Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Time Tunnel

I first joined Facebook for one reason and one reason alone: to stalk my children.

In fact, I was so determined to participate in intrusive subterfuge that I signed up under a fake name but my son Tom sniffed it out and warned Charlie that I was up to no good.  It took years to regain their trust but now I wrestle with myself constantly to obey proper mother/son social media protocol.

Facebook is a wonderful tool for people of my generation.

Buzzy channeling Donald Trump
We do not bully, use it for shaming or the exchange of gossip but, instead, are able remain in touch with distant friends and relatives. I get to meet someone’s new grandchild, enjoy photos from a wedding, check in with wonderful people from my youth and, obviously, spread pictures of Buzzy in a Zappos’s box throughout the universe.

Recently, Facebook facilitated a reunion between me and some old friends. Driving back to the old neighborhood, I enjoyed spending time with former public school classmates
Friends since kindergarten: Louise, Susan, Terri and Stephanie
We were there to see
the world famous Ramin Karimloo.
What? You haven't heard of him?

A few weeks later, I reconnected with another friend and playmate from the past for dinner at a club in Manhattan where someone we both enjoy was performing. How grow-up is that??

Seeing Lisa again was, to say the least, wonderful.  Admittedly, many decades of no contact and the process of developing into fully-formed humans with new habits and routines can make reconnection a bit of a challenge but chemistry is chemistry and after accepting the fact that while the bags under my eyes were carrying suitcases of their own and Lisa looked young enough to be my daughter, I had a great time. 

We did plenty of reminiscing but also learned about who we’ve each become over the years.

P.S. 103...where it all began.
The strange part for me -- besides the dozen or so disheveled Elmos and seedy Disney princesses I had to body check in Times Square -- was that when I was with Lisa, I was a girl again. On some subconscious level, the clock had been reset and the Elmos were gone but Tony Manero still walked the streets of Brooklyn and my mother was waiting for me at home, eager to hear about my evening.

At the BB King Blues Club on Forty Second Street, you are herded in like cattle and seated with strangers so our table consisted of several young women in halters, heels and very short skirts. 

Flouncy and jouncy, they tossed their earrings and flipped their hair and leaned forward to whisper as their eyes took in their surroundings with the cool scrutiny of secret service agents looking for a potential assassin. And they scared me….just as they would have 40 years ago.

Today, if necessary, I could have easily withered them with the caustic bitterness achieved by decades of cynical thinking or, if I chose, I could mother them in case of an emergency. But, sitting with Lisa, I worried, “Oh, no. Mean girls!! I hope they’re not mean to me.

James Darren.....swoon. "The Time Tunnel"
was a TV show from the late 60's.
Ironically, a few minutes later, they spoke to us. I don’t remember the conversation but after I responded, one of them answered “Oh, you remind me so much of my mother!” and it was as if a portal opened. Like some low-budget science fiction movie with cheesy special effects, I was sucked backward through a spinning time tunnel.  Heels over head, arms flailing with a terrible roaring in my ears, I was deposited back into the body currently wearing sturdy walking shoes and eyeglasses around my neck on a chain.

And, guess what! I was happy to be back. 

I realized that I am actually quite comfortable being me…. with where and who I am. Note I did not say how I look….and, as I glanced over at Lisa, I noted that my return to the present had not aged her a bit. She still looked 35 years old and pretty as a picture.

The mean girls were not mean at all and suddenly I was reminding them to make sure they knew where the fire exits were located and assuring them there was nothing to fear since I never go anywhere without a flashlight in my bag. 

They smiled at me indulgently and I settled back in my seat, surprised at my sense of contentment even though my ass was already getting stiff from sitting too long. It was a wonderful evening.

It's not so bad being grown up after all, is it, Lisa?