Thursday, April 06, 2006

ah, spring...

Madison Apr 06 102
at the loft

you poor young bloggers, children of the Internet age, this could never happen to you

Spring, 1966. I am packing. I am thirteen. I am leaving New York. Going back to Poland. My father’s stint at the UN is over.

At thirteen, I regard life as a compilation of the past and the here and now. I do not remember thinking about the future. A future is too vague. A future is the next dance, the next math quiz. It never strikes me, at thirteen, that I may never see my NY friends again, that they will disappear for me and I for them.

Enter the Internet. And google. Oh, it’s easy to look up one of my three best friends from those elementary years. Radhika Coomaraswamy. How many will you find that are not her? Jackie Graupner was another search. I thought I nailed it, but writing her was a dead end. Some Graupner got a bizarre email from me. I don’t think it was the Jackie I knew.

But my best friend with the most common name (Debbie Woods) lost out. Forget it. 3,170,000 google entries. And that’s before contemplating the possibility of a name change.

This evening I get an email:

Hi Nina! I'm sure you don't remember me, but I'm your old friend from UNIS. My name is Debbie xxxx (Ocean protects real people with real names) (formerly Woods) and we used to be best friends back in the day. How are you? Please write when you get a chance. I'd love to hear from you. Debbie

Oh you poor infant bloggers. You’ll never know what it’s like to hear from a best friend 40 years back. You’ll not understand that when I stepped on the ocean liner that would sail me back to Europe, Debbie was quickly slipping into a permanent closed file. Because for you, there are no closed files ever. All you worry about is the ways in which you are noted and recognized on the Net.

Poor you. You’ll not know the joy of rediscovery. You have a vision of a future and it includes the world, indifferent people googling you and you them. Poor, poor you.