Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

I’m sitting here at the corner of Memory Lane and Humiliation Avenue, wondering: Is there no statute of limitations on dumb things you’ve done?

The Friday before Christmas I had lunch with a guy from my old high school crowd. He graduated a year ahead of me, and I hadn’t seen him since Commencement, but I had good memories of working together on plays when we were in school. So when this blog generated an invitation to get together for lunch, it seemed like a nice opportunity to reminisce about old times and catch up on where we are today.

And it started off like that. Over salad combos at a local deli, we talked about who we kept in touch with, and who we’d love to hear from but hadn’t. He told me about a theater project he’d just finished and I chatted about the Chronicles, laughing over my husband’s refusal to talk to me in bed the other night, because, he said, “Everything I say winds up on your blog.”

I expected a laugh on that, but just got an odd look, and, “You put some pretty personal stuff out there.”

As I finished off my couscous and tomatoes, though, the conversation took a strange turn.

Did I remember, he asked, the evening during my senior year when I came over to his house and we almost, ah...?

I looked at him and memory came flooding back, along with a rush of color to my face.

Yes, I said warily, I remembered. Why?

Because, he said, he’d always been curious as to what happened that evening and why we didn’t….

And I realized one of the things I really hate about hot flashes is that they feel way too much like the way you blush when you’re really embarrassed. And wondered what would happen if I just got up and ran out the door. But when you’re of an age to compare hot flashes with all-over blushes, you don’t really do that any more. So I just said, “Oh?”

And he said that he’d thought things were going okay, and then all of a sudden I sort of withdrew, and then I acted like I was mad at him, and he’d never really understood what went wrong.

Well, I said, it’s been thirty-five years….

And you’ve never thought about it since then?

Not for at least thirty or so….

Because, he said, he’d been thinking a lot lately about various relationships of his that had gone sour, and he’d wound up feeling like a jerk that night, and he needed closure.

Ouch. Who among us women can resist the siren call of closure?

So, I folded my hands in my lap, thinking, I cannot even freaking believe I’m having this conversation, gave one last wistful thought to escape, and said, Well, since this seems to be something you need, let’s see what I can recall.

Here’s the really bad thing, though. It was at this exact point that I started thinking about what a hilarious blog this would make.

His recollection, he said, was that I had engineered the whole situation in the first place….

And suddenly it was 1971, and I was seventeen again, with a major crush on an older boy. And a bookworm who’d read far too many romance novels about men who fell in love with girls who gave them the priceless gift of themselves. Not to mention endlessly curious about a topic that the preceding decade of Free Love made even more ubiquitous than it is today, if that’s even possible.

At some point during the preliminaries, though, the voice of reason (which sounded suspiciously like my mother’s) pointed out that this wasn’t going to wind up anyplace I’d like. And, it added, you’ll get pregnant.

Sitting across from him in the deli, I tried to explain some of this, but his expression mirrored nothing but confusion.

But we weren’t even dating, he pointed out. How could you think that was going to turn into a relationship?

Yes, I said, I understand that now, but I didn’t then. Thinking, fifty-four is so far from seventeen it’s hard to believe they occur in the same lifetime.

I could see him trying to fit the pieces together. Were you a virgin? he asked.

I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but my face grew even hotter. Well, yeah, I said.

Because I was just hoping to get laid, he said.

Yes, I understand that now, I said again. I had a sudden image of God guffawing as he watched me soldier my way through this discussion.

I don’t know if he got the closure he was seeking, but we parted on good terms.

So now I’m left with this question: That kid I whopped with a broomstick when I was five, because he wouldn’t let my sister have a turn on the swings, should I expect him to show up on my doorstep, asking for answers?


  1. I'm tellin''s the Mars thing...I hope it was a final closure for him, but it kinda sounds like maybe he has REAL issues, next time this age who cares! Some of my best and funniest posts have been about my 'X'. Now they're about my dog...single is good.

    Cool post, I hope he reads it...ha...don't ya just love this blog world, we are all Sisters out there, to bad the guys don't get it...have a wonderful New Year...see ya next year!

  2. I have been a victim and a beneficiary of poor timing all my life! I use the illustration "What if I would have turned left, instead of right that day?". Our lives are made up of moments where decisions were not even made consciously, but affected our lives and the events in our lives forever. If I got half of what I wanted, I'd be in jail! If I got half of what I deserved- same result! Happy New Year 2009!

  3. LMAO!!! OK, that was some great reading!!!

    Over from SITS because we share the same name and I wanted to *meet* you.

    Happy New Year!!

  4. {Thanks for peeking in on my blog}

    My husband asks the same question..."Is this going to be on your blog?" As I run and grab the camera...

    You were braver than I would have been. I would have taken the other option to run out the door!

  5. OMG to quote my kids! You got me on this one. I could so see myself in that uncomfortable situation. Thanks for the email too. Indiana & Ohio are so similar that it makes sense that we share such memories. Michigan is completely different & I don't know why. But my daughters are Michiganders so it can't be all bad. Keep up the blogging. I love it.

  6. Hi from Sits! I hate that feeling. But it's funny that he is going to read about how you were feeling while you were sitting there!

  7. Hi from Sits! I hate that feeling. But it's funny that he is going to read about how you were feeling while you were sitting there!

  8. I wish there was a statue of limitations on dumb stuff.

    High school ended for me only about 10 years ago, but it seems really, really far away (and that is a good thing).

    Then I do dumb stuff like made a facebook page and ex-boyfriends are asking questions.

    Is everybody dumb at 17 or was it just me?

    Happy New Years

  9. Well...recently I did something similar...still no closure...what a hoot you are, and thanks for writing sparked my imagination!

    I slapped a guy I was seeing to whom I caught with another girl...after he called my best friend a bioch...I would not want to run into him, since his name was Rocky...really :)

    Oh, and my hubby says the same thing every time he kisses me...will it be tomorrows news, lol

  10. Sounds like maybe he thought he was Mr. Irresistable..
    Maybe you should have left him wondering for another 30 years..sounds like it was really bothering him.
    I have people that ask me all the time if they are "blod fodder." No one is safe.
    I enjoyed your story:)

  11. It was just in the last 12 months that I've learned to stop thinking about stupid things that happened 30 years ago and start worrying about how I'm going to be a better person today. Then I pop open a bottle of beer and realize that it's really not all that compelling to be a better person today either.

  12. PS -- I think he still has his eye on you!

  13. I guess time has a way of bringing unresolved issues in the past. At least you both left in good terms. Anyway, just dropping by to say Happy New year!

  14. Oh my God. That sounds like it was so awkward! Poor you! Happy New Years!

  15. Mr, Horton sat on a hill in his dream. He remembers a songs where, "the winds of the old days blows through my hair". He must choose his words carefully, for the intent to perform lightly invites a weighted scrutiny. His sisterhood caution light is defined as yellow, flashing.

    The Christmas story reminds us how forgiveness is the most Godlike medicine any of us has the power to administer.

    Regretfully, many of us men may live out our lives as Rose Dawson once said, "...waiting for an absolution that will never come."

    On the lighter side, I'm proud to say that I've been working out on the treadmill for five days straight, and the leftover cookies and snacks have become as bland as four day old Chinese food.

    Thanks J, for the great work. It gets better all the time. Happy New Year, indeed!

    An open hand is lonely until another finds it.


  16. Thanks for stopping by but compared to your entry my stuff is poop. I actually have to go through an edit check from my wife before it hits. You bring it real and raw. Happy New Year.

  17. You handled that quite well. Lord I hope everyone doesn't start looking for closure on that type of stuff. It would entail way too many awkward conversations. As a matter of fact I didn't even know it was within the 'rules' to go around demanding closure.

  18. Is this a trend -- our how-did-I-get-in-this-situation high-school moments coming back to demand closure? From the freakin' 1970s???? Please. No. I'm impressed, though, that you could recall details.

  19. After he said that part about how could you have thought it was going to turn into a relationship the shiz would have been on!

    What kind of girl did he think you were?? Glad your mom voice kept you from gifting that big jerk with your V.

    BTW, my blog is now up. Don't get me started on all of the fabulous names and ideas I had for it which were all taken by people not even using them!

  20. That was a DAMN good post. I loved it. Memory Lane and Humiliation Avenue....

    That's why I'm so thankful I can't remember a damn thing. It helps me maintain my composure.....

  21. Oh that is a hoot...I was on the phone with E and we looked up some of my ex's to see if they were still in the area...I would not call them, not sure what I would say...

  22. It is funny to know that men have the same feelings about could have's & should have's - I thought only us women went through this. It sounds like you handled the situation very well. I can sure tell who has grown more since those early years!!

  23. That's just wrong and also hilarious. I love that you blogged it, I hope he read it! You are a very big hearted woman, I think I would have bailed with an unkind, seriously? I was seventeen.

  24. That was some crazy sh#t. He's got arrested development!
    To actually bring it up. Oh my, my, my.
    And I think we all now see our lives through the bloggy lenses.
    "Would this make a good post?'
    "Can I take a photo of that boy in a fez?"
    "Can I crab about my neighbor or will she read it someday?"
    I have to say: I really enjoyed reading this and I'm so sorry you had to endure it!

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