Ghosts From The Past

Months ago, I joined one of the more “business” oriented social networks at the invitation of a fellow blogger. While I was at the site it occurred to me that it might be a good way to reconnect with some of those long lost friends I’d been unable to find on Facebook. The details are kind of fuzzy now, but I think I used their search feature without finding anyone. I haven’t been back since.

Well one of my old co-workers contacted me the other night from that network. Apparently he never got my search query and had found my name mixed in with a list of other co-workers of his that had been layed off from his current employer – a company I’ve never worked for! Just lucky I guess. Anyway, we’ve exchanged a couple of emails since and he’s even read a bit of this blog. Cool right?

When I responded to his initial contact I also ran across the name of an old roommate of mine from my college days, so I sent a message to see if it was the same guy. As it turns out, it was! He responded with a long message saying how he’d tried to find me and filled me in a little on what’s been going on in his life as well. Damn, I found 2 long lost best buddies within a 24 hour period! What can be better than that?

Well this is me after all, and I do have that “special talent” for finding the dark spot on even the shiniest silver lining. The fact is that both of these guys have lived normal, healthy, reasonably happy lives during the intervening years since we last connected, while my life has been one long continuous fucking train wreck! And as enticing as the fantasy of reviving old friendships might be, I have to ask myself if it’s right to drag these guys into the mess my life has become and if I really want to show anyone who’s respect I once had just how poorly I’ve lived up to whatever promise they once saw in me.

What’s worse is the fact that my old roommate, who’s probably the closest friend I’ve ever had, actually did see the strain I was under and tried to get me to move to Brazil (where he still lives) with him back in the early ’80s so I could get out from under it. I don’t know how many of you have read my Opening Rant post, but this friend was right there with me from when I first started college until not long after my third child was born – just as the pressure was really starting to get to me. As much as I wanted to go, I refused his offer and have regretted it ever since. I know that he’s not the “I told you so” kind of guy, but he just might be the “If only I’d tried harder” kind! I’m just not sure I’d know how to deal with that if he is.

I was mulling over all this today while watching the latest NCIS episode, “Recruited”, on my DVR. As is my way, I managed to find some “parable-like” reflections of my own situation in the story. It was about a murdered Navy recruiter who happened to be gay and was trying to help a possible recruit with long standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” issues. Bob Newhart (another “old friend”) guest starred as an Ex-NCIS Medical Examiner suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and looking to recapture his memories. I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the things I wish had never happened, and how often I’ve wished for something that could just make all those memories go away. Of course, hiding the truth from both myself and others, and then resorting to “mind-altering substances” when that didn’t work, is why I’m where I am today.

Anyway, the NCIS episode ended with the crew showing Bob Newhart’s character a video montage of all the work he’d done there, including all the people he’d helped. The following song was also playing during those closing scenes. While I’m not much for all the religion in the lyrics, I do love the sound and the imagery is awesome!

I have no idea of where this reviving old friendships thing will lead, but I truly never expected to be so distressed about it… πŸ˜•

I want ice water.

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34 thoughts on “Ghosts From The Past

  1. Although you have 2nd thoughts about this it’s still fun to talk to old buddies which one loses touch with, have a couple as well that I just got in touch with and while I probably won’t meet up with them (they have changed and while I’m still single, they got wife, kids, mortage, etc and living in a different world than I am), it’s fun to just chat away and just be kids again…

    “I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the things I wish had never happened, and how often I’ve wished for something that could just make all those memories go away.”
    It sucks but thats life for you, it gives you nasty memories but then, would you be better off if you didn’t have those memories? No one can tell… you might have turned into a real asshole instead of this friendly but slightly weird person (I like weird people so that’s an compliment πŸ™‚ )

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    • I had a conversation with my son, right after I posted this, about how you can only walk one path through life, when it occurred to me that my friend left for Brazil at least a year before my son was even conceived. It’s one thing to focus on the bad things that have happened, it’s another thing entirely to recognize the good thing that wouldn’t have been possible if a different path had been taken! πŸ˜€

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  2. It’s cool that you found them. I’ve hunted for a few friends and never been able to locate them. Primarily, I think, because they exist below the radar. These were people I knew before the internet, and I while it seems strange to think that they may still live without it, I suspect they do. While not stupid, they were technologically unsaavy in ways. They didn’t know how to use computers, or type, or even have an interest in it.

    Anyway, you should enjoy communicating with them. Why not? It’s not like you actually have to “let them into your life” again. Just talking online is sufficient isn’t it? Personally, that’s what I always prefer.

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    • It’s funny how, though these friends and I all have extensive electronics backgrounds, our finding each other after trying for years came down to just dumb luck! And you’re right about talking online, particularly using this format (for me at least). While these comment exchanges have been known to go off on pretty bizarre, sometimes hilarious, tangents, I find that I’m far more comfortable in conversations where the topic has already been established. I’m not nearly as comfortable in live, “off the cuff,” conversations, whether face-to-face or in online chats. πŸ˜€

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  3. Your so called “long continuous fucking train wreck” doesn’t necessarily define who you are but is simply a path you have chosen. Come on IzaakMak, you don’t want to be a Stepford wife … who wants a friggin boring perfect life? Hell no, color me train wreck any old time. We wouldn’t have artists, musicians or poets if it wasn’t for that friggin train πŸ™‚ Go off and embrace your buddies for goodness sakes, they have come back into your life for a reason . Don’t you make me come over there and give you a friggin hug πŸ™‚

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  4. I have to be honest and say I read this yesterday and I thought, “Damn, how is it Mak goes through the shit I do almost everytime, at the same time”
    Being able to communicate online is absolutely more wonderful than to have to look someone in the face and decide what is comfortable to share or not.
    For myself a lot of it comes down to; why are they looking for me, what’s their agenda in this? How am I going to get hurt this time from what I share or what I hold back? Also communicating on line, sooner or later (for me) I know that weather can no longer be a discussion or the clothes we use to wear or what we now know about tech information; sooner or later I know the questions are going to start…and the questions are what I don’t look forward to. I’d rather talk about them than for the spotlight be on my life; gawd to share what I have accomplished (which in my eyes would be absolutely nothing) compared to them.
    In my brain I know I’m intelligent, I’m interesting but their not going to think so. Okay so confidence is where it stands AND trust. I have absolutely no trust in people in my f2f life and ppl that come out of nowhere looking for me. :/ So then even a conversation online turns into torture for me, because I have to watch every single aspect of myself once again.

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    • You know Bats, I’ve “met” and “talked to” quite a few really nice people since I started blogging, but you are the only that I know for sure has the background to really understand where I’m coming from. That’s why I knew you’d get the problem I’m having here. While I know that you don’t (can’t!) isolate yourself away from the world the way I do, I know that you too have had to live with people judging you and eying you suspiciously, and have had to swallow your share of anger at how unfair it can seem at times. While reuniting with distant friends online doesn’t exactly leave me all that exposed, the fact is that resuming any kind of “normal” existence will require being exposed beyond anything I want to deal with. And that is what this whole thing has brought home to me. πŸ˜•

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      • No I can’t be as isolated as you Mak because of my children but believe me if it wasn’t for them I would be. For me going to the grocery store becomes a nightmarish experience but I like food so I have to force myself to, not to mention the kids kinda like eating also.
        I hate the stigma that follows us around, no matter what is said publicly that stigma is still there, I almost would jump from the Eifel Tower then tell someone that I’m BiPolar or addicted to everything under the sun, the looks that show that whomever is actually thinking, ‘ummmmmmmm will they just completely lose it and try to kill me.’ And of course the stigma grows with every crime like the Tucson shooting. If we have the same diagnosis then uhoh, sooner or later we’ll do that which is complete nonsence.
        Okay so there was a rambling…
        When friends on my FB account started sending me friend requests and I started accepting them, I realized that I was “opening” myself up for conversations that I didn’t want to be in, I was exposing myself to people I have always felt were better than me, hell I couldn’t compete with Harvard. “What do you do Bats?” Ummmm been a SAHM for quite sometime. “And what about before that?” Uhhhhhh sold termite insurance. How does that even rate. I could just hear the “I knew she would never be ANYBODY.” Of course I’m assuming but when the questions keep coming I get flustered so instead of allowing them into my bubble I have blown up for myself, I just deleted them. 😦 And holy batman if they ever found my blog!
        SO that whole ramble there was pretty much, “I so know.”

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  5. Love that music clip, Izaakmak

    I’m not going to offer any advice on what you should do next with regard to the friends you recently reconnected with but I wish you well in however you decide to proceed from here !!!

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    • Thanks Duncan, I’m sure that things will work out in their usual anti-climactic way. I almost decided not to use the video when I got a look at how religion-saturated the lyrics were. But I really like the sound, and the imagery seems so appropriate to the theme of this post! πŸ˜€

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  6. I see what you mean…. other people are doing better than me, my natural biological challenges eventually caught up with me, and have held me back. So I just blame God for that, and do what I can with what I have. And keep hoping, things will get better. The Hope is the glory, the light, the will to live another day… Hope.

    And making some kick-ass food!!!

    I have enjoyed reconnecting on Facebook. It’s fun, all of the little daily chit-chat. And it can be contentious, as well. Just like life. ( I get picked on a lot by those closest to me. They seem to make a game out of it. ) The last couple years, I started purging, putting aside those who are mean to me. I cannot change them. Only my own circumstances. It has been frightening to lose people, but it has opened up space to be filled by others. And that’s just a little bit exciting.

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    • Silky, I’ve read and re-read your comment several times since you posted it, and I STILL don’t know how to interpret your first paragraph. As for the rest, the jury’s still out on whether being “friended” on Facebook by so many relatives whom I don’t remember is a good thing or not, but spending so much time alone has really got me in touch with the wannabe chef in me! While I’ve always liked “playing around” in the kitchen, I had no idea how much I really enjoyed cooking until I made up my mind to cook most of what I eat myself. There’s something truly liberating about being able to say “I made this!” as long as I’m the only one who suffers when I screw it up!

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  7. I found two people on facebook: my best friend from grade school, with whom we were both alter boys, if you can believe that; and my son, with whom I hadn’t heard from in over fourteen years.

    My best friend and I had grown up down completely during our separate times, and have so little in common, we don’t communicate much. But I’m grateful for being able to communicate. When we were eleven years old, we made a pact we would hit the ocean every day of that year, rain or shine. We succeeded, albeit under our parents radar (We lived less than a mile from the ocean).

    I won’t get into why my son and I lost touch, but since he found me, we have had some great conversations, something I thought would never happen again. We share movies, books and music, having very similar tastes, if you can call it that. He’s the one reminded me about the band Metro, which neither of us could find until i got lucky. Emailed him the link and he’s one happy son now.

    My point is people change over time and some old friends may not be new friends anymore. But that’s okay, as it’s part of life. I do hope your old friends become your new friends, that would be cool πŸ™‚

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    • Wow Jammer, I’d love to get in tough with some of my early childhood friends, but I suspect that the differences between us would be as great as what you’ve discovered. So many of our opinions and beliefs are formed between early childhood and adulthood. And I’m really glad to hear about you and your son reconnecting! The distance that exists between my kids and me right now is almost more than I can handle.

      On my end, I’m glad to report that the “reunion” is going well with my old friends. One of them has already read, and commented on via email, some of my blog posts (I’d “warned” them both that they could learn a lot of what I’ve been up to during their absence from it). I’m not sure if we’ll be in “constant communication,” but I am sure we’ll chat from time to time.

      Communications have been slower with the other one, but I just got a VERY long email from him this morning and it sounds like we’re still as close as we ever were. He’s such a fascinating character, and he’s lead the kind of adventurous life that I only read about or see on TV or in movies. I’m so amazed at how we can be so much alike, while living such entirely different lives, that I’ve invited him to be a guest contributor to my blog anytime he wants. I hope he takes me up on the offer, as I think you guys would be really fascinated by some of his stories!

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  8. I think it is great you found some long lost friends. With the recent divorce and my life feeling like it is in limbo, I have to tried to stay focused on the good things that have happened that probably wouldn’t have otherwise. And one of those is reconnecting with long ago friends.

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    • You and I have that “recently divorced” thing in common Suzanne, although I hope that yours wasn’t as long, drawn-out, and painful as mine was. And the “reconnecting” thing has actually gone much better than I feared. I’m now thinking it’s a good thing that these guys weren’t around to witness my life going down in flames, as maybe that will allow them to see past what happened to the good friend they now have back. πŸ™‚

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