While I was in New York last week, I hooked up with my Year 8 English teacher Mrs Cochrane. Fun-weird. We connected via a few degrees of separation on Facebook, and via the same network, she worked out I was coming to New York (which is where she’s now based) and so we had dinner at Bread in Soho, which is one of my favourite joints, despite the preponderance of bread (which I can’t eat). So I ate braised beef with polenta.
And, OK, after dinner we might’ve popped in to Rice to Riches across the road. You been? Crikey, what an experience. Rice. With riches, such as nuts and chocolate and coconut cream and lots of chunky, sugary bits and…well, dieting is optional.
The funny thing about the night was that it felt like I was catching up with an old mate. Even though I was 14 when we last sat opposite in a classroom. And she was the teacher. And I wasn’t astounding at English (Mrs. C, you gave me a “B” for my metaphor exercise which I still refer to as a life mantra…it was about not rushing down rivers, but finding the quieter pools etc…just saying). And I was a very different person back then to who I am now. I was shy and awkward, although Mrs C says she remembers me as “happy looking”.
Anyway, my point is this: something special happens when you hook up with people from your past, even if you didn’t really know each other back then. The connection exists. You share the same pop cultural cues and, I think, values. I caught up with people from high school I hadn’t seen in 20 years at Christmas and I swear there was a camaraderie between us that I don’t feel with a lot of people. None of us grew up around money, our school was not fancy, we railed against the same teachers and occurrences, we watched the same TV shows etc.
It’s like dating much older or much younger guys (I’ve done both – 10 years younger and 17 years older!!!) – it’s tough cos you’re just not on the same page. Heck, the same chapter.
Meeting with someone from your past is also a really interesting exercise for seeing how far you’ve come in life. And a good mirror to your perceptions of your “story”, the one you’ve lugged around since high school. I though of myself as a dorky, angsty teen. Mrs C remembers me as bubbly. Which shifts things for me.
An interesting exercise: contact someone from your past and have dinner with them. Just for fun.