Happy Wednesday, and here’s hoping you’ve had a great January! Just kidding. How can anyone have a happy January? Why do we even bother wishing someone well in January? Even if you have a birthday that month and you win a free pair of shoes, the whole month still has to taste like mucky freezer burned leftovers eaten in the shadow of December and all the hype that goes into creating a riotously overindulgent Christmas. We should all just avoid each other for the first month or two of the year in reaches of the world where it is winter at that time. What do you think? Run that one by the president. Anyway, I’m not going anywhere with my blog, but I’m sure having a fun time getting there. People have actually read some of it, some reigning from countries I don’t even have friends in. That’s reason enough to keep writing, something. Or maybe they’re just trying to send me spam.
Recently it hit me, as it always seems to. Things I learn never seem to show up calmly at the doorstep and ring the bell. They always jump right in front of me like a scary clown and pie me in the face after letting out a mischievous gut giggle. I’m 33 now, and sort of let down that I’m just now learning this, but I’m glad I was able to pick up on it myself rather than have to be told by someone else.
I’ve always had a superb memory. I never forget the faces, the names, the song, the smell, the tastes of a given situation I was a part of. Often people are amazed. When it shows itself, my family is suddenly found standing around smiling at each other and looking at me like I’m part of the circus freak show. “Just look everyone! It’s Jeff, our little history book!” Just as often, it is the cause of disagreements and sad feelings of being all alone in a sea of people who seem to have the memory power of petstore goldfish.
Another quality of me considered a good thing at times is that I’ve always been sentimental. Most of the time, it’s been to my downfall. I’m guilty 98% of the time of being the one out of any two people in this world who cares more about my relation to them than they do to me. Rather than suppress it, I’m working on letting go of it as a whole. That one thing alone has caused a trainload of stress and pain that I could’ve done a great and many things without. One of the strangest things though, is when these two join in a not-so choice reunion of destiny.
In my early twenties, I would be working at an office supply store (now out of business through no known fault of my own) and recognize a teacher from elementary school. Even worse at another time, someone who I hadn’t seen since I was little. It doesn’t really get good until the moment I go up to the person and say hi to them. “Hi So and so!” Now someone who they don’t know or recognize in any way is calling them by name. “I’m Jeff Taylor. You babysat my brother and I when we were young!” Watching someone squirm who is that far removed from your life, although highly amusing, is pretty cruel. You might as well be saying, “Hey it’s me! I was a snot-nosed kid who couldn’t even reach the bathroom sink to wash his hands on his own when you knew me, but I’ve long-since graduated puberty and become an adult, and my tone of voice says we’re still “just as good of friends as we always were”, with a hint of “I can’t believe you didn’t recognize me.” My favorite scene of such an occurrence is this one from the movie “Groundhog Day” staring Bill Murray: Phil’s Choice moment with Ned Ryerson
I know it’s sick and wrong, but somewhere along the way it just sprouted out of “Oh hey you, I don’t care that you don’t care about me. Now go and have a nice day you silly self-absorbed ass!”
The good news is, I have ceased this behavior for a few months now. I think there has to be an equation which includes certain number of years limit and/or maximum measuring how long it’s been since we were in any way involved with one another and how good of friends we were anyway one must calculate before addressing someone publicly. Facebook? What’s Facebook and how should that be considered? I worked with a friend for several months in that office supply store, and remained Facebook friends with him for years after, commenting on each other’s posts and liking pictures, etc. Then I actually ran into him in person and tried to start talking to him, but he didn’t even know who I was. Are you serious?! Unfriended!
I’ve realized I can no-longer go shopping with my family at a certain bulk-selling club store which I love, because everyone I knew in high school and their mother shops there. It’s just too big of a temptation! I just want to walk up to people, put my arm around them and say, “Hey Bobby Joe, remember me from high school?! You were one surly cowboy, and we weren’t even friends, but I remember that funny joke you told someone in English 10, and now that we saw each other, I just thought I’d come over and create a nice awkward greasy moment for the both of us to share as we reminisce on the good times we never had. By the way, have you tried their Polish dogs here? Fantastic! They’re the hotdog you taste aaalllll daaayyy llooooonngg.”
On that happy note, if you haven’t seen or spoke with someone in 15-20 years in today’s age of instant communication, it’s clear there are multiple reasons why, and you’d best not wave them down,…that is unless you’re going to buy them a Polish dog and a soda for $1.50.