Monday, March 16, 2009

I've been lost in a time warp

I am dying to tell you all ... those of you who still read my blog ... and one of you is Margaret, who I ran into in the grocery store yesterday so already knows about this ...

I've been lost in a time warp.

My particular time warp is 1991. I've been sucked up by 1991 and wonder when I'll make it out of this vortex.

Can you guess what has caused this time warp vortex?

I bet you can!


FACEBOOK.

Yes, I know, I was very anti-Facebook. No, I'm not sure how I feel about it now that I have signed up, but I was talked into signing up by one of my oldest friends last weekend.

AND THEN MY WHOLE WORLD EXPLODED.

Monday, I set up my Facebook page, not sure how many friends I wanted to have and trying to figure out what the Wall is, and what the News Feed is, and where I should be looking, and why isn't there an "About Facebook" button with some sort of tutorial? So I spent Monday clicking around and wondering about groups and fan pages and looking at the profiles and walls of the few people I had added to start me off. And snooping around the profiles of some other people from my past, not sure if I was ready to reach out to them.

Tuesday morning, just 24 hours after joining, I got a friend request that knocked me out of my chair. THAT GUY. The one who I met doing a show when I was 17 and he was 20 (we were near our 18th and 21st birthdays, though ... I was a senior in high school and he was a college dropout from Kansas who had come to California to crash with his dad). The one who, even though I had a long-time boyfriend who was away at college, I could not stop thinking about. The one who felt that he was too confused about his life and that I was heading off for bigger and better things (college at Stanford; and my parents were moving to Oregon to make it more complicated), so decided that we shouldn't have a relationship. The one who took me out on dates even though we weren't dating (the passionate talk and the making out sure made them feel like dates). The one who was a mother's nightmare (sorry, mom!).

The one who spent the last few months before I moved, while we did another show together, pretty much ignoring me and dating other people, but then spent the NIGHT before I moved telling me how much he loved me. The one who didn't call me for months after that, but finally did and we spent that night on the phone falling in love with each other. The one who promised this time would be different and he would be better about calling, but then broke that promise.

THAT GUY. We had such chemistry. We never did anything more than a little making out, but it was the talking and just the hanging out that we did SO WELL. We were so different, yet we seemed to fit. We were never given a chance, though.

I couldn't count on him. He had said all the right things but then not called for months too many times. I had given him enough chances.

I fell in love with someone a few months after that late-night phone call my freshman year in college. I would forget about everyone else I had ever known; I would forget my name; I knew that I would marry this man. And one year after graduation, he proposed. Yes, The Hubby!

Eventually, I would think about THAT GUY. I had written about him in my diary, after all, and I like to reminisce. When I got internet access and learned of yellowpages dot com, I looked him up. Other search engines came out, and I looked him up. I went to the memorial service of a mutual friend, and not finding him there, asked another mutual friend to see if she could find him and give him my phone number. I Googled him. Thinking he might have gone into the industry, I imdb'd him. I always found many listings for his name, but no way to tell if any of them were the right THAT GUY.

Eventually, I decided that it would be best not to know what happened to him, and certainly best not to find him. Despite the way things went between us, I have treasured memories of the time we spent together and the things that were said. I decided it was best to preserve it as it was.

THEN I JOINED FACEBOOK.
And the next day, THAT GUY. After all those times years ago that I tried to find him, it took less than 24 hours on facebook for him to find me! After SEVENTEEN YEARS. I stared at the Friend Request, trying to decide what to do. I went out for the day and thought about it. I went back and forth, feeling my heart beating in my throat.

I came back to the computer late in the afternoon. I didn't know what I was going to do. Staring at the screen, I took a deep breath and clicked "Confirm." I would just let whatever was going to happen, happen. I figured it would just be "hi, what are you up to? I have three kids. oh" and not much more, like what happens at high school reunions, and frankly, I worried that that would be a blow to my self-esteem yet again. But I had no idea what usually happened on facebook, so no idea what to expect.

Almost the very second my finger came back up from clicking "Confirm," a chat window popped up. I didn't even know there was chat in facebook! THAT GUY. Talking to me, live in a chat window. I almost threw up. I couldn't hear my kids playing right behind me, what with the beating of my heart. My fingers shook. I got all sweaty. And I remembered that it was his birthday!

We had a short chat. My exploded brain remembers it went something like:
me: "I can't believe I'm talking to you right now. Isn't it your birthday?" him: "Yep." me: "How old are you?" him: "39." him: "Your kids are cute." me: "Thanks, yours too!" him: "You look happy. Is it true?" me: "Yes, very." him: "I'm so glad to hear that." me: "This is weird." him: "Should I not have found you?" me: "I don't know yet." him: "I understand if you don't want to acknowledge me, but I have thought about you a lot." me: "I don't believe you." him: "well, it's true. I was a total mess then and I missed out on you. I'm so sorry." me: "I cannot believe this is happening right now."
And some pleasantries, and then I had to go make dinner.

And then I told The Hubby about it. He did not think it was a big deal. Why was I making a big deal about it? he wanted to know.

Because my not-a-relationship with him never had an ending! And I was not sure that I wanted it to have a postscript. Some things are better left alone, to reminisce about in our private thoughts.

The Hubby thought I was being silly. "Why don't you suggest that you two get together? Your kids can play."

"That would be WEIRD!"

"No, it's no big deal."

Well, he doesn't get it (I thought to myself).

The next day, a chat window popped up again. This time, our chat was longer, and it briefly touched upon the past.

Another day, another chat. Again and again. More delving into the past.

Then when he asked again if we should talk about exchanging phone numbers, I took a deep breath and punched my cell number into the chat window. Then I received a text message. Then I received a picture on my phone of his Wii avatar. Um, ooookay?

I told The Hubby about it. "Maybe it's weird," he said, thinking. "No, I'm sure he's just being friendly," he finished.

Saturday night I was up late after everyone went to bed, and another chat window popped up. This time, we really got into the past.

At some point, my fingers typed out the gist of my worries. "What if we see each other and find that we still have that chemistry?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said.

"I do know that the phrase "unfinished business" has never been more apt," he said.

"Yes! You get it!" I cried. Knowing that he totally understood what was weird about this was, for me, a huge relief.

Just knowing that I wasn't the only crazy one here has really calmed me down about the whole thing. It seems counterintuitive, but that's the effect it has had on me. My heart rate slowed back down; my fingers stopped shaking.

I was never sure if, back then, he had strong feelings about me or if it was all my overactive imagination. All these years, I have thought I might have been a silly 18-year-old girl about this. Finding out through these chats that it wasn't a figment of my fluttering heart actually is helping me exhale and move on to whatever this is going to be NOW.

This story is not over. We'll have to wait and see how it all unfurls.

9 comments:

LemonySarah said...

I found a guy from college who, after a whole bunch of odd questions about my life, told me that he had this mad crush on me back in the day. I got the distinct impression that his feelings had grown only stronger as time went by. Flattering yes, creepy, MUCH more so.

Hey, will you be my facebook friend? I'm listed by my very real full name, Sarah Farrington Owens. Silly me, I think I've got nothing to hide!

Oh, and SIX days until our special day!

Margaret said...

Hmmmm....Now this is a little more detailed than our grocery store conversation. This is tough. It would be easier if you hubby wasn't such a nice and guy and said "stop it already." The world of what ifs is a like a hall of fun house mirrors. It just goes to show that the past is, indeed, prologue. Good luck.

Jen on the Edge said...

My old high school crush friended me on FB, so I know how you feel.

If you feel like expanding your FB circle, friend me. (Oh wait, do you know my real name?)

smalltownmom said...

I'm still avoiding Facebook. I don't think I have anything in my deep dark past to come back and surprise me, but you never know.

barbra said...

Sarah, I think I am being taken out for fondue on Sunday! Yay!

And also, Sarah, it totally depends on the guy whether that kind of thing is flattering or CREEPY, doesn't it?

Margaret, thanks for the well wishes on this one! I need all of the second opinions I can get! (Although I think it's going to be okay now.)

Jen, let me know!

STM, I'm wondering if the facebook fad is fizzling out, anyway. I guess time will tell!

Cafe Pasadena said...

So, how would you feel if the roles were reversed? Put your husband in your place in this drama you've allowed to regrow.

You're a mature young lady now in 2009...right??? Or, are you still a teenager!

barbra said...

Cafe,
That is what I would say if I read this story, too! I'm so glad I have moved on past the high school drama of last week. I'm also glad I have kept my husband completely up-to-speed on this... he has even read this blog post. My first week of Facebook turned me into a teenager ... but now I'm back!

JCK said...

Yikes. Sounds dangerous to me. Let us know what happens.

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