Friends from my past, I really love you. And wish to remember the best of you. Over time, we usually retain only the good memories and this happens naturally. However, by aligning with the modern compulsion of staying constantly (even overbearingly) in touch, I feel like we might be messing things up. Somehow I have grown wary of meeting up with lost friends. While a wonderful wonderful thing for the most part, it has sometimes been a bad thing.. even when what we have shared together in the past was all super nice.
Memories are private impressions. Everybody does not remember the same thing in the same way, to the same degree of detail, or, in the same light. And when, eons late, you or your friend recount something one of you cannot remember, cannot connect with, the very sense of shared experience that drew you together can suddenly feel phony. You sit back and think: it’s the same face; just thicker and more lined. But every time you try to find the old face in this new one, the lines stand out evermore.
The fact is, it’s not just their face, it’s your eyes too. You have changed. You may not be ready to respond to what this person is offering right now. And the quaint rosiness of your memory gets tarnished by the garish experience of a catch-up lunch that you wish you hadn’t come to. Your precious recollections get sort of written over with the new impressions of your friend that you cannot filter out. And the sense of romance ebbs away. The fact is, if you haven’t grown old together, you probably had reason to leave each other behind. Perhaps it’s more beautiful to think of the past and sigh a contented sigh or even a wistful sigh, than, to drink to it together and emit an ugly belch.
And so, I wanted to write this little piece against reunions. This is not criticism for how far some friends and I have moved apart in time and space and even our world views. That was inevitable. That does not diminish the shared happiness from our time together. This is really more about how to best cherish and preserve and draw comfort from those golden things we call memories. Particularly how to protect them from this onslaught of connectivity overdrive. And to be clear, I love old pictures and commenting thereon and recounting and reliving of things.. as far as writing is concerned. Its just that voice and body cues mess with our perceptions in a way we cant control. And so, meeting someone you used to know, may not always be as rewarding as you had expected.