Monday, January 18, 2010

A Certain Age

Yesterday was my forty-sixth birthday. I had a great, great day with my family. I’m told to expect a great, great week with friends, loaded with surprises.

Now and then, in my content present and optimistic future, I reflect on how it happens there are so many ways one’s past can come back to haunt. Especially when one reaches what is politely referred to as a certain age.

My vanilla Facebook is a good example of that. Like most people new to a social networking site, I was initially struck by the accumulation of resurfaced contacts from people representing various stages of my life. My every update is read by my parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews; my first kiss, first love, first child, first boss; classmates from middle school, high school, college, graduate school; colleagues and competitors from every job I’ve ever held.

The other day, someone wrote to me, responding to a photograph I had posted from my participation in Improv Everywhere’s No Pants Subway Ride. I replied:

Wow, howdy! Funny that after all this time, you catch me with my trousers down.

She answered:

Especially when perhaps the last time I saw you I woke up in your bed with more than your trousers down . . . remember???

I didn’t remember. Not at all. Given the friends we knew in common, I surmised it would’ve been twenty years or more since we last met. I honestly didn’t recognize her name, which confounded me all the more. It was an unusual name. I looked at her photographs. She was very pretty.

Slutty as I was as a teenager, I wasn’t one to forget a girlfriend, let alone a very pretty one with an unusual name. Her claim was vague but suggestive. Had we had sex? Had we dated? Had I done something that somehow stuck in her mind? I cautiously replied.

Oh dear: tales of my slutty past trailing me to my slutty present.

We don't have any children I don't know about, do we?

She set my mind at ease.

Ha ha! No children. Basically some of us were hanging out in your apartment. I got tired and went to take a nap on your bed. Nobody bothered to wake me when they left, and I woke up around four in the morning to find myself next to a naked you. I thought: WTF! It was I who was worried about what I'd done in some altered state. You explained that that was how you always slept, and that you were the one who was due an explanation!

That put the mystery to rest. I now recalled our acquaintance and we were cool. According to her profile, she’s still close with many of our mutual friends and still an artist. She’s raising her kids as musicians. She’s still the cutest of buttons.

I assume we’ll stay in touch, flirtatiously, as we parent and live our lives, states apart. It’s been a million years since she napped on my bed and woke up with me, naked and unfamiliar, but, apparently, memorable.

Given how my life is now, I’m glad that, even then, I had the presence of mind to assert: if you wake up in my bed, honey, you wake up with me as I am. Tell me your story.

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