This month, I am celebrating FIVE YEARS on Blogger! I started my first blog, a shared blog with two friends, in July 2003. To celebrate my five year Blog Anniversary, I'm sharing my first blog post ever. It is about a chance encounter while I was building my home. (This autumn marks five years of living here in this home. The time has just flown by!) Here it is, in all its glory. Enjoy!
"An Old Friend"
It was one of those days that I hadn’t invested much in. I hadn’t showered yet, hadn’t really done anything with my hair, and hadn’t put on any makeup. I’d exercised that morning, which added to my disheveled look, and hadn’t bothered to get cleaned up afterwards. Now it was time to go out running some errands, and I wondered briefly if it was worth the effort to doll myself up at this point. I was on my way to meet with some construction subcontractors who I never planned to see again, and whose opinion was not exactly priceless to me.
I headed for the door, but on second thought, turned back. “It’ll only take a minute to brush my hair again,” I thought. So I brushed my hair and pulled it back into its ponytail. Not exactly glamorous, but not quite so careless, either. I headed for the door again, but turned back once more. This time I quickly applied a little blush, eye shadow and powder. As a finishing touch, I blotted on a little lipstick and smiled at myself in the mirror. Definitely not gorgeous… “Am I ever?” I wondered … but at least an improvement.
I picked up my 16-month-old son and we headed out the door one last time. After going to the paint store for color samples, the insulation company to pay a bill, and to our house under construction to view the finish carpentry, I decided to drop in one last place. I needed to get an estimate for our shower surround, so I stopped at a showroom that carried the kind of thing I was looking for.
I walked in and started to think about what colors and styles I liked, while I quickly scanned the showroom for a salesman. There was one person on the far end talking with a customer. He looked busy so I looked around for someone else. Not seeing anybody, I slowly made my way over to the other side of the room. As I got closer, the salesman looked up and noticed me. As our eyes met, I was surprised with recognition. That salesman was in my classes in elementary school!
Memories rushed back to me in an instant. I remembered sitting next to each other in Mrs. Hobby’s 3rd grade class, eyeing each other intensely. We had just been handed a math worksheet and the race was on. This was our standard exercise. We were both excellent at math—better, in fact, than anybody else in our class—and we knew each other as the only fair competition. So each day we would grab our worksheets quickly and work intensely until finished. As soon as we were done, we’d grab the worksheets in hand and race to the front of the room to turn them in. I remember we usually got to the front of the room at the same time, having mastered each of the problems quickly. It was a friendly race: competitive… but fun.
We weren’t really friends outside of class. Even then he was the “popular” one and I was just on the outside looking in. But each day as we raced through our homework, we had one small connection. That connection continued the next year when we were in 4th grade together. I don’t remember any in-class competitions that year. I just remember that the “smart kids” in the class got to study together for the spelling bee. He and I and a couple other students would sit outside in the hall, under the coat hooks, reading through lists of words. We’d quiz each other, laugh and have a good time. It’s strange how simple memories like that can last through the years.
The next year I went away to a different school and didn’t see him again until high school. By now, his social status definitely outstripped mine. I came to the school knowing very few people, practically friendless, and he was obviously one of the “in crowd.” I remember seeing him walking through the halls wearing his football jersey and knowing that we would never speak to each other. Elementary school was a long time ago and I knew it meant nothing now. High school was much more fierce in the social arena. The cool kids just didn’t talk to the uncool kids, and the uncool kids looked way less cool if they even tried.
So of course I never even said hi. It was like our past was erased. But now here he was again! I knew, from the look on his face, that he remembered me. I wondered to myself: is it like high school or elementary?
“I remember you,” I said.
“Yeah, I remember you, too,” he said.
We smiled at each other. Definitely elementary. He had another customer waiting, so I didn’t chit chat or anything. We talked for a few minutes about who I should contact to get an estimate and then I left. As I left I smiled and couldn’t help wondering, “If we see each other at a high school reunion, will it be like high school … or elementary?” I thought for a few minutes and knew the answer. Things might change in the real world, but high school will always be the same… even 10 or 20 years later. Definitely high school.