I got my hair cut today and ended up sitting next to a woman I went to high school with. She recognized me, which I can't figure out is a good thing or a bad thing. Her I wouldn't have known. Mostly because I had to wrack my brain just to recall that I had known her. Her name was familiar, but that was pretty much all.
She seems like a very sweet, very nice woman. But I was amazed at how many people from high school she was still friends with. I kept in touch with exactly two people from high school. One died of AIDS and the other lives in Saudi Arabia. So high school reunions are not exactly big on my to-do list. But this woman chatted about our upcoming reunion (to which I wouldn't go if I was forced to at gunpoint) and caught me up on a litany of people whose faces I couldn't recall and whose names were only a vague recollection. She knew that Mary Jones is a teacher and Ann Brown is a nurse. Bob Smith died in a jet ski accident, which I'm sure is a tragedy but I'm pretty sure I never knew a Bob Smith. Dave Shmultski has three kids and is an architect in Phoenix and Susan Flugelhoffer is a dentist and is working on her third marriage.
It was really weird sitting there talking to a stranger about unknown people while gunk on my head turned my hair from gray to brown and people around us were discussing summer vacations and home repairs. She knew so much about so many people that I have forgotten that it surprised me.
I don't have any friends that go back that far. For me my oldest friendships stem from the mid-80's. Everyone before that has either died or we just fell out of touch. My best friend for most of high school moved to Columbus, Ohio and basically disappeared. My friend Maria is really just a Christmas card pal as she and her husband and kids have made a life out of living all over the world (Japan, Peru, Turkey, Malaysia, and now, Saudi Arabia) and I haven't actually seen her in over a decade. So the concept of this woman having been friends for 40 years with someone we both graduated with is astounding. (No, I haven't been out of high school 40 years -- they met in grade school.) But it was a nice slice of small town life to run into someone from the past and both flattering and baffling that she remembered me.