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3:11 p.m. - December 27, 2007
Originally Posted 3/4/06 - Saving It For Posterity

NOTE: I originally posted this on 3/4/06, but spammers infected the comment page. With the upcoming announcement, I wanted to save this one.

Some people stay in your life forever.

Some people just drift through, for a day, a week, a month, a year.

Of course, I often times wonder about what they are up to now. Not in any stalking kind of way, but to salve my curiosity. Did they turn out like I thought they would? What paths in life did they take?

Elementary school is full of people like that – because your friends sometimes move away without there being a lot of pomp or circumstance. You haven’t finished anything together – you just were friends with them.

I wonder about Tina, the girl I married in third grade in a tent in my back yard. She was in second grade. Yeah, I liked ‘em young, then. And it was an official wedding, because my friend Todd said he was a priest. Did I kiss the bride? Maybe, but I don’t kiss and tell. (And I forgot, perhaps…)

Since she was my ‘first wife’, I wonder what she’s up to now. I didn’t even know where she moved, so I really have no frame of reference at all. So I wonder how her life become, and if she really was worthy of being the bride of Smed, even before we turned 10.

It’s easy to keep up with high school friends, relatively. They always have that reunion that comes around, and inevitably you’re sucked into some vortex of people, even if you are a reunion denier. You know what people are up to, others know what others are up to, and so on, and so on. If you get 10 people from your high school together, you may be able to piece together the doings of 2/3 of the class.

But there are others you encounter in high school. Like Anita, the girl I SHOULD have dated. Argh! Or Lora, the girl from Brownsburg who kept the scorebook for their basketball team (I kept our home scorebook). We dated a few times but her family wanted me to convert to their uber-religious proto-Baptist faith, even though Lora was a bit of a hellion waiting to break free. (And how!)

My speech team experience was full of girls who just sailed through my life, quickly and quietly. You see, I was not the Johnny Stud-muffin you see before you, heavens no. I was a bit, uh, more than a bit, rather GEEKY. (Didn’t the speech team give it away?) But the speech team were filled with people just like me – girls AND boys. Hooray for nerds!

Eva was a girl who went to Twin Lakes, and she lived in Monticello. She was sweet and nice with a great smile and an even better last name (it was long and German and I had a thing for unusual names even then). We talked at meets, wrote silly letters to each other, and all that nonsense. I think I set the PS record with her, going onto “P.P.P.P.S. – I hope to see you soon.”

I even, heaven forefend, CALLED her on the phone. I mean, it was long distance between Crawfordsville and Monticello.

One day, during a school break I actually drove up there to see her. It was OK, but with her parents and brother and sister around, there really wasn’t ANY alone time. And the only alone time we had, I basically ruined it because I disparaged some other speech team person, and that jealousy streak wasn’t becoming.

Error Smed.

Then there was Dawn, who was a super-intelligent and nice girl from McCutcheon, south of Lafayette. She graduated early to start Purdue, and I could tell she really liked me. And in retrospect, she was definitely well worthy of Smed-dating. She had a nice smile and all, glasses, and a funny personality, though a bit quiet at first.

Yet, I was more interested in Francine, her teammate, who had a neat-o last name. I chucked Dawn aside (well, not really, but I didn’t try anything with her) and tried for the elusive Francine. A couple of letters, and that was it. She wasn’t anyone’s teenage rock and roll queen.

So now I wonder about Dawn. Is she still around Lafayette? Did she use her early start at Purdue to get her PhD? Did she open a funky candle and incense store instead, like I thought she would anyway? Hmmmm…

In the workforce, there are a lot of people who drift in, and drift out, of your life. At my first job, there was the obsequious Debbie, the stuck up Angie, the hot yet vapid Lacey, the hot, yet nice, Nikki (who I asked out the day AFTER she was asked out for the first time by her future husband – I asked her out for the same day – and I NEVER asked her again), the hard working Jerry, the every-man Joe, the lazy Jim, the over-his-head Dave, and the Ray and Laura show, a secretly dating couple who later just moved in together.

My favorite at that first job was Kim, who was older, wiser, and the most sardonic person I’ve ever met. She had known it all, seen it all, and was willing to tell you all. She was a divorced single mother who basically experienced the 70’s first hand, the good, the bad and the ugly.

She later married someone my age – a 10-year age gap. The dude she married was kind of a wide-eyed stoner who was a nice enough guy, but responsibility eluded him. I think they got married because they did it on the pool table of a bar. That was true love, I suppose.

But I left that job, and moved out of this town. So that whole list above just vaporized for me, and sometimes I wonder how long they survived at that rat hole of a job.

My second job chewed people up and spit them out as well. I remember a woman named Candy who worked there for about six to eight months. She was funny to be around, and like me also had a knack for singing songs at any time based on any kind of cue. Then there was Julie, who was hired to be a creative person and wound up as the receptionist. She was Ms. Bitter – someone who wanted to break into advertising or radio but was stuck there. She hated me because I was happy. Sorry, chica. She later did become a radio DJ working nights at an unheard oldies station, then she vanished I guess.

Oh, speaking of nemeses – there was Linda. At my first job, Linda was our team’s assistant and she hated, hated, HATED my guts! Why? Because again, I was a smiling, happy, carefree guy (for the most part) who also maybe was borderline ADHD (mixed with OCD – heh!). And also because I was a man, I guess. She had that single mother man-hating vibe going, but I think that was because she was dateless. But she never smiled, so HOW could she snag someone? Ah, well.

One time Kim, Linda and I were walking out the door at lunch, and I started to sing a little tune. (It was an oldie; I remember that – something poppy, maybe from the Turtles or the Rascals or Lovin’ Spoonful)

Linda turned her head and snarled, “Stop singing!” Kim looked horrified. I looked, well, like someone just shot my cat.

Linda later turned up at another company I worked for, much to my chagrin. Again, she hated me, but worked in a different department so I had little contact with her. But just seeing her gave me the screaming willies.

But I wonder what she’s doing now? Has she improved her disposition, at all? What about Candy and Julie? Where did they wind up?

You wonder if any of them remember me. I try to be unforgettable, but still, I may have dripped into someone’s super-mega-sub conscious by now.

The sweet mysteries of life, I suppose, are unrevealed to almost all.

 

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