3/23/2008

Scenes from an Italian Pancake House

Suppose that you're more than ten years out of high school. You have a well paying job with a modicum of prestige. You're happy with your life and you've grown up to be something akin to what childhood you expected. This is not to say that every day is wine and roses but you're generally short on serious life complaints.

Let's also suppose that, while about the business of being who you're happy to be, you bump into an old friend from that blissfully hateful life period called high school. You were not so close to this person that you bothered to keep in touch since but once upon a time they were part of your nearer circle. They called you by name, visited your house and probably knew a few things about you that you prefer they didn't. Likewise you called, visited and learned reciprocal things about them.

Let's now suppose that this old once-was friend has obviously not done as you have. You encounter them in their professional capacity and they job completely sucks. They are obviously unfulfilled. They garner no respect and probably earn an offensively low wage in a position most people can't be bothered to acknowledge even exists. They are not the person you thought they would grow up to be.

Now let's suppose that your appearance had changed so much in the intervening decade that you're absolutely certain that they don't recognize you.

Do you say hello?

Do you acknowledge them? Do you passively point out the differences between the two of you by striking up the strained and constipated "how have you been" line of conversation?

Or do you silently pass them by?

4 comments:

AZ said...

Well, this could go either way. It could be that seeing you and talking to you will only make them feel worse. But it could also be that seeing you and talking to you will push them to regroup and see if they can't make things better for themselves.

Laura said...

I've actually been on both sides of that meeting in the twenty years since I escaped the Hellhole.

At the crappy end of it, it worked out really well because I was able to reconnect with several others I'd lost touch with; I was glad she spoke to me. If nothing else, it reminded me that no matter how much my life sucked right then, it was better than high school was.

On the good side, I didn't ask how he was doing or volunteer anything about myself. I just listened, asked about his family, and answered what he asked me. But it worked out later so that he got a good job with my husband's employer.

Maybe N'awlins is different, but around here, connections count for a lot and we don't let them slip away if we can help it because the worm always turns.

waldo said...

Smile, wave, keep walking

Ricardo said...

I'm thinking of that song by simple minds, "don't you forget about me." I can't give a complete answer here because it depends on the moment.