writing exercise on the topic of old acquaintances

And so you’re sitting at the your computer, browser set to whatever homepage you’ve set for yourself – yahoo, perhaps, if you need your daily fix of information, or google if you’re the kind to want the search and nothing but the search. As a lark, you type in your name, just to see what happens, and you marvel at the search results. Your blog. Your website. That letter you wrote to the editor a big-city newspaper. The Internet knows you exist; you have been validated. Validated! Buoyed, you type in other names. People you went to school with. Some you don’t find, and you wonder how it’s possible, in this cybernetic age, for someone to escape the Internet’s notice. But others you do find. Their blog. Their website. A book review at Amazon.

For a moment, you consider finding their eMail address and sending them a friendly “hey, long time, what’s up?” Then, with visions of happy reunions and friendships rekindled, you look up old friends and other people you may have met along to way. Yes, surely you should reach out, build bridges, close the circuit and generate a current.

Then you remember all those search results for your own name. You are easy to find. So easy! Has anyone ever typed your name in the search? Have any of these classmates, these old friends, wondered about you, what you’re up to, how you’re doing? You ask: where is everybody? Then it occurs to you that they obviously haven’t given you any thought, because here you are, sitting in front of that shiny new flatscreen monitor and new gazillion gigahertz toy, with not a word, not an eMail, not an IM. Nothing. Maybe you just weren’t memorable. Maybe you just weren’t anyone special.

Or, maybe, once the irritating self-pity has passed, it’s just the nature of things. You have your own life; they have theirs. Chapters end and chapters begin. You wonder again where everybody is, where they have gone to, but of course you know the answer. All those old friends, those classmates, those missed opportunities, those fulfilled opportunities, all of them; they have gone to the one place, other than that undiscovered country, from which no one returns.

They have gone into the past.

Like Opus, sound and snug in the last page of Goodnight, Moon, all you can do is lay to comfortable rest, in memory, those fondly-remembered companions, and leave the remainder to time.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Yeah I find myself in that place you mentioned sometimes, wondering where the old friends are, some you find again and keep, others just drift away. Life is weird that way. On a rainy day such as I'm having here in Australia, this is kind of right up there with the weather, sort of melancholy.