Popping In and Popping Out of People’s Lives

Random odd things happen to me regularly, so I shouldn’t be surprised when they do; but I am.

A few years ago I began to search for old friends and acquaintances online. In some cases, my goal was to get in touch with some of the ones I hadn’t heard from in decades; in other cases I just wanted to see how they turned out. The biggest surprise happened about three or four years ago when I found my first wife. Both the marriage and the divorce happened while we were in college and we had no contact since. The breakup was bad and mostly my fault; nothing illegal or immoral, just my immaturity and inability to handle responsibility at the time. I never expected to hear from her again and it didn’t really matter anyway. I knew she remarried, had kids and lived in that city and two or three others in that part of the south over the years.

A bigger surprise I discovered on that web site was that she and her family had moved north, far north, to a town less than fifteen miles from where I currently live. What?!?! Nobody moves halfway across the country to that town. The web site had an address and phone number but I chose not to intrude. Then I found her on Facebook last year . That time I did reach out and another surprise … she answered my message. We did some catching up in two messages and I assumed that would be it. Fine with me; my curiosity was satisfied.

The biggest surprise happened two nights ago: another message on Facebook. Wow. And why? Actually she asked if I had seen the latest issue of the college alumni magazine. There was a story about a campus restaurant and bar that just reopened for the first time since being destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. The original one was built all the way back when we were students. She reminded me that the name of the place actually pre-dated that facility and was in fact the name of a monthly music event I put on back then. She thinks I actually invented the event and the name, although I’m not sure I can take all the credit. I did, however, get a whole page in the yearbook one year, with a picture and a story about me and the event. I hadn’t thought about that in a very long time.

All of this is so odd yet so normal for me. I have countless examples of times when people from my past briefly popped back into my life and vice versa. In many ways, Facebook has facilitated this and has definitely helped me with my goal of seeing how old friends turned out. It’s odd but also kind of good in that it reminds us of parts of our past that are in some way connected to our present. It reminded me that music has always been a huge part of my life and that for a brief time I was a concert promoter and bar tender. I wasn’t very good at either but I have an insider’s understanding of those jobs.

By the way, I looked up the article online and I replied to her message. My prediction: I won’t hear from her again. For about a year or two.