My parents have lived in the same town for more than 40 years, so when I visit, it’s hard to go anywhere without bumping into a memory.
My first school, middle school, secondary school, bus stop, sweet shop, houses where friends lived, even the field where I met DH (don’t ask!) all still exist. But although the places are still here, the people are not. Most moved on years ago, with the exception of a few who I know through social media are still in the vicinity somewhere.
I think I spotted one at the station the other day, but what do you do? Can you go bounding up to a total stranger and say: “Hello, we did Biology together 30 years ago! Blimey, look how much older you’ve got!” (Like you tell children how much bigger they’ve got.)?
Far better to go home and look them up on Facebook, or Google – and get the low-down in just a few clicks. More fun is doing this with a mutual pal, especially after a couple of glasses of vino.
At Café Rouge last night, while nibbling on a salad Paysanne and fries, a good friend and I caught up. We covered all the usual topics (kids, schools, work, holiday activities); had a few ‘remember when’ moments; and then moved on to ‘Do you remember x? Whatever happened to y? And did you keep in touch with z?’
Not in a gossipy way, you understand, but with a healthy curiosity – and an internet connection.
And that’s when you find out that some of your old friends went on to much bigger and greater things than you were ever encouraged to aspire to in Home Economics.
I looked up S, an old schoolmate, and found her on Facebook. Except hers isn’t exactly an ordinary Facebook page. It’s her international model page, and it’s peppered with gorgeous fashion photos. Her bee-stung lips and exotic beauty radiating glamorously across the internet.
On a roll, we googled a university peer, L – now a famous model and writer (of Richard Gere former girlfriend ilk). “Look, she’s got her own Wikipedia entry,” I exclaimed. Along with a famous film producer husband and her own jewellery label.
Of course, I had to take this a little further and ‘Like’ the lovely S’s Facebook page (she might ‘Like’ Circles in the Sand back!). Which meant that this morning, as I ate cornflakes and listened to my children attacking each other viciously, I received her latest update:
“About to go on set to shoot the party scene with Hollywood actors Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer for the American series Episodes.”
Jealous? Moi? Not in the slightest. Although I might have to post a few more pics of us standing on the Burj al-Arab’s helipad.