September 04, 2006

Me minus fourteen

Friday night I met up with some friends from college who, with a couple very brief exceptions, I hadn't seen since I left Pittsburgh after graduation in 1992. It was a great time catching up, but disconcerting too. I'd grown used to people knowing certain fundamental things about me, like that my mom died over seven years ago. (Just talking about that again brought up later a home quite a few memories, pleasant and not.) These folks didn't know I'd been married for over six years, or that I broke up over ten years ago with the woman I left Pittsburgh for. Or all these little things about me that I'd grown used to being comfortably in the past.

And the reverse was true too. I didn't know all the little details about them that made them them, that made up nearly 40% of their lives. So while catching up was deeply satisfying, it was weird seeing everyone shuffle the decks of their memories to remember if that last story was pre- or post-last-time-I-saw-you. Or figuring out what the highlights of a decade and a half are. Or not giving a shit and just talking about whatever, since there were bunches of other people around and talking about the past just makes you sound like an old fart.

The largest reason for the long time between contact is my inability, for whatever reason, to keep in contact with people. Another was something brought up Friday night, that at some point in our college time I distanced myself from this group of people, traveled in different circles. But writing this right now, I realize it wasn't so much that I distanced myself, it's that I didn't have the capacity to travel in more than a small number of such circles, even the fluid ones that abound in college.

I wish now that were something I'd realized about myself earlier, because maybe I would have been conscious of the effects my decisions about other parts of my life were having.

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