Monday, November 27, 2006

A Post w/Absolutely Nothing to Do with Pregnancy or Kids

The internet is an amazing tool.

Shopping is a growing ‘net phenomenon. The people who track such things say that 60 million people will shop online this holiday season. Personally, I have been shopping online since the late ‘90s.

There are lots of things you can find online – people, places, things… porn. Of course, I’ve only heard about the last one. From an acquaintance. Of a guy I bumped into at a bus stop. Once.

But this post isn’t about internet porn, or even online shopping; it’s about finding people.

Or more specifically, being found.

Saturday I received an email invitation to join a new networking feature of a popular site that let’s you reconnect with old schoolmates. [ed. note: Yes, it’s that site, but I choose not to name it because they’re rip off artists. Email me if you want the story.]

The name of the invite-er was one that I did not recognize. Sure, the first name was familiar. But like my own moniker, it was a common name. And the last name was completely foreign.

I started to just delete it out of hand. Like all people with an active online presence, I get a buttload of spam. And this email felt only slightly removed from the emails of His Honorable Mufarblerea, the Banking King of Nigeria, Russian women looking for handsome American husbands or discount Viagra from Canada.

But my curiosity got the better of me; I had to know (and this is why phishing scams are so prevalent).

So I clicked on the link and lo & behold, it was my first high school girlfriend. Her last name was different, but she listed her maiden name in parenthesis on the site.

Wow. I was speechless (which is saying something).

This person – let’s call her Penny Lane (this only has meaning to me, but trust me, I'm cracking up in a melancholy way) – was more than just my first high school girlfriend.

She was… well… a lot of firsts.

Penny was originally from upstate New York. In the ‘80s, there was a huge migration to Texas from California and New York. Cost of living was cheap and jobs were plentiful, so her parents made the move and brought her along.

She was the youngest of three. Young enough that the other two didn’t make the move.

While she was the youngest in her family, Penny was older than me. Two grades worth of older and she went to a different high school. By the way, that’s a horrible thing to have to tell people at school. “Oh yeah, I’ve got a girlfriend. She’s older than me and goes to a different school.” Yeah, right.

We worked at the same restaurant, which is how we met.

Before we went out, we sort of had this Jim and Pam from The Office sort of thing. Finally, a fellow Romeo tried to make a move on Penny.

Penny shot him down and I girded my courage and took a chance.

My efforts paid off.

We went out, we spent holidays together, we took trips. After a couple of years of this, we split up.

In the end, we grew apart.

Really, she grew up and I stayed the same – immature.

I did some rotten things. Things I'm not proud of and will not discuss; not cheating, but it was a trying time. For everyone.

A few years after the fact, I ran into her at a wedding. That wasn’t very pleasant.

And until I got that email, I hadn’t really thought much about Penny (other than the occasional BS chest-thumping man storytelling).

But now I’m sort of dwelling on it.

I haven’t replied to the email, and quite frankly I’m not really sure I should.

P.Pie finds the whole thing humorous. She says she’s not the least bit jealous and I have no reason to doubt her.

Personally, I worry about ulterior motives. Why else would she want to include me on her newly created networking list? Who the hell am I? Perhaps, after years of schooling and maybe equal amounts of psychotherapy, she wants to tell me what a dolt I was (am).

So how about a little help? Let me know what you think.