Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Time Warp
About two and a half weeks ago, I ran into a guy I haven't seen in eight years. We went to grad school together, on the East Coast, and very randomly ran into each other at a Catholic Conference in SF. The siting itself was strange; I found myself staring at this guy, knowing I knew him, and knowing that seeing him there was completely out of context from wherever it was that I originally knew him. We finally caught each other's glance, started laughing, and then walked towards each other. Really unreal, a kind of Kermit and Miss Piggy moment. (Yeah, I'd be Piggy. But that's also because I'd want to be in the 'Pigs in Space' skit later in the show.)

We finally met up tonight for drinks. First off, we had a great time. Plain and simple, we laughed really hard, and we got along really well. Secondly, we had a lot of fun catching up, and hanging out with him brought back memories of people and things I haven't thought about since I graduated from the program. (We both got Master of Arts degrees in Religion from Yale Divinity School.)

A couple of things strike me about this meeting. One, its almost like there are two versions of this guy. One from eight years ago, when we were silly grad school students both in a city we didn't know, and in an academic setting that was very "old school" in its thinking and methods. For heavens sake, we lived in the same dorm together, so we used to see each other a lot. Back then, he was quiet, a smoker, the kind of guy who was at the periphery of a lot of groups, but obviously smart and funny. Now, there is this guy who has a lot of the same musical tastes I do, who has a similar outlook on Christianity as I do, and who is a person with a real job and an apartment.

I guess why that's a trip for me is because until now, I had no local ties to that grad school experience at all. It all lived in my head, in memories, in a few pictures. In a diploma on the wall. But none of my friends from that era live near me; and the one friendship I kept up from that time has grown and changed, and now she and I are friends ... not friends from Yale or former room mates, but just real friends. So, this guy is an intriguing tie to a world I feel rather distant to, both physically and mentally.

I must say that it was comforting to have time to talk to him about our experiences. I feel grounded and tied to part of my own history that had begun to disappear into the mist of the past. It reminded me of why I loved that period of my life, and reminds me of how very far I've come in 10 years. It makes me feel connected again to something I didn't even know I was missing.


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