Finding Auld Lang Syne Friends

It was a challenge, plain and simple. I was challenged, by someone who I trust, and someone who I barely knew, to get back in touch with auld lang syne schoolyard buddies.

So, I did. Well, started to anyway.

High school wasn’t exactly the best time of my life. In fact, if I had a choice, I’d do the whole thing over again, and in the process change just about everything. Everything, that is, except some of the ol’ chums. Keyword: some.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t the best friends-picker in school. The only crowds that would accept me as I was — or so I believed — were the weirdos from theater, the goth and rocker crowds, and the nerds. (And the asian kids, but I always felt like an outsider, ya know?) All of these groups (except for the asians) were essentially just one step above the kids with down-syndrome in the high school social ladder, which meant that I was as nerdy and different as one could be without being physically different.

Gee, thanks you guys.

In all fairness, my choice of friends probablyoutlook on all this* had more to do with low self-image than with my choice of character. The people I hung out with were generally good, but I can’t say that most added anything of value to my life. Most. The few who did — well, they’re the ones I wouldn’t trade for anything if I had to do it all over.

(Note, Oct 7/05: After having spoken to some of these old friends, I’ve come to realize that the way I saw myself, both then and until recently in retrospect, was a bit like looking into a fun-house mirror. What I saw wasn’t necessarily what was really there, nor what others saw. Again: low self image. Thanks for helping me see that, Nym.)

Sadly, time seems to not only heal wounds, but also conspires to hide all manner of history beneath its sands. Not unlike the Sphinx, however, this bit of history can be re-discovered if one just looks hard enough, and has a bit of luck.

A few nights ago, I was thinking about the people I went to high school with. Not surprisingly, and sadly, I hadn’t kept in touch with any of them. For a long time, I just thought of this as my way of escaping a crappy past. In retrospect, it wasn’t all that crappy. I just happened to surround myself with some crappy people.

Luckily, that wasn’t always the case.

After thinking about high school a bit — and being challenged — I wondered whether I could find some of the people I remembered (and liked) well enough that I still knew their full names without having to use my yearbook as an aide. (Besides, that thing’s still buried somewhere in my parent’s attic in Tampa.) My first thought was to contact one of my best friends at the time. (I’ll call her Nym.)

Using my mad peep-locating skillz (ie: knowing how to use Google and the phone book), I was able to locate Nym. Turns out she’s a real estate agent in Tampa. (Gee, what are the chances?) After a couple of days debating whether I should call her or not — after all, I only had an office number to go on — I decided to go ahead and throw caution to the wind.

I’m glad I did. After I called, and re-introduced myself, we started yakking back and forth like if we were back in third-period Lit class.

It. Seriously. Rocked.

It’ll rock even more when we meet for lunch this Sunday. I just hope that this isn’t something I have to do every decade, and that this time we can keep in touch, instead of letting the sands of time do their thing.

Follow up:
Yesterday, I met up with Nym. She’s changed, but only because she’s matured and — hopefully — grown wiser. Well, that and maybe a little (as in barely noticeable) dental work. Still pop-ish, happy, lively, and witty as ever. I don’t often meet people more quick-witted than me, or more opportunistic when it comes to cheap jokes. Yesterday, I did. And it felt good.

Somethings never change.

4 thoughts on “Finding Auld Lang Syne Friends

  1. This is slightly off topic, but you should read Paul Graham’s essay about nerds. I identified with it (albeit, not in high school, but in elementary school) and it is an interesting look at society in school.

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