What are the odds of encountering one’s best friend from high school (who I’ve not seen in at least 10 and more like 12 years) in a Certified station/ Subway on the way home? Probably dismal, especially considering the only reasons I stopped there were a.) because I had to take a wicked crap, and b.) Jerry had wanted me to bring him a specific footlong from Subway, and I figured I’d combine errands.
I am really crappy at recognizing people, (even people I see all the time, I might remember the face but not place the name) and I am not at all surprised she had to call me out. Then again, I see people who I think I recognize all the time- who in reality either I don’t know them from Adam’s housecat and/or they don’t know me from Adam’s housecat either. So I make bloody sure I know who I’m talking with before I assume anything. Most people who knew me in high school would probably not recognize me now since I did away with the Big 80’s hair, but yesterday I was probably even less distinguishable since I was wearing the big black rimmed cat eye glasses (the ones in my avatar pic) and a hat.
When I did finally affirm to myself who she was, I swore I had seen a ghost. And I don’t believe in that stuff.
But people who know you still know you. Even when time has not been kind to either of us. There are incidents in my past that I would rather leave there, and revisiting old friends also means reopening old wounds. I’m not saying all my memories of back in the day were bad. Some were funny. Some were difficult. There was a lot of partying. I stopped binge drinking many, many years ago- 1993 to be more or less exact- so that sort of thing doesn’t really have any charm for me now. I’ve moved into a different sphere than most of my old friends. I doubt if we have much in common, but then again, I don’t have much in common with too many people.
I know that my friend has had problems with drinking and addiction on and off, as well as myriad health concerns, which makes keeping in touch even more difficult. She has been used and abused by men. She has spent most of her life painfully poor. I don’t say that as a value judgment, because I could have gone down those paths just as easily. The wear and tear just looks different.
I almost felt guilty. I’m not a wealthy woman by any stretch, but here I am with my late model car and smart phone, and she’s asking me if I know anyone with a cheap, crappy used car because she’s been without a car for six months. Her youngest son is in trouble and has been in and out of the joint for stealing her credit card and for other things. She’s living in a redneck trailer park. It could be worse, but it could be a lot better, too.
I can’t think this could be even remotely aesthetically pleasing. Bubba pissin’ out the trailer door at 3 AM…
What can I do to help? I wonder. Would it be condescending to offer what scant help I might think I can give, because I know she is the type to be fiercely independent?
At least we did exchange phone numbers, and maybe I’ll have the courage to call.
Maybe I’m afraid that in getting back in touch with old friends I would be tempted to go back to my old ways- hot boxing cigarettes and getting butt drunk- but I highly doubt it. Perhaps I just don’t like being reminded of my own mortality yet again, and I don’t like facing the reality that there is never really a way to get back home. The spheres are forever changed.
Why is it that some stupid dude getting nutted, especially in a stupid way, is ALWAYS funny?
There are a number of TV shows that seem to capitalize on traumatized testicles as entertainment. I can’t say I know why it’s funny, but it always is. Maybe it’s funnier to me because I don’t have nuts.
I think the biggest temptation for me when I meet up with old friends is to get embroiled in the details of their lives again and to make myself too available. It’s one thing to shoot the shit and hang out with someone from time to time, but quite another to become so caught up in trying to help someone else that I get caught off balance and get my priorities screwed up. When is it appropriate to be a friend and when does being a friend become being taken advantage of? Back in the day I provided everything from transportation to cigarettes to even clothes and money at times for my friends, (and they kept me from getting my ass kicked) but I’m not in a place where I can readily do that now.
I think my first endeavor at subversive cross stitch went rather well.
I just have to mount it in the frame.
Speaking of cats, we are probably soon going to be back at four cats. The cat rescue people managed to capture the three legged all white cat that has been living on the body shop lot. I thought it was a male, but it’s a female and she’s recovering from being spayed. Jerry calls her Tripod (not a terribly nice name) because she’s missing most of her right rear leg. That cat has been missing most of her leg since she was a very small kitten.
I have had a few all black cats. I’ve never had an all white cat. I’ve also never had a cat missing a leg.
It’s going to be interesting.
2 thoughts on “I Think I Saw a Ghost, Some Enchanting Suppositions (Not to Be Confused with Suppositories)”
I like the cat’s eye glasses; they’re cool.
I can identify with your ambivalent feelings regarding restarting your relationship with your old girlfriend. Hopefully her situation will help you appreciate your own.
I didn’t have many friends in high school, but I’m still in touch with a couple of them. I recently re-established a relationship via Facebook with a friend from junior high, and there have already been some issues with envy and resentment over how our lives turned out. It’s become awkward.
To me, though, how a person’s life turned out doesn’t have much to do with money or possessions. I mean, I think I have a darn good life, and I drive a car that’s sixteen years old. My house is tinier than the house of any of my friends (and I know from reading this blog that it’s smaller than your pad). My youngest son is severely autistic, and my older two have been diagnosed on the spectrum as well. I don’t make a ton of money. Depending on how you look at it, my life could be a great big pile of pool, but mostly, I feel like I’m on top of the world. It’s about perspective.
Maybe your old gf will help to put things into perspective for you.
You’re right about the object of life not being the pursuit of stuff. I have spent probably the past 15 years learning and re-learning that concept, and sometimes I need a reminder that some of the most miserable times of my life were mostly the times that I had the most money and the most stuff. Ironic how that works! And I do believe that things happen for a reason, and I do need to keep in touch with her and with some other people who are important to me.
Most people would feel sorry for you in that your kids are all on the autistic spectrum. While there are some things about autism that really suck, each person’s experience is different, and the difference between having good life and not so good life is how you take it. I won’t say that I’m sorry. I’m not sorry for the way I’m wired. I don’t know what it is to be any other way- but I will warn you that it can be a rough road. I had just the opposite parenting experience which is probably a bit less common. I’m on the spectrum and my kid is pretty much normal, save for having an above average IQ.
My parents did not know I was autistic. They saw my hyperlexia more as a party game than a disjointed way of learning language. They didn’t understand why my vocabulary was so extensive, and so different from the normal kids’. They didn’t know why I was terrified out of my mind and freaking out most of the time, or why I usually fell when I tried to run. They saw the individual deficits, but not how the package ties together. They didn’t know about it until after I learned about it- when I was 35. To this day most of my friends and pretty much all the people I do business with have absolutely no idea. I can blend into the world of normal pretty well, but the more time goes by, the more tiring and mentally, spiritually and physically draining it’s getting to be. That’s why these days for me it’s more important to be authentic (even when that looks weird) than to be good at putting on the show.
I don’t know how different I would have turned out had my parents known about HFA and hyperlexia, etc. when I was growing up. Because of my intellect and early reading skills, I was expected to achieve more, do more, be more, etc. than my “normal” sisters. Irony strikes again.
I was professionally successful and had done everything that had been expected of me and then some, but those things came at the cost of my physical, emotional and spiritual health. I’m still healing, but more importantly- slowly- I’m coming to a place of seeing things more and more through the eyes of gratitude. Kyrie elaison indeed. By the grace and mercy of God.
Had they known what was really going on with me, (and what seems to be happening with way too many young people on the spectrum today) I may have gotten a “get out of anything stressful” pass and ended up living in my parents’ basement wearing Hello Kitty jammies and playing video games all day. Since you know your kids are on the spectrum, hopefully you can help them navigate the wiring they’ve been given and that they can strike a balance between being productive and independent people, and having the rest and the serenity that they will need to stay sane. It takes patience, stability, reassurance and love. Since I didn’t get too much of any of the aforementioned, at least when I was growing up, I’ve had to learn it. Slowly. And some days are better than others.