October 21, 2009

Just Like That! Except With Death

This is hardly a fresh observation, but let me join the legions who have said it is WEIRD when you run into someone you went to high school with. And it gets weirder with every year.

Yesterday Paul and I were out on a date, and a woman came up to me and said we'd gone to school together, and I didn't recognize her AT ALL which was as awk as I'd feared in my many times imagining such a scenario, but fortunately I ABSOLUTELY recognized her NAME and knew exactly who she was and THEN recognized her, and all my her-related memories clicked into place, and everything was fine although of course still awk because AWK SITUATION.

I'm in my mid-thirties, and so at this point my high school self is less than half my age. I looked up my old classmate in the yearbook when I got home, and both of us have really left our high school selves behind. Those senior pictures look like CHILDREN. Thin, smooth-faced children. With late-eighties/early-nineties hair (I have bagel bangs!).

This same week, another former classmate died. It reminds me of when I was in my early twenties and a friend of mine got pregnant, and it was the first time I'd realized that I was now the age when I could do that TOO. I know that seems like it should have been obvious, especially since by that age I'd already been married and divorced and also technically could have been getting pregnant for a good decade, but it was still like a light going on as to the ACTUAL FACT of it. I could have an ACTUAL BABY!!!! It was like that. But, um, with death.

17 comments:

Kim said...

The ex-boyfriend and I were talking about this this past weekend, but more along the lines of how it's sort of like re-living high school on Facebook. The fact that everybody looks so OLD now (except us of course, haha). Everytime I go visit my hometown I experience something like what you described above and it makes me feel like I've stepped right into the Twilight Zone, complete with the soundtrack music that plays in my head.

Amanda said...

Yes. Weirdness.

Cookie said...

I live on the other side of the country from where I went to high school, so the odds of me actually running into somebody I went to school with is very slim. Although, next year will be my 10-year high school reunion, which I'm pretty sure I'm flying back for. And then I'll be surrounded by people I went to school with (and due to overwhelming shyness probably still won't talk to). Also, Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with all but one of my close friends from high school.

Michelle said...

I still live very close to my hometown so I run into classmates fairly often. They always recongnize me and I never, ever recognize them, awkward is right. I always drag out the lame excuse that I have a terrible memory for faces, I do, but it sounds like I'm making it up.

d e v a n said...

I don't live near my high school anymore - 16 hours away in fact- but my inlaws do and everytime we go back there (1 or 2x a year) I see old classmates. It's one of my least favorite parts of the trip actually...

beyond said...

what are bagel bangs? i'm intrigued. (google was no help.)

Swistle said...

Beyond- Ah, bagel bangs! You curl the top half of your bangs BACK AND UP, and the bottom half FORWARD AND DOWN, and then do one side curl on each side, then sort of fluff and spray until the curl goes smoothly all the way around. Effect: a "bagel" of hair.

Lucy said...

Yeah...I'm all weirded out about the "death mortality" thing right now..a good friend of mine died in April (31 years old)...2 weeks after giving birth to her 3rd child...just up and died.
I guess we just never know how much time we have...

Marie Green said...

Whenever I visit my home town, I search the faces of people when I out in public, looking for someone familiar, someone that I went to school with. (I'm not sure WHY I do this because it's not as if I WANT to talk to them if I DO see someone I know, but alas, I do it anyway.)

But you know what I recently realized? I was searching the faces of late teenagers and early 20's people. NOT mid-thirties people. Because my classmates are still teenagers, right?

Hotch Potchery said...

I have a colleague who is dying. It makes me hold Mr. P a bit too tightly some nights because until a year or so ago, for some reason, us dying never really occurred to me.

Alice said...

HEY. WAIT. no! people don't die until they're, like, 90. EVER. the end! right?

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Someone I went to high school with died a couple of years ago... and I'm only 24... it was quite soon after we left for University that they got sick I think. It was so odd because it wasn't someone I even really KNEW, but he had been in a few classes with me so I know we'd had the odd small-talk moment now and again... it's SO WEIRD to find out someone you knew only slightly has died -- you don't exactly "grieve" in the traditional way, but you do feel down... it's strange.

So.. that was a depressing little comment!

.. ahem. Otherwise: yes, so weird bumping into high school people and like I said, I'm only 24. It's already super strange. It was strange enough when I went away to University, got myself sort of settled in there, and then in my SECOND YEAR all these people who I went to high school with (and didn't particularly like) started coming to MY university. I hated bumping into them in the library or bookstore or anywhere on Campus... I didn't want it feeling like high school.

I know it'll be even weirder as more time passes, but there are my stories.

mamarose said...

How about this - I ran into a high school boyfriend... in our birthing class. Awkward!

TJ said...

It was just a couple of years ago that my friends started getting married. And now I'm getting married. And when I talk to vendors or plan wedding-related stuff, I am still waiting for the "HEY WHO THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? SOME KIND OF ADULT?" police to come up behind me and shame me.

Also? While I often find myself mightily displeased at being on the opposite side of the country of every single person and place I know, there is a certain kind of freedom in walking around, knowing that there isn't a chance you're going to run into ANYONE you know. My shirt had a stain on it today when I went to the grocery store. Back where I'm from? Never would have done it. Here? GO AHEAD AND JUDGE ME, STRANGERS.

Brooke said...

I would love to run into more HS people. I "see" a lot of them on FB, and my besties from then are still my besties now. But I live in LA and went to HS near SF, so I don't see them in real life. My 20-year reunion is still 3 years away.

I too, had bagel bangs, until a really, really unfortunate Prom cut that rendered the bangs too short to wrap around the barrel of the curling iron. And then I just wore bangs until I grew the whole thing out when I was a senior. People still mock me about the bagel, tho'. You and I are the same age.

Leah Rubin said...

Yeah, even though I'm probably old enough to be your momma, the whole death thing is still freaky. See, deep inside, we all still think of ourselves as the age we were most strong or smart or pretty or happy. So I may still be mentally 34, which means my classmates should not be dying like this! (Three that I know of this year!)

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

My class had 70 students so we all knew each other. At a reunion a few years ago a woman was talking with me for a very long time. We chatted about general high school stuff then asked about my husband by name (I was single then). That's when she realized I wasn't who she thought I was. She immediately stood up and walked away as though I highly offended her just by being me. Sigh...