Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stuck in the middle


I've been back in my hometown for three years now, and at first I kept running into people from high school. I must've been here too long now because I'm running into people I haven't seen since middle school.

That's right, I'm bumping into people I haven't seen since I was 12 or 13, which means approximately 18 years have elapsed since I have seen these people last. I was a super dork in middle school, but I am much cooler now. I like to think if you stood my middle school self next to my current self you couldn't tell that they are the same person. People from middle school still recognize me, though, which is discouraging and makes me worry that I might not actually be as cool as I think.

For instance, at the supermarket the other day I ran into the guy who stole my Walkman in the seventh grade. And this fool has the nerve to talk to me like we're friends and it was some glorious reunion.

“We're not friends,” I told him. “You stole my Walkman, and it had my Bush tape in it and everything! I know you did, don't try and deny it. But apparently someone has stolen all of your hair, so I see that justice has been done.”

Of course I didn't really say that, because I am only 87 percent sure he was the Walkman thief. I would have confronted him right there in the produce section if I had been 95 percent sure, or even 90. Pretty sure I'll never see that tape ever again.

The next middle school meeting wasn't so traumatic. I ran into one of my best eight grade friends at work. I wasn't sure it was him at first and there was a fair amount of awkward silence. I finally summoned the courage and asked, “Hey, do I know you from middle school?”

It was cool to see him, but when you haven't seen someone for 18 years, what do you say to them? So this is what I said:

“So, are you still really into pogs?”

Anyone else had awkward run-ins with old friends? Or advice on how to handle them? Every time you comment, a unicorn's horn gleams a little more brightly.