Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Should I Have Been Born In France?

Cindy is a warm-hearted woman, and this morning I got another email from her.

Nowadays, that's about all I really know about Cindy. She's warm-hearted and emails me.

Some long time ago, I knew her as well as any child can know another child. We met in kindergarten, grew up together in our small town, and graduated from high school together before going our separate ways.

More than 30 years later, she contacted me. That was two months ago.

We don't know each other nowadays, but that doesn't matter to either of us. We not only grew up in the same school grade, but in the same cinder-block classrooms. For years we were a presence in each others life. During my impressionable years, she partly shaped my notion of what a girl should be like. Although she doesn't know it, there were times when she listenned to me during adolescence that I really needed someone to listen -- and Cindy was there for me.

When you grow up like that together, it gives you rights to each other that are something like the rights of kin. You can look each other up even after a separation of decades and expect to be welcomed like a long lost second cousin.

So, I've been wondering who she is today. I suspect the two of us have very different interests from each other and I wonder if we will enjoy it should we meet again. The issue has come up because Cindy wants us to meet.

Maybe we will. And then what? Do we spend our time reminding each other of things long gone? Or do we use the opportunity to get to know the people we've become? I myself am not much interested in the past except as it contains lessons that might bear on the present. But I suspect Cindy is interested in the past, and so I also suspect that's what we would discuss if we met again. Do I want that?

How does one deal with the past when one is alive only in the impermanent present?

Well, if it were up to me, the two of us would meet for sex. That would be living in the present, it would be life affirming, and it would tell each of us more about the people we've become than any sentimental recollections of what we did in second grade could possibly tell us.

Somehow, though, I just don't think my idea of a class reunion will fly with the yearbook committee. Should I have been born in France?


Mystic Wing said...

I seem to have reached that strange point in life where stimulating conversation and genuine friendship interest me more than sex.

That's not to say I don't have female friends I'd like to jump.

Go ahead and meet Cindy. The fates seem to be pointing toward it. At the very least, it will be interesting.

Paul said...

I think you've given me good advice, Mystic. If and when I visit Illinois, I'll look her up. I wonder what kind of person she is today?

Paul said...

Mystic, you made a very good observation that I earlier passed over and would now like to come back and comment on. That is, your remark that stimulating conversation and genuine friendship interest you nowadays more than sex. At 50, I'm finding the same to be true of myself. The comment I made about sex in the post was mostly tongue in cheek. But thank you for bringing that up, because I feel you have inspired me to write a full post on the subject! Coming soon!

Paul said...

I must confess I was wrong about Cindy.

In a recent email, she says, "My 50th birthday is coming up, and I'm trying to do all the things I ever wanted. Last year I learned to snow ski. I just got back from Florida where I learned to scuba. The clock is ticking, you know?"

That doesn't strike me as someone who lives in the past, which I thought might be true of her, but rather as someone who is vibrantly alive in the present.

My apologies.