that guy

or girl … one of your peers that was a defining persona in your childhood years but you’ve lost touch with, of course now the Internet and social media make the looking up and reconnecting easier, but what happens when/if you do find That Person?

Flipping around the radio dial the other day, I fell into an interview with Alex Abramovich, who, in his 30s, found the boy/man who had been his nemesis in grade school. They ended up spending time together, and Abramovich wrote a book about it. Full disclosure, have not read or even gotten/looked at the book, however, there were some thought-provoking moments in the interview.

One was the question of how the reconnection happened.  ABRAMOVICH: You know how people you met before the Internet existed, you sort of never think to Google them? … I remembered him and I remembered his name, but I’d never thought to Google him until one day I did. That compartmentalization, belonging to a previous life perhaps, except ohhey! I could just look him up. Doh!

And then found him – Trevor Latham, and a phone number – through the website of his motorcycle club. ABRAMOVICH: ...and I dialed it, and he was at the bar when I called him. And I said, you don’t know me but I used to know you in grade school. We used to know each other in grade school. And, without missing a beat, he said, Alex Abramovich? It was very strange. That we think others don’t remember us, but perhaps we played as big a role in their childhoods as they did in ours, that we are an ongoing piece in their puzzle. That we might be someone else’s That Person. Or at least someone who they do remember and/or feel some connection to.

Then their memories – ABRAMOVICH: The way he remembered it – it’s interesting, in the specific details of what we did – our fights, our memories – pretty much aligned. He remembers fighting, he remembers fighting in the classroom, teachers breaking us up. He remembers us getting sent down to the principal’s office. He remembered our fathers having to pick us up at school – much more specific memories than I had, actually. But, weirdly enough, he also remembers that I was bullying him as much as he was bullying me, and, moreover, he remembers that despite that we were good friends at the time. He remembers us playing chess, going to each other’s houses. I don’t remember any of this. Didn’t then, don’t now. Which yes, different people remember different things.

and of course the interpretation of them –  ABRAMOVICH: But what’s also interesting about it is that our – the specific details of our memories line up, but that makes me think that Trevor’s a bully, whereas it leads him to think that because we were fighting all the time that meant we must’ve been friends. How the “exact same” events, due to our different personalities and previous experiences, can be viewed as vastly different things.

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