Friday, October 20, 2006


The power went out about 7 o'clock this evening. The kids and I were finishing up dinner, watching a rented DVD, and it just went. The storm that is moving through the area includes a high wind warning, and I guess that wind knocked something out somewhere. We'd been busy inside, so I hadn't realized the wind had started to pick up.

S was quite upset, but I found the flashlight quickly, found some candles and we were able to get her settled. C read to her and M kept asking if he could light the candles with the matches. Uh, no! He's seven, and I'm not crazy -- despite appearances to the contrary. I also managed to find the camp lantern in the basement.

After about 20 minutes it became clear that this could be a prolonged outage, so we blew out the candles and brought the camp lantern upstairs. Everyone found pajamas and we climbed into Mommy and Daddy's bed for some reading.

Luckily, just after 8 o'clock, the power returned. C asked if we could look for the weather on the TV so we could know how long the wind might last. I said sure.

I turned on the TV and started flipping to different channels trying to find some weather.

Wait a sec, what was that?

I quickly try to backtrack and find it...could it be?




I went to grade school and high school with that guy.

It really is Bobby! Or, Bob, I think it was by the end of high school. He lived on the next street over from me. My friend shared a backyard fence with his family.

What's this he's on?


He's an ambulance chaser. It's an ad. One of those, "If you've been injured/taken this drug I can get you lots of money, here's my 800 number." Lovely.

I'll be honest and say that I am in touch with only one person from high school, and even that contact is spotty. I rather like it that way. After my father died, I figured someone with minor sleuthing skills could find me without much difficulty after my full current name and location were printed in the obituary. I was right - a girl who had once been a close friend emailed me and actually apologized for her behavior when that friendship ended (adolescent girls can be ruthless). In another twist, her partner in that ruthless behavior all those years ago has ties to this area, and that girl's parents now have a realty business about 40 miles from here.

Over the years, I've occasionally seen, heard of, or run into people in random places, always interesting since I live 3000 miles from where I grew up. I saw one guy from high school on a game show in the early 90s. I was unemployed at the time and watching game shows was the height of my days, aside from opening thanks-for-your-resume-we'll-let-you-know letters. Saw one kid in the St. Louis airport as we were getting on the same flight home for the holidays.

I saw this other kid on the subway platform in 1990 or so. I swear he looked exactly the same as he did when he was 13. He was the school genius and went off to the local college every afternoon for high level math classes. For one project in eighth grade he decided he was going to build a model rocket that would fly higher than a certain brand of model rocket. When asked how he was going to figure out which rocket went higher, he replied, "Simple trigonometry," and proceed to describe in detail the equations he'd use.

I decided to approach. I said who I was, that I went to school with him out west, and he was stunned. He started to ask about certain people, if I knew what had happened to them. As it turns out, I did know, because my one contact was part of that crowd. When I told what I knew (it wasn't pretty), he became angry with me and asked me why I was telling him this. Really. I resolved that if I ever saw anyone else from the west on the subway platform - or anywhere else for that matter, I would say and do nothing.

The sighting tonight on TV has me thinking about why I am so ambivalent about contact with people who knew me then. I kind of like knowing where certain people are - as much to avoid them at all costs as anything else - but don't really want those same people to know where I am. Am I the only one who feels like this? What is it about that part of my life that I still need to come to terms with? It was high school, for goodness sake, more than half my lifetime ago! And didn't we all have at least a little bit of insecurity about who were and who we would become?

How long will I be wrestling with my inner adolescent?

1 comment:

Ruthie said...

It can be so hard to reconcile our adolescent self with our current self. It is for me too. Sometimes it's painful to think about. How weird, still, that you live 3,000 miles away and still periodically run into people you used to go to school with! What a small world.