Yesterday, Today and ... Facebook
January 30, 2009

There are numerous people from "back in the day," as we say, with whom I would love to catch up. Some of them I need to apologize to for being, well, for being a kid, but still ... it's important to me that they know I'm sorry I was a dork. (Or, in some cases, a total jerk.)

Take, for example, someone I'll call Lana. Now, in the fifth grade, Lana liked to keep all of her duckies in a row. Each textbook was neatly stacked on the one below it in perfect order. Her pencils and pens were neatly arrayed across the top, in descending order of height, with her eraser finalizing the deal.

It drove me crazy.

So, like the chaotic thing that I was (am?), I would move a book 10 degrees when she wasn't looking. Or I would put a short pencil in the middle of the pens. Anything to disrupt poor Lana's perfect order. And then I would giggle like a mad thing when she discovered the disarray and set about correcting it.

What a jerk I was.

Today, we'd probably both be diagnosed with something or another. Me with something oppositional and Lana perhaps with OCD. The truth of the matter is that I could no more help messing up Lana's order than she could help needing to impose it. Today, if I sat next to her in class, I hope I have learned to restrain my impish self somewhat ... and I feel bad for just having to poke that button way back then. I'd like the opportunity to - well, taking it back is beyond what could happen, but I'd like to at least let Lana know that I'm sorry I was a jerk about it.

Sure it was a relatively small thing in the scheme of humans picking on each other. But it bugs me to this day.

Then there was ... I'll call her Ender S, since back in the day we shared the same first name. (Do you remember back in elementary school when kids were punctuated by the first letter of your last name? Poor Tim Eddlemon made the mistake of writing his E too close to his Tim and we all called him Time. To this day I can barely spell Tim without wanting to add an E at the end ....)

Anyhow, Ender S. was someone I admired ... but who confused me. It was like she got this whole being human thing better than I did. Of course, that says a LOT more about me as a kid than it does her. I can remember wanting to understand her, but never ever getting close to it. I was confused when I upset her and always felt like I was a kindergartner trying to run with sixth graders when I was around her.

At the same time, Ender S. was someone who was easily swayed by a strong personality and I just didn't get it. How could someone I admire be so easily swayed by someone through whom I could see so easily? Ultimately, I fell prey to my usual flaw - I couldn't understand what was going on, so I gave up. I let Tabitha "win." I stopped fighting Tabitha and let whatever she said, stand as truth because I didn't understand how people could believe her. Particularly Ender S, who knew me better than that, I thought.

But then, we were in perhaps fifth grade and maybe I was too logical. What Tabitha was good at was exactly the thing I didn't understand at all - emotion. Tabitha knew how to manipulate phrasing and a look to gain maximum sympathy. And me? Well, I was a lot like the character of Temperance Brennan on the TV show Bones. Actually, I was probably more like Zack. Emotions were illogical and therefore didn't matter and I honestly couldn't understand how so many of my classmates - and to be honest, teachers - were so easily affected by emotional manipulation.

Today were I to meet up with Ender S., I'd let her know what I felt back then, which was simply that I thought she made a better friend than Tabitha, but that I was terribly confused as to just how to be a friend back.

There are countless others through elementary school and junior and senior high with whom I would also like to ... if not make amends, at least explain what was going through what passed for my brain back then. I don't know if this is a factor of growing up the child of an alcoholic, or having Asperger's (or skirting the near edges of it - who knows which) or something else entirely ... but there are people who were very important to me back then whom I would love to know are doing well now. I'd like to tell them I'm sorry for the stupid things, the things I didn't understand ... and at the same time, I'd like to make sure they pursued the things that were so important to them back in the day. Even if they only pursued it for a while before discovering that it wasn't their thing after all ....

I'm not sure I'm expressing any of this well at all.

Let's just say that there are a slew of people I recall fondly. And I hope that they are doing well. More than that, I hope they've found peace and happiness. I hope I didn't cause much pain, but that in some small, inconsequential way, they remember me fondly as well.

Let's just say that there are also those folks whom I recall fondly and hope that I did not impede them or aggravate them too much. I looked at my junior high yearbooks not long ago and I was appalled at the good friend who told me they were glad they knew me even if I "drove them crazy" sometimes. That's not the memory I want to leave behind.

Damn.

I had a specific goal in mind when I started this post ... but I think I've strayed away from it. Maybe I'll be able to get it back another day.

Until then, remember this - the person you friend on Facebook is quite likely NOT the person you knew back in the day. Some of us are smarter now than then. Some of us only wish to make amends. Some of us only wish the best for those they recall.

Posted by Red Monkey at January 30, 2009 6:37 PM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

Jackal said:

I joined facebook in December and looked for a few 'friends' who had once meant something very special to me but I managed to lose as friends due to my behaviours/problems etc...
I felt I needed to explain or at least go some way to show I have grown up and although I struggle I am more aware of my responsibility and consequences for my actions.

I took a huge risk to contact them in fear of rejection - however, they did friend me but iot does appear that friendships will be very casual and not intense like they once were.
It has been hard to see how successful they have been in life and has added to my sense of being a failure.

Another thing I have realized is that it was I who initiated the friendships back in the days and now again I am the one reaching out. I wonder if it is me who is to blame for reaching out to the wrong people - does that make sense??

Anyway

if you want to hook up on FB - email me and I'll let you know how to find me.

January 31, 2009 3:42 AM

 

Tara R. said:

There are so many people I would NOT want to reconnect with. I am nothing like I was in high school or younger. I'm staying away from Facebook, I couldn't handle the drama again.

Good luck on your quest. I hope you find the closure you are looking for.

January 31, 2009 10:18 AM

I just hope that anyone who thinks they remember me has the same type of damaged memory that I have and that they doubt what they think they ate yesterday and what they think they remember about the past.

That's my story and it comforts me.

February 1, 2009 9:53 PM
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