Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Some come back

I got a blast-from-the-past phone call yesterday. Completely non-social-networking-site-related (well, not completely, and not the one you'd expect. They found me on LinkedIn and simply picked up the phone). January must be my month to reconnect with people from a thousand years ago or something.

It's funny. You don't really know the impact you have on someone until you haven't seen them in a few years (or 18. Or 26.). It's fascinating to me to see myself in their recollection. It's actually kind of daunting. I mean, I think I'm a good person, I don't think I've ever really been a BAD person, but I think the years have improved my sense of right, wrong and only-be-a-bitch-if-it-means-being-true-to-yourself-ness. And there are some periods of time in my life that, when I look back at them from my own perspective, might not have been the best in terms of where my head was at. So suddenly you get a phone call, you jump in your car and drive to a motel on Bangy Road (geez, People Who Aren't From Portland, look at you all jumping to conclusions), and after a couple of hours you find that even though you may have thought you were kind of fucked up at that time, you didn't let other people see it. Or maybe you just weren't that fucked up to begin with.

I worked with this one in Southern California for an automobile finance company. It was actually, in hindsight, a pretty good gig. I got away with murder 97% of the time which made the other 3% more bearable. And the people were great. We were all roughly the same age and tended to hang out some after hours. I was completely naive when I started down there and clearly was from a less-diverse-at-the-time Beaverton, but I learned a lot about much more than auto finance during my four and a half years in that biz. But I was also broke, had a piece of shit car, and was still perming my hair, so obviously I had a long road ahead of me. I was in my early twenties - a decade, I might add, that I always contend that I enjoyed immensely but would never, ever want to repeat - and lacked direction, just living the Southern California dream. Up until yesterday, it was a time in my life that I just didn't think about too often.

Last year I reconnected with some people-from-the-past that made me think of the high school me (sweet, shy, naive) (really) and got me thinking that it sure didn't take long for me to go from sweet and shy to reckless (my twenties) - I wondered how that happened, but didn't dwell on it. I looked past my twenties and focused on my thirties and the things I accomplished then. Last night I discovered that maybe I wasn't such a whack in my twenties - through someone else's eyes, I was someone worth knowing. Worth remembering.

So that's the thing about friends - some of them come back. And they remind you not only of how great they were, and are, but of how great you must have been to have attracted them in the first place. To inspire them, years later, to google your name and pick up the phone.


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