to refer to crocodiles.

As for Hot-Chick-Blast-From-The-Past, I'm not sure.

If she's still hot, and unmarried, and likes trolls, it was probably divine intervention.

moi said...

Heff: Or a LOT MORE guitar playing.

Troll: The Leviathan is a work by Thomas Hobbes which takes a very pessimistic view of human nature. Because, as he posits, life is nasty, brutish, and short, we the people need not freedom, but a strong arm guberment to keep order.

Solitary Nasty Brutish Troll said...

Doh! Now, I get it! Heck, I "studied" Hobbes in some required bullshit course.

moi said...

La Diva!: Sorry, I missed you back there. Yes, it has often been said that Internet social sites are an awful lot like high school. But it is lovely, isn't it, when we find a kindred spirit? I have a cousin from who I think I was separated at birth and it's nice to know I'm not the only wackadoodle out there :o).

Doris Rose said...

That was very nice, thanks. I have have, for many years wished to connect with my very "first" friend from grammar school, then bam-last year she drove through New Mexico.She called, we got together and it was like five months, instead of 50 years had passed. Bliss.