Every now and again I am plagued by regrets stemming from an internal disconnect between a desire for friendship and the actions it takes to maintain such a relationship. Though only three times have I overtly expended effort to rekindle old friendships, twice through e-mail and once at a high school class reunion, I do know what some of my ol’ chums from Humboldt State University are up to thanks to the now-recognized action of “googling.” (My thanks to the editors of Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.)
I must say, however, that googling former classmates and friends might skew one’s opinion of one’s self. As I plow ahead as a managing editor at a modest publishing company — and not, by any means, saving the world — some of the people I once knew seem to have climbed quite high on the ladder of professional (and hopefully personal) success.
A former roommate of mine seems to have written a number of research papers on the flora and fauna of Pu’ukohol & Heiau National Historic Site on Hawaii. A friend with whom I spent many hours laughing at reruns of Star Trek — that’s the Original Series starring the ever so subtle Mr. Shatner — ascended through the ranks of academia, completing work for an M.A. in San Francisco and a Ph.D. in New York, teaching at USC and, from what I can find, is now an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at American University of Kuwait. Another friend works as an Interpretive Specialist for the California State Parks system at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
After googling friends for a while, imagining their homes, their families and what they may look like some 20 years later, I had to stop. Not because of those little pangs of regret, but because now that I have found them, I find myself wrestling with a decision to act. These people might never pause to think of me, or google me, but I can still hear their laughter and encouraging words.
In the end, I am humbled to think that all those years ago I could call myself a “friend” to these pretty amazing folks.